October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
As we close the garden on the 2011 season, Bobby and I would like to thank those of you who came by to offer your time and expertise in nurturing the vegetables from seeds to harvest and in general, extending words of encouragement. In addition, we cannot thank Mary Jo enough for all of the work she has done in providing this blog and posting weekly updates with candid and great photographs by Karen and Elaine – pictures of the garden, the marketplace and the warm and friendly people who enjoyed the experience.
Next, our sincere thanks to Tano and his crew at Nahant Fish & Lobster for allowing us the opportunity to distribute our harvest in a timely, convenient and fun-type way. Tano’s cooperation enabled us to get the message out that the Nahant Community Garden produced organically grown vegetables and the farm stand – on Nahant’s Main Street across from Short beach – went a long way in being responsible for community recognition and a successful method of produce distribution.
Last but in no way least, we all owe a debt of gratitude to our retiring Town Administrator, Mark Cullinan whose concept and unyielding support of Nahant’s community garden was central to its success. From the first meeting on a shivering February day two years ago to the bountiful harvesting of fresh produce these past two summers, we need to know that without Mark it would not have happened.
Bobby and Paul
October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Throughout the summer we have encountered a variety of vegetable pests and diseases, and one particularly troublesome pest was the Squash Vine Borer. Preventing its infestation of vines is difficult at best and some suggestions by experts are the 1) yearly rotation of crops 2) applying row covers 3) using Entomophagous nematodes and 4) frequent spraying using insecticidal soap. But those are preventative measures. What happens when the plant becomes infected with borers?
Reading more about the problem, it is suggested that the gardener adopt a ‘surgical’ approach to infected vines and after experimenting on several diseased plants, we had success in restoring them to healthy, vegetable-producing plants and we would like to share with you this bit of ‘science’ gardening.
All of the photos below were taken by Karen Hosking. A special thanks to Karen for donating her time and talent throughout the season!
This picture shows what a healthy squash vine should look like. Healthy, green-angled leafs off of a straight stem, producing both male and female flowers. There are no abrasions, holes or signs of pest attack anywhere on the plant.
This picture shows an infected vine stem. Holes penetrating along the plant surrounded by an orange sawdust-like paste excreted by the borers called frass. This vine is severely infected and the health of the plant, if left without remedy, means it will wilt and die.
This picture shows the stem being sliced using a box cutter to open a cavity to access the borers. Cutting the plant would seem like the wrong thing to do but there is no other way to access the pests as they are imbedded.
This picture shows a larvae. It is about an inch long, white/creamy color with a brown/black spot at its head, and it will be removed and dropped into a bucket of soapy water. But let’s step back a minute and look at the life cycle of a vine borer. The adult borer is a moth that resembles more a wasp than a moth. It is about an inch long, colorful with a bright orange abdomen, green wings with a patch of orange on its back with black dots. They fly during the day and lay their flat, brown eggs about an inch or so away from where the stem enters the ground. Then, a week or so after laying the eggs the larvae hatches, enters the vine, feeds for about 4-6 weeks, exits the vine to burrow an inch or two into the soil to pupate. It will remain in its cocoon until the next summer to hatch, become a moth and the next generation begins.
This is one reason, and the main reason, why gardeners are advised not to plant the same vegetable in the same spot year after year – but best to rotate crops. If, say, peppers are planted where the squash borer has over-wintered when the borer wakes up to feed on a new squash seedling but can only find peppers, it will die from lack of food.
This picture shows the wound being sprayed with an insecticidal soap to kill insects feeding off the injured – but now open – vine.
This picture is the next step in the process of healing. The vine is wrapped with cheesecloth or a porous cloth and securely tied.
This picture is the final step. The wrapped wound is covered with soil and in most cases, the plant survives. In fact, this season we performed surgery on about 7 plants and each recovered to produce fruit all season long.
October 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
- The last of the tomatoes have been picked and taken to market
- Still have ample squash, zucchini, peppers, Swiss Chard and coming on for Autumn harvest are Bok Choy plants and cucumbers
- The soil in the raised beds is being turned over being readied for grass clippings and crushed leaves as compost
- Same with the container soil. They are being emptied and readied for compost
- The cut flower beds are being cleaned up and we are pleased to see the Mexican Sunflower plants are still in bloom with Monarch butterflies and bees harvesting pollen from the flowers.
- Everything now is in a wrap-up mode as the season draws to a close
September 9, 2011 § 1 Comment
The Nahant Community Garden thanks Tano of NAHANT FISH & LOBSTER for his wonderful cooperation in allowing us to distribute our vegetables.
September 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Always something to learn at the Nahant Community Garden…
You may not recognize the object in this picture but it (was) a common, bright green leaf-colored Tomato Hornworm on which its enemy, the Parasitic Wasp laid its cocoon-type eggs. The hatchlings feed off the worm leaving it quite dead as you see in the picture.
August 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
We were delighted to welcome Karen’s family to NCG. You might recognize Karen (holding son) of YAN’S CHINA BISTRO located on Humphrey St. in Swampscott. Yan’s specializes in Asian Cuisine using only the freshest ingredients so Karen who heard so much about NCG decided to bring the family for a visit.