Here it is almost the middle of May and once we get passed this patch of rainy weather it will be time to get our heat loving crops in the ground. Start to plan your garden and add vegetables such as beans, squash and pumpkins. They can go in any time after May 15. Be sure to harden off your plants to prevent shock when setting them out. No one likes to go outside from a 25C greenhouse to a 10C garden overnight. Place your new plants outside for a few days giving them a bit more sunlight each day. If in doubt when buying new plants, ask your garden center staff if they have been hardened off.
Towards the end of May, plants such as cucumbers, peppers, basil and corn can be started as long as the weather is consistently warm. I don't recommend planting Basil until the first week of June. It just doesn't handle the cold nights. Planting too early just sets your plants back.
Don't forget that when planting corn the soil needs to be around 15C for the seed to germinate well. Be sure to plant corn in blocks to get good pollination. The more corn the better your results will be. Corn takes a lot of nitrogen from the soil so you should follow it with a legume to add nutrients back.
All your cool season crops should be well on their way if you planted last month. Salad crops such as lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas, broad beans, kohlrabi, cabbage and leeks should be in. Carrots that went in last month should have a layer of Reemay fabric over top to help prevent damage from the carrot rust fly.
Lately the cabbage moth has enjoyed visiting the garden. She loves your Brassica crops such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi and cauliflower. Using Reemay to protect your plants really helps. It prevents pesky insects from laying eggs on your plants. Adding a loose layer of Reemay allows plants to grow and water and light to get through.
If you are using a support system for your veggies such as peas and beans please remember to anchor them to the sides of your bed. We often have more wind than expected at the garden and we are responsible for public safety. If you see that your support was fixed, it was most likely by me.
We are happy to announce that all our allotments are full for this season. Lets hope we have an abundant harvest!
Monday, April 29, 2013
April has been a busy month at the Ladner Community Garden. We have a full allotment garden, with a few new gardeners this season. If you see someone you don't know in the garden, please take the time to say hello.
If you have been at the garden in the last week, the pergolas are being prettied up. Gord and Jim are working on a new roof design and they finished the new arbor at the back of the garden.
The fence has been pegged out along the back and sides of the garden. We are starting to plant the hedgerow along the front sides.
We have plans to bring in some road base to fill in the wet area on the east side of the garden. As soon as that is done, we will hold our herb spiral class.
The children have been busy planting in their garden. They have peas, broad beans and onions already up. Their next big project is the annual tea cup plant sale on May 9 at Southpointe Academy. Next week we will be planting up over 300 tea cups! Thanks to all for the donations of tea cups. It is greatly appreciated!
I have had lots of people asking me about the plant sale. We decided to take this year off until we can figure out what to do with all the leftover plants. A plant sale is a lot of fun but its a lot of work to get it ready and we just don't have enough volunteers and energy to pull it off this year.
If you haven't planted your garden, its time to do it so you have something to harvest. Your gardens must be actively growing something from April 15 to November 30 as per our garden rules. If you need advice on how to get started please call one of the board members or comment below. We are always willing to lend a hand.
I added some new signage to the garden. Lets hope this explains that our community garden grown food is not for the outside community but the property of the gardeners who tend it. I read recently about the use of bird netting over a garden to deter both animals and humans. It may be worth a try if needed.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Now that spring break is over, the grade three class is returning to the garden. This week they will be planting the seed tapes they made in March. It was a great rainy day project for them to do. In all, they made 62 feet of seed tape. That's a lot of vegetables!
They will be planting lettuce, spinach, spicy greens, radishes, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, broad beans and peas in the one hour they are at the garden. Did I tell you there are 28 students this year so many hands make light work.
The students come by bus from Southpointe Academy in Tsawwassen. They learn everything about gardening from starting seeds to harvesting and tasting their own vegetables. They usually start their day by spending time just observing in the garden. There is so much to learn by seeing the changes nature brings. From the buds that swell in spring to the light frost that covers kale in the fall, they learn to see the changes and identify the different seasons.
When planting, they learn to measure so their math skills are tested. They have to read seed packets so they know how to plant the seeds. They also work in groups and learn to work as a team. Gardening is also good exercise and a good way to burn off all the pent up energy after sitting at a desk all day.
Last fall the students planted a 100 mile diet salad garden. Tomorrow they will taste some of their overwintered crops such as kale and arugula. In just weeks they will see their first seeds come up and we will hopefully harvest something to eat at the end of June. That's what's different about a school garden. The garden program begins in September and people always ask "What can you plant then?" Winter gardening is something more people should try. Crops that are left over winter get even sweeter with a touch of frost. Plants such as kale are perfect for children to enjoy. They love it!
After a short winter break the children are back in the garden in spring, eager to get digging. Give a child a pile of soil and all of a sudden they all want to use a shovel. From March to June the children come every second week to tend to the gardens. This year they have nine raised beds where they will be growing food for the food bank.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
You sure can't beat this weather for the end of March. I don't recall having it quite so warm. It is definitely time to get our gardens growing. If you are unsure as to what to plant first ask someone in the garden or check out the handy chart from West Coast Seeds located in the front of the log book in the shed.
Our water has been turned on by the parks department and we didn't even ask. Thanks Delta! They must have seen the huge pile of soil we ordered last week. Its been a busy couple of weeks in the community garden. We have had 38 yards of soil brought in for the gardeners that ordered and paid for it. It sure looks like great soil but I noticed it has dried out on top quite quickly. It must be all this sunshine.
If you are planting seeds, be sure to water them after planting if the soil feels dry to the touch. Better yet, water the soil before planting to prevent washing the seeds away. Don't forget to label what you plant. You can save money by making labels out of recycled yogurt containers.
