Oh how the garden grows!

August 3, 2013

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News Stories from the Garden

For most of July I was out of town for work, which not only explains why my posting on the NFI blog has slowed down, but also means that I didn’t have the opportunity to visit my garden plot for a month!
When I did finally make it up there, I was in awe! Even as I was parking my bike outside the fence, I noticed so much change. There had been no hibiscus blooming when I left. Now the bush is covered in blooms that are as big as my face! One fellow gardener’s patch of corn has shot up to over seven feet tall!
When I walked over to my plot, I was shocked to see how big the zucchini and bush beans had gotten, and how the tomato plants had really shot up. The cabbage family plants were ready for their final thinning, too.

I spoke to the gardener with the tall corn, which he was watering. I complimented him on how great it looked, but he told me that the birds and other pests were preventing it from bearing good fruit. “¿Qué se puede hacer usted?” I asked him. “No más que seguir cuidandolo,” he replied. I can’t do anything except to continue caring for it.
This approach to gardening seems similar that of Joe, our GEP instructor, who says that he tends to let certain pests “run their course,” trusting that the plants will survive in spite of them. I’ve taken that approach to my little plot as well. Early in the season, flea beatles had all but completely destroyed the leaves of my eggplants, but now that the season has passed, new growth has emerged on the plant and they look much healthier.
The cabbage leaves have a number of holes, but still taste great, and I’ve done my best to remove the insects from the green beans and corn.
Pests was a recent topic in the GEP Saturday classes. In order to prepare for class Joe sent out some videos produced by the University of Maryland. I thought they were informative and entertaining; maybe you will too:
So far, the harvest from my plot has included about 20 green beans, a handful of cherry tomatoes, quite a bit of basil and thyme, jalapenos and banana peppers, and tender cabbage and endive leaves (I ate the plants that I thinned out from the row). I can’t wait to see what else emerges… hopefully zucchini will be next!

Jenn Svetlik is grateful to be a member of NFI’s Garden Education Program for the 2013 season. She’ll be reflecting on the experience throughout the summer.
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