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Earth Abides PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 13:21

Maybe the earth will forgive us if we mend our ways.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 September 2017 10:20
Late Summer 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 September 2017 09:37
Ahhh. The summer always goes too fast. Here it is, September and cooler weather already! This is the container garden and just about every square inch has been utilized. Hopefully, it will stay temperate until the end of October!

Last Updated on Monday, 11 September 2017 09:43
You can grow a salad PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 August 2017 10:41

Urban gardening is perfect for growing salad ingredients. Space is usually limited in a city garden so you won't be growing corn or other veggies that take up a lot of space. Since the growing season in the Northeast seems to be getting longer (weather is temperate usually until late October), you can take advantage of this and enjoy fresh salad foods for a longer period of time. As the weather cools, you will find that lettuce, peas and radishes thrive again and one can start a second growing season inside. After the summer heat has passed, the seedlings can be moved outside again. Try switching from summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers to root vegetables like radishes and beets. Kale and chard do very well in the cool weather right into the cold weather.

    Some types of cherry tomatoes to try in a patio pot or raised bed:
  • Sun Sugar
  • Sun Gold
  • Sugar Snack
  • Super Sweet 100
  • Sweet 100
  • Heirloom Cherry
  • Golden Harvest
    Here are a few suitable lettuce types for urban gardening:
  • Red Sails
  • Black Seeded Simpson
  • Mesclun Mix

These varieties do well in raised bed boxes as well as window or patio pots. They are loose leaf and don't grow into "heads", so they are easier to cultivate.

    Don't forget the smaller variety of peppers that can be grown in pots:
  • Cubanelle
  • Cayenne
  • Sweet Red Cherry Pepper

Herbs can be grown on a balcony or windowsill. Try planting Chives for an easy onion-like flavor. Basil is easy to grow in pots and makes a great garnish for fresh tomato with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Parsley is full of vitamins and adds zip as a garnish or salad ingredient. Cilantro can be used in salads or mixed into salsa for Mexican flavor.

    Since these vegetables and herbs are going to be grown in container gardens remember:
  • Don't let the soil dry out, the roots have nowhere to get water but from you
  • Fertilize regularly. Make your own from coffee grounds, eggshells, etc.
  • Keep an eye out for pests. It's easier to nip things in the bud than to treat an infestation of pests or diseases like fungus.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 August 2017 11:21
City gardens and light PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 June 2017 09:59

Light is a requirement for growing flowers or edibles. Growing these in an urban area can be a challenge. Having a garden in a city environment can sometimes mean a balcony, small backyard or courtyard or even just window and fence boxes. The buildings around can start casting shadows as the sun moves through the day. Having a standing garden in one spot means planting according to the amount of light you can expect there.

The location of the garden in an urban area can be critical to its success. You will have to consider the angle of the sun, which can differ as the growing season goes on due to the sun's travel from north to south as fall approaches. Make a chart of the area you want to use and note the number of hours of sun it receives. Shadows cast from buildings, trees, walls, etc. will affect this. Next, determine whether the area receives full sun, partial sun or part shade or full shade.
After you have this figured out, pick plants that will thrive with the light conditions you have available.
Here are a few facts about plants and light:
There are three levels of light when it comes to plant growth:
Full Sun - at least six hours of sun daily (water lilies need this amount of sun to bloom)
Partial Sun/Shade - three to four hours of direct sun
Shade - two hours or less of direct sun or filtered light

In addition to the amount of light there are wavelenghts of light to consider. Light ranges from violet or ultraviolet (shortest wavelength) to red and infrared (longer wavelength). Photsynthesis evolved to interact optimally with blue and red light. The shorter blue light wavelenghts are higher energy than the longer length red light wavelengths. The placement of plants in the garden affects their growth. Sunlight coming in at an angle closer to the horizon has less high energy blue light than sunlight directly overhead. Far red light can cause long, thin stems.

Growing in containers that can be moved can be a solution to this problem. You can use big pots and buy pot platforms that have wheels on them. This way, the plants (such as tomatoes, basil, etc) that love the sunlight can be rolled to parts of the yard or balcony where the sun is. There are self contained growing units like the Grow Box that come with wheels on the bottom. There is also the Garden Tower which is a vertical growing system. Fence boxes can be moved around to parts of the fence that get more light if they are not too heavy. Planting in moveable containers can be a good solution to getting enough light on your plants.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 June 2017 10:13
Make friends with some garden bugs PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 April 2017 11:07

The more one gardens, the more one can start to appreciate some of the insects that come and visit the garden. Of course, you need the bumble bees, honeybees, hornets, flies, etc. for pollinating many plants. But did you know the following varieties of insect are actually good for your garden and can help keep the bad guys away?

Beneficial insects include:
Ladybugs - eat mealy bugs, aphids, scale bugs, thrips, etc.
Praying Mantis - eat just about any other bug, so you don't want too many
Lacewing Larvae - they will rid the plants of aphids
Assassin Bug - will eat beetles, caterpillars
Hover Flies Larvae - also called Syrphid Flies are striped like bees. The larvae love aphids
Ground Beetle Larvae - live in soil and dine on cutworms, slugs, root maggots. The adults often look metallic.
Predatory Stink Bugs - eat grubs, caterpillars, larvae. Some types of stink bugs are pests.
Damsel Bug - like a smaller Assassin Bug, they eat aphids, caterpillars, leaf hoppers, thrips
Minute Pirate Bugs - really small black bugs with white "v" on their backs. They eat aphids, mites, thrips, etc.
You can check out http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/insectsimages.new.htm or http://www.insectimages.org/ to identify these insects.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 April 2017 11:22
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photo: Jeannie Cote


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