On Tuesday, April 2 we are having our first spring meeting at the Ladner Library. It will begin at 7pm in the side room and we will go over some plans for the garden and answer any garden questions you may have. Please try to attend the meeting so we can welcome all of you back and say hello to our new gardeners. Kids are welcome.
If you haven't got a membership card card yet, you will be able to get one on Tuesday.
We hope to have our first class begin soon. Would you like to learn how to build an herb spiral? We started the base of our herb spiral last year and it needs to be finished. This is a project that anyone can build in their yard in no time. We will have a sign up sheet at the Tuesday meeting if you would like to participate. Once the herb spiral is complete, it can used by all. That way you won't need to have large plants like Sage and Oregano in your allotments at the expense of other vegetables.
Did you know we have a school garden? We have a grade three class come to the garden every two weeks from September to June during the growing season. They only come for an hour but you would be amazed at what 28 children can accomplish in that short time period. Would you like to help us with the class? It will be happening on April 8 and 22 and May 6.
May 6 is a big day for the class as we will be planting for our Mother's Day tea cup plant sale. We need lots of help this year. A good portion of the money raised from this sale goes to the local food bank. If you have any unused teacups or teapots that you would like to donate, we can sure use them. They don't have to have saucers or lids. The school would like to plant 500 tea cups! Yes, that's a lot compared to the 100 of last year.
That's it for today. Happy Easter to everyone!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Work Party Reminder!
Soil Shoveling Work Party: Saturday March 23
Big thanks to all those who made it out for last week's bed-raising and garden cleanup project. Our second work party is this Saturday,10am-12pm.
This week, we will be placing fresh soil into the Children's Beds. Soil will also be available for all those who arranged to have their beds raised, and who paid for soil to fill them. Please come out and lend a hand: we always appreciate your help
The shed is stocked with tools for the garden community to use. Thanks for keeping it tidy!
The shed is also stocked with the new volunteer hours log book, so be sure to record any hours you spend helping out with community projects at the garden.
We hope to get our projects finished this spring so we can all put out feet up this summer and enjoy a community meal or two together.
Lynn and her helpers are busy getting some of the allotments filled with soil today. Thanks Lynn for receiving the soil at such an early hour! We ordered ten inches of soil for those who paid for the soil this week. That should help fill your gardens. Remember this soil is only for those who paid us for it. If you want us to order some more soil, let us know as soon as possible so we can get it delivered next week.
Thank you, and we hope to see you on Saturday!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Spring is here and there is so much to do at the community garden. You can see the grass has really greened up and it won't be long before it needs to be cut. This weekend we will concentrate on building some new beds and getting things tidied up. There are stakes to put away, weeds to pull and plants to compost.
Even though its only March, plants are beginning to grow. The garlic that we planted last fall is up and the Kale is looking pretty.
How can you resist Kale in a salad? Did you know that after Kale goes through a freeze the taste changes and it gets even better. There is no easier plant to grow than Kale.
The Primula are blooming in the rock garden. They are such a welcome site.
The Iberis or candytuft is opening its white blooms. It must love the warmth tucked in by that rock as my Iberis at home is way behind and nowhere near flowering yet.
More garlic in the allotment beds. I am still using last years garlic in cooking. The best thing I made last year was the garlic scape pesto.
More colour is provided by red cabbage in one of the allotments.
This vibrant Primula just shouts spring.
Check out all the cilantro babies. I think this allotment gardener will be so surprised as it was her first garden last year. The Swiss chard is starting to send out new leaves as well.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I know you just looked outside at the rain and thought really? A work party? Yes, this Saturday is our first work party of the year. We are building some of the allotments and the children's garden beds up in height for those of us who cannot bend over yet. Oh I don't know who that could be. Yes, its me. With my new hip I cant bend over at all for a few months which is really crimping my garden style.
Hopefully with the children's beds being a bit higher we can sit and plant with ease. The students are coming back to the garden for a class on April 8 so the beds have to get built.
You didn't hear me mention soil, did you? The soil isn't coming this weekend. It won't arrive until March 21 as we may need a rest after the building this weekend.
So mark your calendars, this Saturday, March 16 is our work party day from 10am -12pm.
We have the tools needed but just need a steady hand to help aligning the boards and moving the lumber where it has to go. This may be a good day to get some tidying up in your plots if time allows. I know I have Kale to move and a few weeds to pull.
Come prepared for mud as the ground is a bit damp but we hope it doesn't pour rain on Saturday.
If you haven't started planning your garden yet, now is the time to get started. You can plant peas and broad beans anytime now. If you want to know how to grow peas, check out my blog here. Peas are best planted every two weeks so you have a succession of harvests.
If you ordered soil with the group, it will arrive on Thursday, March 21 and there is lots of soil. This soil is ONLY for those who paid in advance so please don't help yourself. Half the soil will be going into the children's garden since it has never been topped up since the community garden opened in 2011. So don't be overwhelmed at the enormous pile when you see it. For those who ordered new soil, you will be getting 1.23 yards of soil to add to your new raised bed. This year we ordered from West Creek Farms in Fort Langley. The soil has been recommended by the master gardeners along with soil from Eco-soil and Transform. I have tried the soil from West Creek Farms in the past and it doesn't contain any green waste.
Did you want to learn more about gardening? The Corporation of Delta has their spring garden classes starting and they are free. Check out their link here to see what they offer. The first two classes are on organic vegetable gardening.
The students that come to the garden for classes are holding a plant sale in May. We are looking for donations of bone china tea cups. They don't need saucers but we will gladly take them if they do. We are also looking for old teapots that may be missing their lid. The photo above is from last years sale and they sold out in ten minutes. This year we are making four times the quantity we did last year. Phew, I am exhausted thinking about it. Last year the children donated $500 to the local food bank from the plant sale profits.
If you have any questions about your allotments or the work party, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at deltagardener at dccnet.com