Archive | March, 2018

Welcome To Pupa’s House

20 Mar

Sandy was able to lend us a container for the critter, so our white pupa, still unidentified but possibly a moth, has a new home.

Gary, of Not Very Far Away, a nature blog, says the narrow white cocoon may hold the pupa of a cecropia silkmoth or a Callosamia promethea moth. Both are beautiful and pictured below.  I will continue to research and share my findings — but it’s exciting!

She’s inside a clear plastic container with a vented orange lid, sitting in the sun, under a crate.  Stop by and say hi!  callosamia-promethea-female-6-23-10-1


A Solid Garden Workday!

18 Mar

Thanks to everyone who came out to help prep the garden!  It was nice to see so many CVers come out despite the chilly weather.  About 16 souls braved the cold and helped to:

  1. Amend some soil, turn under the cover crops, and till and blend soil in three raised beds.
  2. Plant sugar snap peas, snow peas, and shelling peas along with hardy greens.
  3. Broke in the brand new kid-sized watering cans (which match the orange metal ones)
  4. Prep new planters for sunflowers.
  5. Prune herbs as well as some perennial pollinator-friendly plants.
  6. Marvel at the (potential) pupa/ chrysalis discovered on the milkweed.

Why start planting so early in the season?  Nature is preparing for spring renewal despite the low temps.  Read below a newsletter from Edible Schoolyard NYC’s Mirem for more context on early spring gardening.

Mirem’s Weekly Garden Tips: Mar 17

Hello fellow school gardeners,
Four weeks to last frost! Hard to believe given the weather, but in fact
this Tuesday (the 20th) is the March equinox . Longer days cue
growth for many temperate plants, regardless of temperature: you’ll notice
early-spring bulbs like crocuses, Siberian iris and snowdrops in bloom, and
daffodils making leaves like crazy in preparation for blooming next month.
Leaf buds are forming on trees and shrubs. Raspberries and roses are
starting to make actual leaves.

This is your last chance to prune woody herbs, shrubs and trees before the
all-out explosion of spring growth. Once the sap rises and leaves unfurl,
branches are more vulnerable and will have a harder time healing properly
from pruning cuts. I’ve attached a good article on pruning for further
reading. No time for reading? Head out to the garden and *do the bare
essentials of pruning:*

-Cut back any obviously dead branches (grey color, dry, no green visible
in the cross section)
-Remove any branches or stems that pose a hazard, for example eye-level
branches across a path
-Remove or cut back any branches that are in the way for any reason
-Remove branches that cross or rub against others (just keep the one you
-Cut back very vigorous cane fruit and shrubs to keep them under control
-Trim back bare or leggy stems of thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage,
marjoram, mint, etc.
-Use regular pruning shears for small branches and stems. For bigger
branches, use loppers if you have them – the larger sizes can handle
diameters up to an inch and a half (at Edible Schoolyard NYC, we call them
“Cyndi Loppers”). When you make a cut on a branch that is any bigger than
an inch and a half, use a pruning saw. Make a shallow cut on the underside
of the branch, then cut through from the top – that prevents the bark from
stripping off when the branch breaks off. Don’t cut flush to the trunk,
leave the joint attached to the trunk to speed healing.
*What to do with the trimmings and prunings?*  New York City picks up neatly bundled woody material as long as you follow Department of Sanitation guidelines

  • Save long, straight branches for staking perennials;
  • Chop up small branches and use to mulch established trees, making sure
    the pieces are less than 6″ long and are in contact with the soil, so they
    can be broken down by fungi;
  • Add chopped trimmings and prunings to your compost, if you have room;
  • Use for firewood, after a thorough, slow drying;
  • Finally, there is an interesting but not particularly urban-friendly
    technique called hugelkultur  that  uses woody material as the bottom layer of a planting mound or hill. Let me  know if you try this 🙂

Is This A Pupa? A Butterfly That Overwintered On Milkweed?

18 Mar

Found on native milkweed while pruning today:  A specimen that looks like it could be a pupa or some type of chrysalis.

We’ll investigate.

In the meantime, does anyone have a butterfly net or pop up display cage where we can place it outside?

Related stories: Plants In Our Butterfly-Friendly Garden ; June 2013 Caterpillar Spottings; Even Our Small Garden Can Help Native Bees! ; Monarch Butterfly Plants In Our Midst

1pm Sunday Planting + More Garden Event Notes

17 Mar

Talk about a quick and dirty job! Join the gardeners inside the children’s play area (behind 195 Adams St) at 1pm Sunday for a short but fun event. We’ll spend about 30 minutes digging under cover crops, tilling the soil and direct sowing frost-hardy seeds.  We’ll plant sugar snap peas, snow peas and possibly other veg such as radish, beets.  All are welcome! These activities are toddler-friendly, but please note it will be cold so we won’t be out long.

