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Beach Plum Blooms For the First Time

14 Apr

Native to the Northeast coast, the beach plum (prunus maritima marsh) is a perennial fruit shrub especially supportive of bees. Learn more about its interesting history here

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Heritage Beach Plum, April 2019.

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CV’s beach plum as seen in 2015.

 

 

 

 

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What To Pick and Eat Now

30 Jun

Bee balm, aka Monarda, sprouts an edible flower.

Borage, with its small blue glow, also has petals you can eat.

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Borage flowers

Hot weather means the sweet pea season will be over soon — grab one now!

Alpine strawberries are small but sweet. Spearmint and peppermint, in pots around the garden, are almost always available.

Coming soon: Patty pan squash, tomatoes, ground cherries, cucumbers and more!

Related: The watering schedule is available.  Go to the signup to volunteer for a specific date.

Thanks!

From the BBG: Managing Rats in City Gardens by Caroline Bragdon

29 Jul

This article, written by the mind behind NYC Rat Information Portal  was originally published by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 2006. It dispels many myths,

  • Myth #1: Cats deter rats significantly. They do not.
  • Myth #2:  Rats thrive on vegetable garden produce. They’ll eat it–but they also need animal proteins such as dog waste and food waste.
  • Myth #3: Sonic “scaring” devices and things like mothballs, pepper sprays, peppermint, or other chemicals will deter rats. They won’t. As Bragdon writes,”Beware of anyone claiming they have a secret weapon or chemical that will get rid of rats. There is none.”

Managing Rats in City Gardens by Caroline Bragdon

Many gardeners have had at least one encounter with rats; the typical urban gardener has probably had many. There is only one species of rat in New York City—the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). The Norway rat is a commensal rodent, meaning it lives in close association (literally, “shares the table”) with humans. Urban gardens are particularly hospitable to rats because they provide food, water, and safety.

Rats will burrow into any available earthen space within close proximity to food but prefer fresh, fertile soil to make their nests—a garden is prime real estate to them. A rat burrow can be anywhere from one to six feet deep and will have an entrance, an exit, and maybe even an escape hole. A typical burrow will house a family of approximately eight rats. By counting the burrow holes gardeners can estimate the number of rats living in their garden.

Gardeners are usually left up to their own devices when it comes to pest control. Some people want to maintain a pesticide-free environment; others are desperate to get a bad situation under control and will try any remedy. Rats can usually be managed effectively without relying on toxic pesticides. In fact, a good rat management program focuses primarily on prevention.

LEARN WHAT RATS NEED AND ELIMINATE IT Recognizing how to make your space less hospitable can help you to devise a rodent-reducing plan. Rats must eat one to two ounces of food a day and have daily access to water. Rats will eat everything that humans eat and many things that we would never eat. They are not vegetarian; like most mammals, rats (especially reproducing females) need animal protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet. Continue reading

Preparing Tomato Plants for Transplanting

18 May

Today I started “hardening off” the two tomatoes that I started from seedearlier this year.  If you too have tomatoes in your window, you’ll want to get them ready to move outside.

I’m aiming to get mine in the ground by Memorial Day weekend, so I’ll spend the next 6 to 9 days gradually exposing them to the outdoor air, light and temperatures before they go into the garden bed.

Shari shares this guide to hardening-off tomatoes: growinggardens.org/hardening-off-plant-starts. I have some flowers, too, but I’m assuming they aren’t as complicated as fruit-bearing tomatoes to toughen up.

Who else has tomatoes, and how many? We should think abtomato-seedlingout what is going where in the small garden, so we don’t end up with too many tomatoes!

 

A Special Cocktail to Support the Garden

29 Oct
Fall Harvest Sangria

Fall Harvest Sangria

At this Friday’s Halloween Pizza Party, the garden committee will serve a special Fall Harvest Sangria to grownups. The recipe includes ground cherries from our own garden — and the mixture was a hit at the Annual Garden Fundraiser & Potluck.

Look for the garden donation jar near the sangria pitcher! We’re collecting through the end of October. All CV residents who enjoy the vegetable & herb garden are invited to contribute before Sunday. If you’d like to see a community bed again in the spring, please support the garden with a $10. donation. Soil, compost and other expensive materials need to be replenished often. Can’t make the Halloween party? You can leave cash or checks (made out to CVOI) with the office in 215 Adams or with Deb Van Wetering’s doorman (225 Adams).

Garden members are asked to contribute 3 bags of mulch/wood chips, which help the soil but also acts as child safety surfacing. Pick up free wood chips from Greenwood Cemetery or buy bagged wood chips from Bruno’s or Lowes and have them delivered. While we hope that management will bring in a wood chipper after Christmas for a CV mulch fest, ground cover is needed year round, especially during late fall and early spring. Thank you!

Related: The Most Requested Potluck Recipes

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Fall Harvest Sangria Recipe

6 Oct

 

IngrediFall Harvest Sangria ents

  • 1/2 organic apple, chopped
  • 1/2 organic pear, chopped
  • 20-30 (1/4 cup) ground cherries
  • 3-4 ounces banana liquor
  • 2-3 ounces rum
  • Sweet red wine (4 bottles)
  • Fresca diet grapefruit soda (2 liters) optional
  • San Pellegrino Pomegranate & Orange Sparkling Beverage (2 oz cans) optional

Instructions

  1. Mix chopped fruit. Add liquor and rum.
  2. Soak overnight in refrigerator.
  3. In one large or two small pitchers, combine marinated fruit and excess liquid with red wine, soda and sparkling beverage. Use large wooden spoon to stir.
  4. Serve over ice.

 

Ground Cherries: A New Obsession

19 Feb

I’m inshopping-1trigued by these prolific, pineapple-tasting fruits. They grow like tomatoes and the fruits have been popular at Old Stone House/Washington Park garden near Benji’s school inGowanus. Here are some Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa) factoids collected from

Organic Gardening and Seed Savers.org:

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  • Easy to grow, prolific, and super sweet.
  • Plants have a sprawling habit
  • The ½-¾” fruits are encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. Stores 3-4 weeks in the husk.
  • Ground cherries bear fruit about 70 days from transplant (late July to August) and continue until frost.
  • Can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream, or in fresh fruit salads.
  • Excellent results when grown on landscape cloth, which suppresses weeds and makes fruit collecting easier.

ground cherry  Anyone else intrigued? 🙂        –Denise

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