Pardon the delay but I misplaced my camera this weekend and was just able to find it. Here are photos of one of the last visits before our mega harvest today. The bed looked great on Saturday. Weeds were sparse and a lot of what we grew looked ready to be harvested. Some of the leaves had holes in them, potentially from bugs or critters. The soil wasn’t too dry and the weather was ideal. The pumpkin grew quite large! All was well at the time of the last visit.
Happy to report the garden looks great. It hasn’t been very hot lately so the soil wasn’t too dry. There do not seem to be very many weeds around and each of the greens we planted seem to be growing comfortably. There’s been a good amount of growth since my last visit and it’s clear that a lot has been harvested.
On September 23rd, we had a special presentation from our guest artist, Ari Kletsky. He educated us about the unconventional use of traffic islands. Did you know that..
- …islands were developed before cars? Very ironic, because we think of them today only as traffic dividers.
- …islands are considered to be the freest place in the American city? There is a twist to this. Although they should be protected by the First Amendment, they have a very peculiar standing in the Constitution. Since islands are a free public space, you would think you could do almost anything on there right? Wrong. In Santa Monica, you can walk or run over a traffic island, but you cannot simply stand there.
- …the city considers the appearance of traffic islands a trivial issue? This should not be the case. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure we do the best that we can in order to make our neighborhood look nice. Guerilla gardening is not exacly encouraged–get permission from the city first. Be a good citizen and transform your traffic island into a piece of art.
Back to the Garden
It is our turn to be good citizens and care for our little community garden. So far, we have been doing a good job, but Florence Nishida returned and gave us some more tips to ensure that we have the healthiest garden possible.
- Add organic fertilizer. The soil appears to be drying out because of the hot weather we have been experiencing lately. Remember that aside from water, plants need plenty of nutrients to grow healthily. Also, keep in mind that the fertilizer concentrates in certain spots. It is very likely that the plants growing in areas with more amounts of fertilizer are growing much better. In order to ensure that all of our plants can be healthy, we must make sure the fertilizer is uniform throughout the garden.
- It is definitely best to maximize our production. Right now, we have our plants growing in separate rectangles, but it’s okay to spread them out in a nonuniform manner. This way, instead of wasting so much space on borders, we can grow as many plants as the space in the garden permits.
- Tie up plants with long stems. If we leave them hanging, they will shelter smaller plants, thus blocking them from sunlight.
- Some plants in the sun are dying because they are not receiving an adequate amount of water. when watering, we have to be sure they are getting more water than the plants in the shade because the moisture will evaporate more quickly out in the sun.
- We have recently been discussing transplanting. Florence has recommended that we wait until the plant’s true leaves have grown. The plants in the sun are at this stage already, but the ones in the shade still have their heart-shaped (seed) leaves. Once the longer set of leaves has grown in, we will know the plant will survive if it is transplanted.
- When transplanting, selectively pinch the plant with your fingernails or a pair of scissors. Be careful–don’t damage the roots! We already know that without roots, the plant cannot survive because it will starve.
- Increase space between the plants in case something goes wrong. That way, you won’t have to pry them apart once they are done growing.
- Although it appears as if the plants in the shade are doing much better, the opposite is true. The plants in the sun are smaller because they are receiving adequate sunlight. If you notice, they do not have as many seed leaves as the plants in the shade. However, the plants in the shade have to stretch in order to receive solar energy, which gives them a larger appearance. So, even though they look a lot healthier, they really aren’t.
- Be careful when stepping on the garden bed! You don’t want to destroy the environment needed for the plants to grow adequately.
- You don’t have to wait till the plants are huge. In fact, picking and trimming the leaves will be better for it.
Hope this was helpful!
The plants look healthy! It seems that the portion of the garden that is closest to the house is thriving better, perhaps due to shade and moisture (it is lower in hight as well). Nevertheless, we are getting sprouting from all plots on the garden, which is exciting.
Shishito looked healthy, the Bok Choy looked a little dry so I gave it extra water. I think part of it has to do with the fact that we built reservoirs around the Shishitos but didn’t for the Bok Choy, which also probably absorbs a lot more water. Speaking of water, that faucet sprays everywhere when turned on and takes a while to stop spraying after it is turned off but that isn’t really a huge problem.
I believe this picture sums it all up:
4:30pm Monday afternoon the moisture in the ground had all but evaporated. I watered each plant, filling the moat slowly up to the top and then letting the ground absorb the water. The plants were watered enough with the assumption that it would be hot and sunny the following day.
However Tuesday morning came with cloudy weather, and most of the moisture from the watering remained in place. It follows to keep weather forecasts in mind as the garden is being watered, though it hardly ever rains here.
The sky was overcast again and there was no sunlight at all when I went to water the garden today. There appears to be no sign of new plant growth since we planted the seeds yesterday. However, the part of the hose that connects to the water spigot sprayed large jets of water no matter how tightly I screwed it to the spigot. Turning the hose on and off was a bit of a problem.
I am posting the schedule of waterers, with a few guidelines about watering. It’s really important that the plants get enough water. Also, if anything seems awry, that you let me know.
Basic steps: get hose, attach hose, water with hose; water anything you can’t reach w/the hose w/a jug. Disconnect hose, roll up, and put back. Do your writeup and post. Voilà.
hose: the hose is coiled up, with the nozzle on, by the side of the house, between the plot and the faucet. please return it there–it’s kept out of sight, but accessible. it MAY not reach the far end of the plot, in which case you’ll want to use the water jug to get the last plant or 2. (that’s another reason why the hose is off the faucet.) I left the nozzle on “shower,” I think. you can experiment, but the goal is to basically approximate rain, and especially not to batter the plants with high-pressure intensity.
plants: water all the plants, including the sunflowers and (remaining) pumpkins, not just the ones we planted. plants still need water, even if they pre-existed us…
amount of water: when you turn the hose on, do it just partway. It seems like the faucet is a bit wonky, and will spray. I’ll try to get someone to fix it. But if it gets worse, let me know…Water until the soil is saturated and good and wet up the first joint of your knuckle (just like a rice cooker…coincidence?). It may be more effective to water each plant a little several times, in a circuit, rather than waiting for the water to sink in, and watering more.