Please take all produce and harvest home…local area foodbanks are closed for the Memorial Day weekend and will not reopen until Tuesday, May, 26th. Have a bountiful holiday!
We will not have a garden workday this Saturday due to Covid 19 concerns, however, we are offering two gardening opportunities.
Dan will be at the garden at 10:30 am on Saturday morning to help those gardeners who need to put up a trellis. The garden purchased all supplies. (T-posts, wire mesh, wire). All individuals need to wear masks, gloves, and respect the social distancing guidelines of 6 feet.
In addition, we will have a “Virtual Garden Meeting” on Zoom, Saturday morning, 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Grow and Share Garden Virtual Meeting, Saturday, May 9 · 9:30–10 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86545395959?pwd=WHBTc2RZZENHWGZjSjgwaFhwdXlsQT09
Meeting ID: 865 4539 5959
This is an optional meeting only, we will go over gardening tips, best practices, and announcements. There will be a May newsletter copy of “Best Bets” in the shed.
We aren’t able to have our normal workdays this month, but the garden is always open and we invite you to come by and tend your crops! The Metrocrest and other food banks need our donations now more than ever!
Please do let us know if you leave a donation, and please also let us know if you assistance in tending your plot so the garden does not fall fallow.
Until we see you again, enjoy the April Best Bets, and happy gardening!
What to Do in April
- Look for Pests…Spring is here and so are pests. Look for damage before it becomes a major problem, especially on the underside and on lower leaves. Early treatment is key.Squash bugs and Squash vine borers are going to damage squash, and cucumber vines. Use diatomaceous earth sprinkled on and around the plants to help control these pests. Insecticidal soap is another remedy for many immature insects, aphids, and mites. Remember, organic controls only! For more specific advice, ask for help, or check out our resources in the shed.
- Grow UP, not OUT…Letting your plants trail along the ground causes nothing but trouble! Insects, diseases, will be a bigger problem, as well as your neighbor who will not be happy with “encroachment”! Remember: before you plant, you need to add poles or structures. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and vine crops need strong support, at least 4 foot high. (Hint: tomato cages are NOT big enough ). Put tall plants on the NORTH side to minimize shading your other crops. Need ideas? Check out our resources at the garden outside the shed.
What to Harvest in April
Harvest peas, radishes, and most “greens”. If you harvest the outer leaves only on leaf crops, you can continue to harvest over and over…at least until it gets too hot in June. While onions can be harvested at any time, for the biggest bulb, wait until June.
What to plant in April (See chart below for more information)
Now is the best time to plant summer crops. You still have time to plant tomatoes. Small and medium fruit tomatoes generally do best in our area. In addition, this is the best time to plant hot weather lovers like eggplant, peppers, okra, squash. cucumbers, and beans. You can still plant leafy greens from transplants but it’s probably too late for direct seeding, they will not reach maturity before hot weather hits!
|Plant||Best Varieties |
(Choose these if available)
|Transplants or Seeds?|
|Tomato Determinate (plant is shorter)||Celebrity, Carnival, Surefire VF1, President, Merced, Heatwave, Small Fry, Early Girl Bush, Golden Sunray (Heirloom), Jolly||1 (trellis)||Transplants only|
(Keeps growing; needs strong support)
|Champion, Quick Pick, First Lady, Golden Girl (Heirloom), Superfantastic, Roma, San Marzano (Heirloom), Porter, Cherry Grande, Sun Gold, Sweet 100, Early Girl, Husky Gold, Porter Improved, Lemon Boy, Juliet||1 for 2 blocks|
|Peppers (sweet)(Plant later in the month)||Big Bertha, Golden Summer,Banana Supreme, Cubanelle, Gypsy, Orange Sun, Summer Sweet, Sweet Pickle, Jupiter||1(cage)||Transplants only|
|Peppers (hot)(Plant later in the month)||Mucho Nacho Jalapeño, Mexibell, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Super Cayenne , Hidalgo Serrano, Jalapeno, TAM Mild Jalapeno, Anaheim (Chile), Cherry Bomb||1(cage)||Transplants only|
|Cucumbers (Pickling)||Calypso, Carolina, Sumter, H-19 Little Leaf||2 (trellis)||Seed or transplant|
