Tips

Gardening tips that you might find helpful in your gardening. Have one to share? Send it to info@hillstreetgarden.org.

Succession Planting

Want to extend your growing season and increase your yield for a small plot? Consider succession planting. A presenter from the 2014 Seedy Saturday shared her succession planting notes.

Bugs! Good ones keep the bad ones away

The more healthy your plants, the better they are able to withstand bug attacks. Plants can withstand a small amount of bugs - so keep an eye out, but don't get worried by a little damage.
 

Some good bugs: wasps, ground beetles, dragonflies. Attract the good ones by plants a variety of flowers and herbs in the garden. If every plots has some flowers, everyone will benefit!
 

Bad bugs:

  • leaf miner: spinach, beets, chard, etc. Leaves turn brown.

Healthy Soil: helps plants stay healthy

Healthy soil will help to keep your plants healthy and strong. Stronger plants can better withstand bugs, disease and water stress. Ways to keep your soil healthy:

Composters

When putting plants in the compost, please check the signs

  • no sign = open, put stuff in
  • closed = don't put stuff in
  • use me = compost ready to go on plots

Please also try not to put weeds with seeds in our composters, nor diseased or mouldy plants, but put these into the city green bins on site. Thanks to our composter volunteers for managing these all summer!

Cucumber Beetles

Are your cucumbers, squash, melons or zuchnini getting eaten? Look for cucumber bettles (yellow with stripes or spots). The adults eat the leaves and they aren't too bad, but the main problem is that they lay their eggs near the roots of the plants and then the larve suck nutrients from the plant. There isn't really an effective organic way to get rid of them, except to keep the adults from laying their eggs, as best you can.

Mulch and Water Conservation

Raised beds are notorious for drying out faster than regular gardens. There is more exposure and places for the water to evaporate. Plants then get stressed, more water is used, and it take more of your time. What to do?
Mulch, mulch, mulch! By covering the soil with a 'insulating layer', less water will be lost to evaporation. Use newspapers, grass clippings, straw or anything else to build up a layer.
Some things to keep in mind:

Soil Blocks for seedlings

"Plastic pots reduce air flow and make seedlings root bound. A compact, air pruned soil block does not limit oxygen to the roots." (http://www.pottingblocks.com/) On Sunday, March 25, a dozen or so of us gardeners made 40 blocks each to try out with our seedlings for this year.

Powdery Mildew

Watch out for powdery mildew on squash and zucchini plants. Spots of white fuzzy are indicators; dying / wilting leaves mean it's spreading. To counteract:

  • if leaf is wilting, cut it off at the vine and put in the green bins (not the compost - don't want to spread it to next year's plants)
  • if only some spots, spray every 2-3 days with a mixture of one part milk and 9 parts water. This seems to change the pH of the leaf so the mildew can't grow

If you leave you plant alone, it will die - so keep a watchful eye, especially when it is hot and humid.

Homegrown Lettuce

(Courtesy of Raymond, everyone's favourite gardener!)

Homegrown lettuce is so tasty and tender for salads. But special tricks are needed to pick lettuce from the garden now, when it’s hot.

This time of year, lettuce tends to bolt — that is, to flower and make seeds. Once a flower stalk starts pushing up through the whorl of leaves, those leaves turn bitter and tough.

Tomato suckers

large suckerBushy tomato plants are lovely, aren't they? However, it is important to sucker your tomatoes as tomato suckera bushy plant will actually have less tomatoes. A sucker is a non-bearing branch that grows out of the stem at a 45 degree angle off the branch that will have tomatoes (these grow straight out). Pinch these off as soon as you see them started (idealy before they get an inch long). [Picture credits: finegardening.com and about.com]