Friday, October 13, 2017

Allelopathy--plants that keep your seeds from germinating

 
We've previously posted  our discovery that sweet potatoes planted in your garden act to deter subsequent crops from germinating or thriving. A recent post by UF/IFAS sheds further light on this.   In fact, I learned from the UF post that a recent cover crop in the VegHeadz garden--Sunn Hemp (Crotalaria judncea)--is one of those plants. We used Sunn Hemp as a cover crop in one of our plots last spring.  It will be interesting to see how this season's crops fare in that area.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fall is in the Air and Things are Happening in the VegHeadz Garden


Mornings were a little cooler this week and gardeners turned out in force to begin applying compost and other amendments recommended in our most recent soil test.  We'll be planting seedlings and seeds over the next several weeks.  Also underway is a make-over of the 4-H area of the garden and big plans are being finalized for the re-design of Bed 5 and the VegHeadz area in that garden. 

We've been concentrating on organic amendments this season, as our soil tests showed we were deficient in some elements.  As a result of our research and calculations, we've added several resources about fertilizing your garden to our list on the left side of this blog.  We hope they will assist you with your garden. 

We also welcome three new VegHeadz gardeners who have showed up with energy and dedication.  They are such a welcome addition to our faithful crew. 


Evelyn

Lynda


Jeanne

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Peppers, Peppers, Peppers


We've had a plethora of peppers this year in the VegHeadz garden.  They are so beautiful.  They range from mild to hot, hot.  Just thought we'd share some of the beauty with you. 

Permaculture Events Coming Up - All are Welcome


Permaculture structure at LuLuLand
There are a number of events coming up for those who want to learn more about permaculture.  They all look very interesting and include hands-on activities as well as opportunities to connect with others.  All are welcome.
October 1st - Garden Tower Workshop at Bless The Waters - 1311 Tom Still Rd. Tallahassee 32305
This is a great excuse to come visit the developing Bless The Waters Urban Permaculture Site as well as to participate in erecting two Garden Towers.  These towers are a terrific design for growing over 50 plants in a small space and using vermiculture to feed them.  Bring a seedling to install once the tower is up!  

We'll begin by 11 AM and likely run until 3 PM, weather dependent. Bring seedlings, snacks to share, and an open mind !

October 8 - Brains Brawn & Beauty - Women in Permaculture Workshop at LuLuLand - 4560 Charires Cross Rd Tallahassee 32317. 
This is a day long workshop focused on women's particular attributes and perspectives on healing ourselves & our planet through permaculture design.  Areas of discussion and demonstration will include:
        -  Breaking the Grass Ceiling
        -  Remembering women's contributions through history
        -  Communing with Nature
        -  Loving Self, Loving our Planet
        -  Beauty and Function in Permaculture Design
        -  Empowering women to design & build structures we need
        -  Using tools well - with special guest Bill Oterson (and perhaps another guest) 
        -  Working with your body's needs in mind
        -  Hands on building project (weather dependent)
        -  Building our social network
        -  Moving forward
Women of all ages welcome and needed.
We'll gather at 9 AM, begin the workshop at 10 AM and go into the evening.  Sun sets at 7 or so, and a fire can happen then if there is a desire stay longer to enjoy this for a while (weather dependent). .Bring chairs or blankets, food to share in potluck, Work gloves and clothing.  Donation of $20 suggested or trade in work time.

BIG EVENT COMING!!!  
North Florida Bio-Regional Permaculture Gathering  November 3, 4 & 5 at LuLuLand
All ages welcome!  We'll work wiuth parents to set up a special play and learn space for children.
Just interested in Permaculture and want to know more?  Come with an eager and open mind to learn and participate!

Think you are well versed in permaculture and still want to know more?  Come share your experience with others, learn more, and build our community!

This will be a camping out event at beautiful LuLuLand.  Of course, you don't have to camp here, but you would miss out on some of the adventure and fun!  Water and tea will be available, but food is bring your own & share as a potluck as you choose.  Having someone bring prepared food is a possibility if there are enough people who want that and are willing to pay in advance...you'll have to let us know if this is your preference.