|Cucumbers (Slicing)||Armenian, Sweet Success, Sweet Slice, Spacemaster, Suyo, Diva||2 (trellis)||Seed or transplant|
|Okra||Emerald, Clemson Spineless, Louisiana green velvet||1||Seed or transplant|
|Eggplant||Purple Rain, Fairytale, Ichiban||1||transplant|
|Squash winter||Buttercup, Spaghetti, Table King||1 (trellis)||Seed or transplant|
|Squash summer||Dixie, Pattypan, Eightball, Early Yellow, Gold Rush||1 (cage)||Seed or transplant|
|Black eyed peas||Blackeye #5, Purplehull, Texas Pinkeye||9||Seed|
|Blue Lake 274, Tendercrop, Contender, Tendergreen, Derby, Goldcrop Wax||9||Seed|
|Kentucky Wonder, Purple King, Rattlesnake, Yard long||8 (trellis)||Seed|
Due to quarantine restrictions and in an abundance of caution, our garden workdays are cancelled until we figure out a way to make sure everyone is safe. I will continue to have copies of the “Best Bets” available in the shed, and I encourage everyone to get out and garden! The fruits and vegetables are thriving, and the food banks are desperate for fresh produce. We are taking food to the Friendship house on Tuesday mornings and Metrocrest Monday thru Friday plus Saturday morning. Please text Peg Kinkade at 972-369-3266 when you leave produce in the refrigerator for delivery. Please note there is no one at the church.
We shall garden separately, so we can come together to help feed our community. Be safe!
Thanks to Doug for erecting our new birdhouse! Now the purple martins can get comfortable at their preferred distance from all other critters!
Gardeners, stay well! We are still taking donations to Metrocrest Services, and we anticipate a continued need. Please continue to check on your crops! It’s planting season and getting outdoors at the garden is a great way to manage cabin fever!
Remember, there are lots of chores you can help with: pull weeds, turn the compost, add wood chips to the path, help your neighbors, tend to one of the community plots. It helps with stress management and supports the garden community as a whole!
We had a quiet but productive day at the garden today. We did not hold our typical workday but still invited those who felt comfortable to join us in getting work done. And we didn’t get rained on!
It is now spring, and that means it is time to plant! Now is the time to plant your beds with all your spring (and some summer!) favorites: tomatoes (transplants), all varieties of peppers (transplants), melons (remember: grow UP, not out, or you will lose your whole bed), cucumbers, snap peas, long beans, etc. You can also check the A&M planting guide for ideas.
- Wear bug spray! It is the start of chigger and mosquito season, and because of the mild winter, the bugs will be active. Wear long sleeves and spray bug spray, particularly on your shoes and ankles, to prevent itchy bites.
- Consider building an “anti-bunny cage” for popular greens. Use chicken wire or similar; remember, bunnies can squeeze through very tight places to get your delicious lettuces. (Also, remember to close the gates to prevent bunnies!)
- Make good use of your trellis! Grow UP, not out.
- Please continue to weigh and document your harvests. Put harvested produce in the fridge or cooler near the church.
If you visit, consider doing a “community chore” while you are there. Ideas include:
- Weeding path areas
- Turning compost in the bins
- Taking out the trash in the green trash can
- Laying down cardboard and mulch in washed-out parts of the path
- Volunteering to deliver harvested produce
- Watering community crops
- Harvesting community crops, including the blackberries outside the fence
- Watering or harvesting crops for your neighbors (get in touch with them first to make sure this is okay!)
We will keep you posted as the virus news continues, but the garden is always open. It’s a great way to get some high-quality outdoor time and do some good. Please do come and plant your plot! We will continue making deliveries to area food banks and want a full, productive harvest!
Gardeners, with the rain and health concerns, the March workday won’t be “required.” We won’t have any large community projects or a gardening lesson.
However, you are still welcome to come by! We’ll be there to work in our beds and get our crops planted.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PLANT, so please do come garden when you feel comfortable. Gardening is good for you and it is easy to keep your distance from others outdoors.