Heather here,

I had to spray Serenade this week and get those tomatoes back in line with some more trellising–they’re sprawling all over the place like crazy. Some white flies moved in, which is very strange as they are usually a greenhouse pest. Reading up on the subject I’ve found you can vacuum them up. Something I think sounds awesome, but my cohort, Jody says, “Would you like to be vacuumed? I don’t think the plants will like that.” I have to think on that.

In any event, I pruned them back quite a bit to increase air flow and we’ll see if the white flies become too insane…they have not caused a lot of damage so far but I don’t want them to get out of hand. I might try neem oil. A participant was telling me that he uses it all over his beans and it helps a lot. I think it would be good to try first on the white flies before pyganic.

This week we had a local kids camp come out to work in the garden for the day and help us seed flats, harvest, and put up educational signs. We took a tour of the garden and learned a lot about plants and insects, eating edible flowers, tomatoes, and knocking on melons trying to guess if they were ready.

The kids loved running around the corn patch and thought it was funny when I explained the girl and boy parts of the corn plant. The kids were so into their corn that when we moved on to other activities they wanted to hold on to it and make sure no one took it.

There was a mystery winter squash here…I don’t remember planting it, whatever it is!

We had a bean-picking race (I was happy to be off bean duty) and squished bean beetle larvae. 

We grew a bed of basil, genovese and black opal, but have had trouble getting anyone interested in it at the food pantry–even when we had a basil day where we brought in pesto to try and a lot of recipe ideas. Bummer! I don’t want to give up yet on getting people on the basil train, because it is a green that grows through the heat that is SO good for you (vitamin K, magnesium, and special healing properties in all that essential oil), and you can freeze pesto and have green sauce all winter–I want people to like basil! But, we want to grow what people want to eat, too, so who knows. I am still thinking of good ideas to get people to try more produce. It was heartening though how excited the kids were to pick it and take some home. They all wanted a recipe/suggestions flyer and I hope they do cook with it with their families at home!

I love that while I’m talking about basil the kids in the back are playing with their corn…if vegetables are the distracting item I’m all for it. 

They are coming back next week so I’ll get the scoop and see if anyone else has converted to basil-loving!

I’ve been taking more pictures of garden plants and weeds at various growth stages, as well as garden insects, friends and foes, at different growth stages–we hope to put together a useful training tool using the photos.

I did some more site visits this week and gathered more video footage.

We whacked 3 watermelons open after looking for a withered tendril, yellow spot, and knocking on them, but every single one was underripe! I am wondering if the watermelon’s stem needs to be brown, not just the tendril across from it. I keep listening to watermelon thumping sounds on youtube and it is still hard for me to tell the difference. Does anyone have any sure-fire ways? I know cantaloupes should fall from the vine when you lift them up, and you should be able to smell the ends of the fruit, but I didn’t think you could do that with watermelon…hmm.

That’s it for now,