There will be an entry fee, but teams will be needed to make this event happen and work time can be scholarshipped in lieu of entry fee.  Sign up ahead of time to be assigned to a team as more information details are released.  Team members will be encouraged to come on Thursday November 2nd to set up your personal camp and to get instructions and team building play time ahead of the event opening on the 3rd.

This is a fun and fullfilling permaculture opportunity for anyone seeking information about permaculture, how-to coverage of a multitude of subjects, hands on experience, interactive dialogue, inspiration, connection, relaxation, music  & FUN! 

 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Soil Solarization


Solarizing pathways in the VegHeadz  garden
Are you tired of pulling weeds, are insects demolishing your crops, do you suspect you are infested with nematodes?  One solution which lasts through a growing season is solarization. 

The VegHeadz garden has several patches of recurring nut sedge.  We've pulled, dug, covered with cardboard and mulch, all to no avail.  The nut sedge always prevails.  This is a good time of the year for solarization, so we're trying it on several patches in our walkways where the nut sedge is thickest and most persistent.  We'll keep you updated. 

Solarization consists of wetting the soil, covering the area in question with transparent plastic (ours is opaque even though the container said "clear"), sealing the edges, and leaving it to bake in the sun for six weeks.  If there are consistent days of sun for this period, much of the living matter under the plastic will be killed, including weeds, bugs, and nematodes.  For more information, access an excellent article at UF/IFAS on Soil Solarization.
Master Gardener Evelyn Gonzalez covers the edges of the plastic with
mulch to seal in the heat

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ancient Squash

Candy Roaster Squash
A friend gave me some seeds for Candy Roaster Squash.  I'd never heard of it.  I had some extra space at the neighborhood community garden, so I decided to plant them.  It's a good thing there was space, because the vines took over the garden.

As far as I can tell,  there was only one squash on the vine, but I'm not sure as the vines are so dense. 

This squash was almost five pounds and last night we roasted it for dinner.  We brushed it with olive oil and roasted for about 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it was done, we brushed it with butter melted with a little brown sugar.  It was delicious! 
With fresh creamed corn, white acre peas, sliced tomatoes and fried chicken, it was a great southern meal.

The Candy Roaster Squash is an heirloom grown for centuries by the Cherokee Indians.  I've saved some seeds, and plan to grow it again.


Even more interesting, Master Gardener Peggy McDonald recently posted an article on the VegHeadz Facebook page about another heirloom squash grown by Native Americans, the Gete-okosomin (translated "big old squash").  Gardeners in the Miami nation of Indiana have reportedly grown the squash for thousands of years.

The Gete-okosomin grows to 18 lbs. (some stories say up to 30 lbs.) and has smooth sweet flesh much like the Candy Roaster.  Both types can be used for pies, puddings, roasted, steamed, mashed, you name it.  The taste is similar to sweets potatoes or a sweet pumpkin.

The similarity between the two varieties is striking. 

Seeds for both types of squash are available at Bakers Seeds

Gete-okosomin Squash

Friday, July 21, 2017

July in the VegHeadz Garden

Perennial Edibles 1 -- Lemongrass, turmeric, culinary ginger,
roselle, sochan, Tahitian taro, Poke weed, arrowroot,
sugar cane

Perennial Edibles 2 -- Okinawa Spinach, Longevity Spinach,
Goji Berry, Naranjilla, Slippery Cabbage, Yacon,
Nopale, Cardamum,
As is typical for this time of year, some of our garden has played out.  The tomatoes are gone, as well as the squash and corn.  But the peppers, beans, herbs, and eggplants are hanging in there with almost daily rains.  The perennial edibles are also thriving.  We have had much fewer bug problems this year than in previous years.

Cover crops are being planted in spent areas.  This year we are using Sun Hemp, inoculated Pink Eye Peas, and Buckwheat to add organic matter and minerals to our soil.  Samples for soil tests in the various areas will be gathered next week.   

We're looking forward to planning an interesting and fun garden for the fall season.

Come visit us in the garden.  We are there almost every Wednesday morning. 

