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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
prefer)
-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 🙂
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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

Little Cans For Small Hands

28 Apr

IMG_7746Watering season is almost upon us! We’ve moved the kids’ watering cans out of the shed for easy access. Children are welcome to water the flowers and plants in the ground along the play area fence, the Jay St fence or the short border fence at any time. Traditionally, we observe the rule that only grownups are allowed to use the hose, turn on/or spray the water. That said, we encourage adults to fill up watering cans for their little cvEarthLab2of9guys.

If you’re new to the play area, know that we keep sharp tools, soaps and basic chemicals locked in the shed, away from the kids. But the garden is not childproof; there are trip hazards, wood splinters, sharp corners and hardware wire edges around the beds.Please supervise children inside the garden space, or block the entrances with chairs or logs to prevent them from hurting themselves or the seedlings. Its tempting to pull up sprouts from the raised beds, but it will be cvEarthLab1of9.lpgmuch more satisfying once the veg are full grown! (See what’s planned here.)  If you have an idea about how we can make it easier for your child to co-exist with the baby plants, email us, please, at cvearthlab@gmail.com. Once the season is in full swing, we’ll highlight the sensory garden pots that contain mint, cinnamon basil, lemon verbena and other fun to smell, taste and touch herbs.

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It’s almost time for the 2nd Annual Pollinator Appreciation Party! Mark your calendars for Friday May 13th at 6:30pm. We’ll have more planting activities in the coming weeks, and a watering schedule for the vegetable beds will be posted soon. Stay in the loop by signing up for email notifications on CVEarthLab.com. Thanks!

–Ansley, Deb, Denise, Sandy, Shari & Alison, The Core Garden Team

Save the Date: 5.13 Fri 6:30pm Pollinator Party

18 Apr

Mark your calendars!  We’ll hold our 2nd Annual Pollinator Appreciation Party on Friday May 13th at 630pm. Join us for light refreshments, garden tours and butterfly love!

Learn more about membership (and operational costs) at CVEarthlab.com. Thank you.

PollinatorParty-2016.ai (1)

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Mid-August Highlights: CVEarthlab

18 Aug
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A Moth Sighting

25 Jul

Moth

I spied this guy in the shade garden. When I checked the pupa, it was opened

and abandoned. Maybe this is the moth that it held?  I’m working on an identification…Thought it might be some sort of Spinx moth based on the caterpillar but I still can’t pinpoint it.

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At long last…They have landed!

24 Jun

Caterpillar spotted this evening on the dill. Probably an early stage swallowtail larva?

Compare to this one from a couple of seasons ago and share thoughts!

–Denise

 

You’re Invited To A Pollinator Appreciation Party!

5 May

Save the date for a Pollinator Appreciation Party Friday May 15th at 630pm. Light refreshments will be served, a new hummingbird feeder will be unveiled, and our new flowers and plants will shine. Time and date subject to weather. Feel free to bring beverages or food to share. Click here more information about our pollinator-supporting plants designed to attract butterflies, bees and skippers, or to learn how to become a member of CVEarthlab

cvearthlab.com/party

What’s In Our Butterfly Garden: August ’14 Edition

6 Aug

Danaus plexippusWhile some of the butterfly plants that were planted this year we not successful, we’ve still got many butterfly host and nectar plants, in addition to our butterfly bushes, that are thriving. These include:

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Green Monster! Orange Eggs!

19 Jul

Ken Haim and Ella rescued this big boy from Borough Hall.  It wasn’t on a plant, but on the concrete, so we don’t have too many clues…. Eastern Tiger swallowtail?   Zebra swallowtail?  He was last seen heading from the caterpillar dill/parsley (near the persimmon tree, where we placed him) toward the felt orange bed that previously held garlic..

catepillar

 

 

Next question: Are these ladybug eggs?  They’re on the dittany or stone mint plant, which is just starting to bloom.

Special thanks to Mike, who took these photographs with his new camera!  –Denise

ladybugeggs

 

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