Happy Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July celebration.  I had fun watching all my neighbors’ displays with my old man dog while the young dog stayed quiet in the house. Hard to believe two weeks have rushed by since my last note.  During this time, the garden received a lot of love from so many folks; our regular volunteers and lots of new faces who were joined by members of the Asbury Youth Group, the Boy’s Team Charity (BTC) Senior class, the Global Leadership Initiative for Youth (GLIFY), the Girl Scouts, National Charity League and the Del Arroyo 4H Club.  I want to thank all of you for coming out to work on some of the hottest days we’ve had yet this year to bring the garden into its full summer glory. THANK YOU!

Together we were able to harvest and share 1,096 pounds of yummy healthy food with our neighbors, including our first eggplants.  We have had some stiff competition for produce this year, ranging from tons of gophers, squirrels and rabbits plus the predators who have been digging furrows through out the beds to catch them. Many thanks to our intrepid gopher hunters ZC and JP for their diligent work to catch them and CL and the twins for locating new holes as they led the harvests. Amazingly, we seem to have a predator that has figured out an easy dinner can be had by pulling out the traps and taking the gopher out of it. As long as they don;t take the traps too all is good.  If our mammalian neighbors weren’t enough we had an outbreak of bacterial wilt that some squash bugs and cucumber beetles spread through our early planted melon bed-sigh we had to pull all the plants just before the melons ripened.

In addition to hunting for and squashing squash bugs, many thanks to our 2020 bug squad JS and AW, we have been planting all kinds of companion plants to attract their natural predators, dill and fennel, or plants that act as trap plants like nasturtiums, and ones that repel them like basil, marigolds and calendula. Thanks for the flower donation RL and girls.  We will try to keep track of which worked for us and share with you later this summer.

We are comparing direct sowing all those herbs and transplanting little tiny seedlings. Both methods seem to be working but transplanting seedlings means we don’t need to give daily waterings to freshly seeded beds. Guess which method I am leaning towards for next year?

In addition to pounds of herb seeds and seedlings, we also worked on planting out the squash and melon seedlings we started a couple weeks ago. In total we planted out 600 black eyed peas, the last 24 peppers, the last 10 eggplants, the last 34 summer squash, 33 melons and 71 winter squash.  The peppers, eggplants and summer squash will start producing the end of next month and some of the melons will be ready at the end of August while other melons and the winter squash will take until October be ready to harvest and share.

The other thing we hunted was weeds, I know that every bed in the garden has received a weeding, been prepared for planting-all 12,000+ square feet of them.  Including the last four onion beds WAHOOOO! I hope to get the last of the winter squash and cover crops in by my next note. Many thanks to all you zen weed pullers and a big shout out to JS for maintaining the orchard single-handedly.

Also thanks to ZC, BL and NF for organizing the hoop house and to CN for focusing her weeding skills in there.  It looks beautiful. Almost as pretty as the office and the big transportainer that ZC and DB have been re-organizing for us.  MANY THANKS TO OUR ORGANIZED VOLUNTEERS!.

As always, my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all you.  Thank you all for coming out to help the garden help feed our neighbors.  Fertile GroundWorks couldn’t do what we do without each and every one of you.  THANK YOU!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Until next we meet, do stay safe and keep loving the ones you are with.

Giant cosmic hugs