Farm stand going gangbusters!
Liz and her volunteers at the Teaching Farm are doing well attracting clients to their Farm Stand every Saturday morning at the gate to the Garden. They sell a small percentage of their harvest to help support the Farm, with the rest going to food pantries in the area. They offer a large variety of produce, some that you may not be growing in your plots, like potatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, etc. They would love the support of the Community Gardeners and their friends and neighbors. So stop by next Saturday and see what’ growin’.
IMPORTANT HOLIDAY COMING UP!
“Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day” is August 8. Especially the zucchini that hid from you until they were HUGE! We are sure your neighbors will love the extra produce!
CG’ers Kylee (age 9) and Bailey (age 6) Gutierrez, harvesting baseball bats
Thanks to the Volunteers for the Work Party July 10
Many thanks to Barbara Loesch, Todd Lee Goen, Eric Wightman, Dee Zarnowski, Meghan Lamoreaux, and June Skalak who came out in the heat for this month’s work party. Weeds were pulled, cardboard was deployed, and wood chips were spread. Great work, you guys!
Next scheduled Work Party is Saturday, August 7. Come out and get your volunteer hours in!
Squash - The Bugs
By Elvin and Kay Clapp, Experienced Gardeners
Well, there’s a bug lurking on your squash, zucchini, and pumpkin plants and it is not a pretty sight. Yes, we are talking about “squash” bugs. The good news is that their life cycle is about 5-6 weeks and we are only visited by one generation each year. The bad news is that their life cycles can overlap and you will see these suckers anytime your plot is growing and glowing.
Adults winter in plant debris, such as mulch, and under boards and around buildings. They start to spring from their hideaway in mid-spring to mate and feed. Each female leaves us 20 or so copper/bronze-colored eggs on the bottom of leaves. Mid-May to mid-June is prime hatching time and the little black headed nymphs with green bodies are here for your viewing pleasure. Adults are 5/8 inch long with piercing/sucking mouths that zap the sap. The leaves of your beautiful squash plants begin to wilt and could lead to early plant demise. All that work that you put in to nourish those beautiful plants could go by the wayside.
So, what is a gardener to do?
Remove nymphs and eggs with duct tape.
Pick those adult suckers off and put them in soapy water.
Try trapping. Adults will gather under boards, newspapers, and cardboard at night. Lift the boards, etc., and dispose of bugs in the morning.
Don’t stress your plants. Water as needed.
Products such as Neem Oil™ and horticulture oil are effective when sprayed on nymphs. But follow the directions. Spray early morning or late evening. Do not apply above 90 degrees. Avoid using during pollinator activity.
Forget trying to sneak in non-organic insecticides when Liz and Charlie are not around. Adult bugs are difficult to kill with insecticides available to home gardeners.
Frost will kill the nymphs, but you still have those adults partying during the winter.
Start planning for next year’s crop.
Do fall cleanups of all plant debris, including above ground mulch.
Break up soil clods.
Check seed catalogues for types of squash that are resistant to these bugs.
Use wider spacing between plants – which is a challenge given the size of your plots.
Avoid planting the same plant in the same space two years in a row.
Below is more information from the extension service of universities in our region. Happy hunting!
Squash Bugs – Vegetables. Has excellent photos of all stages of squash bug life cycle: Squash Bug - Vegetables | University of Maryland Extension (umd.edu)
Lookout for Squash Bugs. It’s a practical guide for the home gardener: Lookout for Squash Bugs | North Carolina Cooperative Extension (ncsu.edu)
Have you seen any of these little beauties?? Maybe not, as they are masters of camouflage. You will know they are there when an entire branch or top of your tomato plant, including the tomato, is gone overnight. In detective novels they say to “follow the money”. In finding a hornworm, you should “follow the frass”, or the blackish nuggets of poop they leave behind. Once you have found the little bugger, just pick him off and dispose of him as you see fit.
Guardians Not Gardeners: The Work of Mary Reynolds and the We Are The Ark movement.
By Jennifer Myers
Hello Fellow Gardeners, (Guardians)
I wanted to share the work of Mary Reynolds with you, for those that are not familiar and for those who are - this might still be news.
Mary is a self described “reformed” landscape designer, wildlife activist and author based in Ireland. She has spent her career making fantastic gardens that embrace the living-earth-mysticism of the Celtic religion and spirituality. They frequently utilize spiraling stone walls in the style of the Fibonacci sequence; unkempt native flowers and wildlife, often referred to as ‘Forest Gardening’; stone sculptures in the style of traditional Celtic art; and the shapes and patterns in nature.
She is famous for winning the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002 at the age of 28, the youngest person to ever win. She won for her design called ‘Celtic Sanctuary’ - it was the complete opposite of your typical manicured English garden with rocks, 500 native plants of Ireland, a moon garden. It is a wonderful story that rocked the establishment and gave back wildness, and the Irish Celtic understanding of the earth and stewardship, that so many fancy English gardens are missing completely. A movie called ‘Dare to be Wild’ was made based on her life story, featuring this part prominently.
As she continued her career, she became more and more disenchanted with making “pretty gardens” that looked like you were trying to make a person fit into a pink tutu, as she says. So instead she kept embracing and re-evaluating what it was about the wild side that was so necessary and urgent, and one day while sitting in her garden working on a design for a client, she watched out her window as a bunch of animals ran fast across her lawn - a fox, rabbit, hedgehog, and others. She was confused, what was this about? She walked out to discover that the vacant lot adjacent to her home had been bought and was being bulldozed for a new home after sitting for many years in a ‘neglected’ state. However it was not really neglected, it was instead teeming with life! It had become a wild refuge for so much flora and fauna, and in an instant was being demolished. Of course we know this is happening all over the world, as I type this, but to have it happen before your eyes changes your understanding of what it really means for humans to literally be “devouring the planet” as the acclaimed artist Maya Lin has said repeatedly.