Coming soon:

In mid-April, we’ll have the opportunity to move basil plants (from February’s pizza party) and herbs from our window sills into the garden. We will also direct sow more plants around the same time.

Sat April 28th or Sun April 29th:  We’re planning a kid-friendly garden workday. Depending which day has a better forecast, we’ll  do some planting and transplanting, assemble a new raised bed, move soil and more!

In mid-May, (or a little later) we’ll the transplant tomatoes, peppers and flowers that we started from seed into the garden beds.


Excited?  You can sign up on the watering sked to commit to water the plants in May  — or even pay membership dues for the 2018 Spring, Summer + Fall season.

Spring is almost here — help welcome it!


Digging & Planting Event Sunday 1pm to 130pm

16 Mar

Its time to start tilling, prepping beds and planting snap peas. Come to the community garden in the play area Sunday at 1pm for a quick activity. All are welcome! Its especially toddler-friendly.


13 Mar

Anyone else seeing signs of plant life from Thursday’s seed-starting workshop?

These guys, who’ve been under grow lights for five days, popped today. I think they’re borage or holy basil/ Tulsi. Time will tell…

Home Care For Planters; Upcoming Garden Events

10 Mar


Thanks to all who came to the gardening workshop this week!  If you started seeds in a sub-irrigated planter this week or got a basil start last month, here’s some information about care.

1. Keep planter in full sun or a sunny window.

2. Add water to bottom cup every 2-3 days. It is OK to spritz soil from the top, but “watering” should be done via the reservoir in the bottom of the planter.

3. In mid to late April, we’ll have the opportunity to move basil plants and herbs from our window sills into the garden. We will also direct sow some plants — by putting seeds directly into the raised beds around the same time.

4. Tomatoes, peppers and some flowers won’t be ready for transplant until mid to late May. (If your plant grows very big and tall for its planter, you may need to add organic potting soil, and possibly move it into a bigger pot. )

5.  About a week before transplanting, you’ll want to harden off your plants by bringing them outside to exposing them to an increasing longer period of warm sunshine each day.

Please make a note:  We’re planning a kid-friendly garden workday for either Sat April 28 or Sun April 29. Around mid-day, we’ll do some planting and transplanting, assemble a new raised bed, move soil and more!

10 Mar

5:30pm Tonite: Seed-Starting Workshop

8 Mar

Join us at CVEarthlab’s Seed-Starting Workshop  in the community room this evening (Thursday), March 8th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

All residents, including those with and those without small children, are most welcome to attend. CVEarthlab gardeners will provide non-GMO, organic vegetable and flower seeds and guidance. You bring organic potting soila small pot or an empty plastic bottle (to convert into a sub-irrigated, self-watering planter).  RSVPs are appreciated.

Now Live: Spring 2018 Watering Schedule

Want to make a commitment to Spring today?  Sign up to water the garden in April!  This is a favorite task for adults and kids alike. Find instructions at the signup here ; you can always find the link to the signup on the homepage (in the column on the right side).

Did You RSVP for the Gardening Event Tomorrow?

7 Mar

The Seed-Starting Workshop is on for this Thursday evening! Join us in the community room at 230 Jay Street, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

Please send an email message to if you plan to attend (or even hope to attend). It’s helpful to know how many gardeners to expect!

Bring empty plastic bottles and organic potting soil. We’ll provide seeds and help you create self-watering planters to start tomato, pepper, and other plants inside.

Join CVEarthlab for 2018

All CV residents — with or without small children — are welcome to come and start seeds for the 2018 growing season. CVEarthlab is a community and an educational garden located in the play area behind 195 Adams Street. Together, members grow vegetables, herbs, and other edibles as well as flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. All upkeep, including watering, organic pest management, soil, and other maintenance is the responsibility of the volunteers.  Suggested annual membership dues are $25. per family.  Learn more about soil replenishment and other basic expenses here.

It’s Going To Be A Great Growing Year!

We encourage members to join and pay dues at the season’s start. While herbs grown in the standing raised beds (outside the play area and near the back entrances to 270 Jay and 225 Adams Sts) are available to CV residents at no-charge, we happily accept donations to help cover organic soil costs.

Follow the garden club news by signing up for email notifications at

We will transplant the tomatoes, peppers, and flowers into the shared garden space in mid-May.


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