Sun Hemp cover crop in Bed A

Anise Hyssop was buzzing with
bees and wasps


Horticultural Assistant
Kelly Thomas trims an over-rambunctious
chayote vine that was shading the
kiwis

Loofah squash growing on
the arbor

The loofah has such interesting
leaves

Friday, June 16, 2017

VegHeadz Garden update


Veggies harvested last week
We wanted to show off our haul of veggies from the VegHeadz garden for the past couple of weeks.  All were delivered to the Homeless Shelter where Food Services Director, Bill Schack, says they use them in salads, soups, stir fries, and veggie lasagna.  We've donated over 120 lbs. of vegetables this year to help furnish healthy food for those in need. 

The bugs have been kind to us throughout this season.  We've seen some worms in cucumbers and squash, but very few stinkbugs, corn worms, squash borers, and the other usual suspects.  We're keeping our fingers crossed.  I'm sure Laurie's good supply of perennials which attract pollinators and predator bugs are playing a large part.

We've had plenty of tomatoes and peppers on our plants, so pollination isn't a factor, but few fruit on squash and cucumbers.  Just another garden mystery. 


This week's crop

Green Filet beans.  We've had a good crop this year
 
 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

VegHeadz Garden Update



I hadn't realized how long it has been since we've posted an update on the VegHeadz garden.   Spring planting is almost done and many crops are already growing. Preparations are underway to move some of our garden into a sunnier area in Bed 5 North of the present garden.   New design plans are underway for Bed 5 which is the tropical horticultural garden. Stay tuned for future developments.


Peggy, Mike, Larry, Cathy, Louie
This morning we welcomed  Master Gardener Larry Lesko back into the garden.   He brought by some large cardboard sheets for use in our mulching effort as we reclaim some of the new space from weeds and unwanted plants. We were delighted to see him.  Thanks for coming by and for the cardboard, Larry.  .

And while Larry isn't really a visitor, but a member of the VegHeadz who is on "furlough", we welcome visitors to the garden anytime.  We are working in the garden on most Wednesday mornings so stop by and see us.

Thanks to Peggy McDonald for the great pictures of the garden taken last week (see above and below).







Tomatoes growing on either side of the trellis
formerly occupied by spring peas


Potatoes

One of the 4-H beds - Kale and Peas, and another
bed behind it with a winter cover crop of clover

The kiwis we planted last fall are looking
good and climbing toward the
top of the pergola

We should have gotten the name of this tree.  It lives just North of our
garden in Bed 5, and is really showing off this month. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

VegHeadz Garden Happenings


Cathi W, Mike, Marie and Cathy A enjoying the hard work]
loading composted horse manure for our bins
Last week we replenished our compost bins with well-rotted horse manure mixed with hay and straw bedding.  We were able to get three loads thanks to VegHeadz volunteers and Nicki Francis of Happy Trails Horse Ranch.  Thanks Nicki! 
 
Based on a fall soil test, we are adding compost, greensand (for potassium and trace minerals), and peat moss and Sulphur (to lower pH), to our gardening beds.  Observing our plants and another test in the fall will let us know how well we did.
 
This week, we learned about using a broadfork.  We added the amendments above to the three A rows where Marie will be planting potatoes and green peas next week.  We left the clover cover crop in place, added the amendments and then worked down the row with the broadfork to partially incorporate the cover crop and amendments, and to aerate the soil.  Marie will be adding oak leaves as mulch after the plants come up.  It will be interesting to see how the potatoes and peas fare.  Visit our Facebook page to see Carole getting her morning workout on the broadfork.  It's heavy and requires some effort to lift the soil. 
 
Broadfork
We also moved a fence trellis into one row for the peas to grow on.  Marie is adding some cheap and creative trellises to another row.  We're thinking of all the visitors we hope to get at the Spring Open House, tentatively scheduled for May 13.  Hold a place on your calendar for this fun event and plant sale.
 
Lots of other plans are under way, including applying for a grant to re-fence the garden (a happy armadillo is making of mess of our pathways), and we can't grow lettuce without a secure cover as a creative creature (probably a rabbit), munches down the row until its gone.  Also under consideration is moving a portion of the garden into a sunnier location in Bed 5 which is just North of the garden. 
 
Welcome to new gardener Peggy McDonald who is one of the Master Gardening students in the new class just under way.  She is a real worker and a welcome addition to our crew.