Early July, 2009

July 15, 2009

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News

For the last two weeks we have had plentiful sunshine and lots of volunteers (including two who biked to DC from New Orleans!). We held class number 7 where class participants learned how to identify and organically treat, plant diseases. We took a tour of all the garden plots, searching out examples of sick plants.

In early July we started working with a DC Green Corps Summer Youth Employment Program – SYEP, which has been really fun. They are there every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-2 and have done a fantastic job putting wood chips on paths throughout the garden, using straw to mulch our giant patch of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, and helping to plant the next round of crops. They will be out for the rest of July, so if you haven’t had a chance to come meet and work with them, you really should. Much thanks to them for all their hard work.

As you saw last month we spent lots of time harvesting and cutting bamboo, and we had a huge straw delivery. During the last two weeks it has been very rewarding to see how each fit in to give our garden a much more complete look. As anyone who spent hours weeding the tomatoes in June can attest, the straw mulch is saving us TONS of work by keeping our plants moist, and eliminating weed growth.

Class participants tour the garden gathering samples of diseased leaves and bugs in sandwich bags for identification.

They found examples of cucumbers infected with bacterial wilt, and a few tomato plants infected with the infamous Late Blight that’s been making the news lately. (Click here for more info on this serious disease!)

Luckily these plants were identified and eliminated, before the disease could spread to any other plots. It’s important that diseased plants not be put in the compost pile!!

Here, class coordinator Josh inspects the cucumbers before removing them.


We had two dump truck loads of wood chips delivered by the Park Service, and here the SYEP crew is spreading them out to create a solid surface around the garden’s group compost pile in an attempt to keep weeds out and allow easy access to managing our compost system.

SYEP folks used a handsaw to sharpen the ends of bamboo stakes, before pounding them into the ground and turning our tomato patch into a maze of 6 and 7 foot bamboo poles.

Bea threads a web of string to keep our tomato plants growing up and tangle free!

Below, volunteer and class participant, John, uses a heavy post-pounder to drive in stakes for our deer fence. In the background, volunteers weed the sweet-potatoes in preparation for laying drip irrigation tape.

Bea Rolls out the deer netting.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT! This will keep the deer from eating our yummy veggies!

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