This was one of those defining moments in a person's life. For Mary, who saw the animals running as a reverse-migration of Noah and The Arc, she came up with an idea for a global movement called We Are the ARK. ARK stands for Acts of Restorative Kindness.
Instead of writing a book about these ideas, she instead built a comprehensive and spanning website: www.wearetheark.org. We Are The Ark is based on the simple idea that we must all be actively involved in weaving a patchwork of safe havens for Nature globally, in our gardens, backyards, schools, public spaces, and beyond. She sets out a list of 8 steps for what this means.
Here are the main highlights I wanted to make sure to include from the site:
What Can One Person Do To Make A Difference?
For those of us that care about the living world around us and are aware of the challenges we all face, this is a painful and desperate time – but there is hope. We have waited too long for changes to come from our leaders and politicians. We cannot wait any longer. The change will come from the ground up – it will come from us.
This is a call to step up and reassess our management of every individual tiny patch of the earth possible. It’s a call to the guardians of the earth to step forward and make themselves known, to raise their voices. We need to help the natural world and not hinder it. We have to invite nature and wildness back into our gardens, parks and every tiny patch of this earth we can. To create sanctuary, food and habitat for the creatures we are supposed to share this planet with and who in return will help us survive here within a truly natural and beautiful environment.
It’s up to each of us to re-wild our world, piece by piece until we have a patchwork quilt of sanctuaries that wraps its way around the globe.
We Are The Ark. We Hold The Seeds For A New Earth. Things are only hopeless if we do nothing, so let’s do something!
Let’s build an Ark.
"We are all becoming more aware of our climate breakdown but we seem less aware of the silent killer that is the loss of biodiversity and habitat. This is happening at a staggering rate and is equally – if not more – potentially devastating. With climate change we might feel the impact in our every day lives, but with biodiversity it is not so clear. By the time you feel what’s happening, it may be too late”. Cristiana Pașca Palmer UN Leader on biodiversity. Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
I invite each of you to visit the website, and to also look at her website www.marymary.ie
I am going to be reading her 2016 book “The Garden Awakening” and wanted to see if others wanted to read it too, and then we can talk about it. I also wanted to see if people wanted to gather in a club to talk more about the We Are The Ark movement and what we are doing in our lives to help move this forward.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from some of you! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
People in the Garden
Hi! My name is Kirsten, and I am the summer intern from William & Mary this year. After the summer, I will be starting my senior year and finishing up my degree in Chemistry and Music. Although gardening has little to do with my academic pursuits, I am grateful for the opportunity to explore a new skill that I otherwise may not have tried out.
My gardening knowledge was very bare bones before coming here at the beginning of June, but Liz and Charlie have done a great job covering the basics of vegetable growing without making me feel like I lacked any common knowledge. They have also wholly supported the mission of WCG: creating a healthier and more sustainable community. I come from a family that prioritizes healthy living, but I have been surprised by how much healthier my lifestyle has become just by coming to the garden. I have gotten so much exercise, sunshine, sleep, and nutritious food—all the things that usually fall by the wayside during the stressful times of the semester.
My favorite part of this summer has been seeing the whole process behind the food I eat. I can usually be found in the kitchen cooking during my free time, but I often forget to eat my veggies. Now that I bring produce home from the garden, I have enjoyed coming up with creative ways to prepare the different veggies coming in and out of season.
The other thing that stands out to me from this summer is the community at the garden. It has been fun to mix with people both younger and older than me. I have enjoyed meeting community gardeners and hearing all the wisdom that my elders have imparted to me; so far, I’ve heard plenty of advice ranging from “remember to wear sunscreen so you don’t have to go to the dermatologist when you’re my age” to “hang around someone rich until they fall in love with you, and then marry for money.”
I am grateful to have had this opportunity at the garden this summer, and I thank you all for welcoming me into the community!
COOKING FROM THE GARDEN
Have some extra large cucumbers that you don’t know what to do with? Try this recipe from CG’er Carol Fryerfor Cucumber soup.
Cream of Cucumber Soup
Potage aux Concumbres
This soup is based on a Julia Child’s recipe and is fabulous! It is a good way to
use large cucumbers that are too big to serve in a salad.
2 lbs. cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped dill (or tarragon)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup quick cooking farina
1/3 cup chopped onions
½ cup Crème Fraiche (or sour cream)
4-5 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon, then roughly chop the cucumbers.
Melt the butter in a pot and cook the onions until wilted – 3-4 mins.
Add the chopped cucumbers, broth, vinegar, and 1/3 cup of dill.
Bring to a boil, and stir in the farina. Simmer uncovered until the farina is very soft- about 20 mins.
Puree the soup in an electric blender.
Before serving, reheat the soup and add a little water or broth if it is too thick, then stir in the crème fraiche or sour cream. Top each serving with some dill, a dab of sour cream and very thin cuke slices, if desired.
For a cold version, chill, and just before serving, whisk in chilled crème fraîche or sour cream.
Note: Bob’s Red Mill wheat farina is available in local grocery stores. Cream of Wheat cereal = farina - is no longer in local stores. If you can’t find farina, substitute ½ lb. of cubed potatoes.
Crème Fraiche has a very rich flavor . To make it, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 1 Tblsp of buttermilk in a glass bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 10-24hrs until very thick then stir and refrigerate.
Trader Joe’s carries Crème Fraiche – it is so good!