Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Erin's Garden Journal - August 17–31

Wednesday August 31, 2016
5 volunteers


  • Watered
  • Cut off & bagged all squash and melon vines affected by powdery mildew—it is getting out of hand and we are trying to reduce the spread
  • Sprayed remaining healthy squash and melon leaves with a mixture of 40% milk and 60% water, shown in studies to be reasonably effective in preventing powdery mildew
  • Gave some naturally derived plant food to the squash and melons, hoping it will act like a vitamin does in humans and boost their immune system. Gave some to cauliflowers as well to encourage flowering—we've got many huge leaves but, like last year's broccoli before we fed it, no flowers.
  • Chopped & dropped cucumber vines, which are finished for the season. Trained healthy zucchini vines over trellis in their place.
  • Harvested cosmos and arugula seeds
  • Tomatoes—0.5 kg
  • Beans - 0.2 kg
  • Lettuce - 0.1 kg
  • Squash blossoms - 0.1 kg

Sunday August 28, 2016
19 attendees at the seed-saving workshop with Maria from the Toronto Seed Library. I won't spoil her future presentations by posting full notes, but here are some points I especially liked:
  • "Seeds make us love them." What a great quote. That's a perfect summary of the many, many ways seeds have evolved to make us spread them around, and we gardeners also have a specially compulsive love of seeds.
  • Leave dead vegetation in the garden until mid-spring; native bumblebees overwinter in it, and they are in far more danger of extinction than honeybees.
  • As we suspected, squash varieties cross pollinate and produce hybrid types all. the. time.
  • There is a native squash bee, since squash come from the Americas. The males' only home is squash blossoms!

We feel privileged to have had Maria in the garden, and to have had the opportunity to meet so many new gardeners in our area.

After the workshop, our committed volunteers and a few newly met friends watered, tidied up, and harvested:
  • Herbs - 0.1 kg
  • Beans - 0.2 kg
  • Tomatoes - 0.2 kg
  • Cucumbers - 0.6 kg
  • Lettuce - 0.3 kg
Wednesday August 24, 2016
3 volunteers, but none at the same time. During the first 45 minutes I:

  • Harvested the tomatoes that would have spoiled by Sunday (0.1 kg)
  • Sprayed a milk-and-water mixture on the squash vines to discourage spread of powdery mildew
  • Cut off vines already covered with powdery mildew until my lungs got so irritated I had to go home early. It turns out you can inhale the spores, and should probably cover your face if you have to deal with a bad outbreak. 

Monday August 22, 2016
Finally made and hung a proper sign for the worm composter indicating which compartment is currently active. 

Sunday August 21 2016
6 volunteers

Arugula seeds (later transferred to paper envelope)
  • Picked cosmos blooms for community breakfast tables
  • Harvested dill and arugula seeds
  • Pruned foliage affected by powdery mildew
  • Cleaned up litter

  • Arugula - 0.2 kg
  • Lettuce - 0.4 kg
  • Kale - 0.1 kg
  • Herbs - 0.3 kg
  • Beet greens - 0.2 kg
  • Tomatoes - 0.4 kg
  • Beans - 0.1 kg
  • Cucumbers - 2 kg
  • Squash - 1 kg

Friday August 19, 2016
Stopped by to check on the garden and I'm glad I did. Found a leaf of an apple tree half covered with caterpillar seeds. The photo is taken through the bag in which I sealed them. No caterpillars on our baby trees, please!

Wednesday August 17, 2016
6 volunteers

We were delighted to have a visit from Kelly Lui, who was a summer student employed at the Riverdale Hub this year. She has been working to lay the groundwork for a neighbourhood food security strategy. She's been gathering information about food justice groups in the area and dreaming of ways we can collaborate in the future. We are so happy to have ended up on Kelly's radar, because that sounds like a wonderful and needed idea.
  • The tomatillos are forming fruits!
  • A volunteer brought some banana pepper plants

  • Transplanted some tiny kale seedlings to a sunnier location
  • Pruned squash cucumber, and tomatoes to discourage more rampant growth
  • Picked up litter
  • Pruned dead branches in shrubs along garden edge


  • Squash - 1.5 kg
  • Cucumber - 1.75 kg
  • Tomatos - 0.4 kg
  • Herbs - 0.1 kg

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