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Welcome Monarch Caterpillar #2

28 Jul

IMG_49202cat

Just call us Monarch Village!

I discovered several caterpillars on the milkweed today and moved one into the habitat container.  You can find the netted cage hanging on the persimmon tree outside the wooden garden-border fence.

All residents are welcome to observe this Monarch caterpillar.  You can move the habitat for observation but please do not touch the actual caterpillar. If you move the netted cage, please return it where you found it:  under the tree in a shaded are.  The caterpillar habitat should not be placed in direct sunlight.

You can read more here.  If you’d like to be involved in the raising and care for this caterpillar over the next 3 weeks, please post a comment or send an email message to cvearthlab.com. 

We will keep the evolving creature outside, making sure she has fresh milkweed, and after she’s in pupa stage, making sure to note when she emerges so we can release her within 24 hours.

With luck we can try to tag and track the butterfly that will likely emerge mid-August.

IMG_4928cage

 

 

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Thanks for a Productive Workday!

5 May

 

 

Can you water the garden this week?

28 Jul

The rain is ending and the garden’s watering schedule has too many openings! Please help if you can… Opportunities exist over the next week, including Monday 7/30 and Tuesday, 7/31.

Sign up here.  Find more detailed instructions on  New + Improved Watering Schedule  or Garden Watering Guidelines .

Many thanks!

The Summer Watering Schedule Is Live!

24 Jun

Sign up to water the garden, please!

It’s easy, relaxing, and kid-friendly.

The online schedule has been updated and you can sign up now : Choose as many days as you can; the schedule gives some instructions; generally, just know that it’s better to water early or later in the day (not mid-day), just because more water will soak in.

It’s a great way to help out, and an easy commitment . . . and we have some open slots this week, so if you’re around, please help!

Thanks.

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 🙂

Sat July 9th: Crazy Growth Report!

9 Jul

I hadn’t been outside in a few days, so today I was amazed by how fast things are growing: Almost all of the tomatoes need staking/pruning/ support.

There’s also sprawl from the ground cherries that I tried to reign in…The cucumbers are ready to climb so I pulled down some of the snap peas… I suppose I will snip off the scapes this weekend and plan a garlic harvest.  Who wants some?

 

Have you watered lately?  Its hot and those tomato plants are thirsty, click here to volunteer to water on a specific day.  See you outside!!!  -Denise

 

 

Planting Sunday 4.17 at 1:30pm

16 Apr

We’re going to plant seed potatoes, lettuces and other edibles Sunday afternoon at 1:30pm. All are welcome, but the specific planting agenda is still TBD.
Many who attended our sub-irrigated planter workshop have asked about the timeframe for transplanting. It’s too early to do most of the plants and flowers just yet…But we’re working on scheduling some future planting dates in early May. If you have questions about your actual plant send a photo or email to cvearthlab@gmail.com. If you are concerned because you are going away for spring break and need a plant caregiver, post a comment. There are likely other gardeners in your building who may be able to host your planter. Thanks!

Sprout Spotted!

29 Feb

santiamTomatoSprout

Look at my little Santiam tomato sprout! Hooray!

Anyone else seeing anything? In fairness, I am using grow lights, so my seedlings have an advantage… –Denise

Related: Home Care for Planters

 

Home Care for Sub-Irrigated/ Self-Watering Planters

25 Feb

IMG_3034Thanks to all who came to the workshop last night. I am sharing some tips we use at Benji’s school for PTA plantings…But this is one philosophy or approach, not the only one. Ansley and other gardeners may have different takes on how to proceed — keep your eye on the comments section!

1. (At home) Remove and fill the bottom reservoir cup with about 2-3 inches of water. For one time only, water plant from the top to allow soil and wick to settle. Wick should dangle into liquid to allow soil to “suck up” the water and “self water” the plant.

2. Place in full sun or sunny windowsill.  aclk

3. 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.

4.  If you need to add soil, use organic potting soil.

5. Depending what you planted, be ready to transplant a little early, because, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, Spring may come early.  The 2016 prediction for NYC’s last frost is April 1st. (Last Spring Frost prediction tagged as having 50% probability).

Gallery

Scenes from CV Mulchfest 2016

9 Jan

Related:  And the Winner Is…; Mulch For Better Soil & Safety Surfacing

Video: Mulching In Action; Video of Mulch Dump ; Extended Mulching Clip

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