The Climate Friendly Gardener

Save the Date: April 20
The Climate Friendly Gardener
10 to 12:30 at the Cinema Arts Centre
Honor Earth Day by learning how to combat global warming in your home landscape and vegetable garden. The program begins with the award-winning documentary, dirt!, followed by practical tips from Tamson Yeh of Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Cinema Arts Centre 423 Park Avenue, Huntington. Sponsored by Gateway Community Garden with support from the Townwide Fund of Huntington.
$7 for Cinema members, $12 for non-members. Gateway Gardeners free with advance sign-up at FrancesWhittelsey@gmail.com
 

Beginner’s Guide To Seed Saving

Everything you need to know to get a repeat performance of your favorite edibles next year without ever buying new seeds again.

If left to them their own devices, fleshy fruits naturally fall to the earth, where some of their seeds sprout when spring arrives again. Saving seeds from these plants mimics nature’s way—and it’s not at all difficult to do. But remember that only seeds from open-pollinated, not hybrid, plants will produce the same crop next year. (The packet that the original seeds arrived in will tell you whether the variety is open-pollinated or hybrid.)

read full article

Long Island Seed Company

Salt of the Earth Seed Company is unique because the seeds we sell you come from our own farm, Invincible Summer Farms. The seed is in turn used by our farm in fresh production. We go through a rigorous trialling period before things go into seed production.

We are pleased to be offering our heirloom tomato, eggplant and pepper plants once again!

Our customers include the finest restaurants in the NYC area with critically acclaimed chefs, so we can vouch for the high quality of both our seeds and produce.

All our seed is open pollinated or heirloom and made to be freely shared and improved upon as humans have been doing for centuries. We are sustainable from seed to fork!

All seed we offer is currently being grown by Invincible Summer Farms in Southold, NY. Future partnerships with other seed producers will also have farm of origin labels because we believe you should know exactly where your seed is coming from.

Salt of the Earth Seed Company collaborates with the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium to educate, advocate and foster our local seed system.

Colorado Potato Beatles

Colorado Potato beatles have been spotted in the garden eating tomatillo plants!

I am attaching a link from the U of minnesota extension P
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/colorado-potato-beetles/

Physical

Handpicking, especially in small gardens, can be effective. Drop adults and larvae in a pail filled with soapy water. Also remove or crush the yellowish orange eggs on the underside of leaves. New adult beetles can fly into gardens so be sure to check your potatoes regularly. Handpicking may be less practical in larger gardens.

Biological

There are few natural enemies of the Colorado potato beetle. Stink bugs and lady beetles will prey upon Colorado potato beetle eggs, and the fungus Beauveria bassiana will kill both larvae and adults. However, natural enemies will have little impact on overall Colorado potato beetle numbers.

Barbara

 

Vertical Growing, French Marigolds, and Solutions to Ant Hills

Below is a list of the various types of netting and clips demonstrated in the Vertical Growing Workshop.  Be creative and don’t be afraid to try something new to get those crops up off the ground.  Home depot has a variety of up posts that will suit your particular needs.
Johnny’s Tomato Clips
100 for $9.15
Trellinet (substitute for HortaNova Net)
6.5 feet x 30 feet
$17.95
Trellis Plus
5 Feet x 60 Feet
$22.50
HortaNova Net
79 inches X 250 feet
 
Here’s a link to info on French Marigolds, whose role in companion planting is said to repel the dreaded Mexican Bean Beetle.
 
Ants in your Garden Bed?
Been doing some reading and ants (unless they are fire ants ) are generally beneficials.  Ants like warm dry places, so giving your soil a good soak should relocate them elsewhere without harming them.  Mint leaves crumbled over the soil also might work.
Some more reading material can be found here.
 
 Regina Dlugokencky

Problem with Spinach, Chard, Beets

Many of you have expressed concern over your spinach plants that appear to be drying out. I’ve done a little research and it looks like what we have here is a Spinach leaf miner.  Removing infected leaves prevents the larvae from pupating, burrowing in to the soil and returning later as egg-laying adults, which starts the cycle of damage over again.  This will be especially in important for long-standing plants like Swiss Chard.
In short, the eggs (white fleck on the underside of leaves) are the eggs of the Spinach Leafminer Fly, and once hatched feed on the tissue within the leaf. hence the name ‘leaf miner.” “The maggots feed between the upper and lower leaf surfaces of the host plants mining out the tissue in between. As the maggot grows, the mines coalesce with others and blotches are seen on the affected leaves. It is not unusual for several larvae to be in the same leaf”
If you have the time an inclination, crushing those eggs on the undersides of leaves will limit hatching.
Management from Cornell University is as follows:
Management: Because this insect overwinters as a puparium in the soil near where the crop was infested the previous year, crop rotation should be practiced especially if one tries to mechanically protect plants from this insect. Cover plants with fine netting or cheesecloth or floating row covers to protect them from adult egg-laying flies. Netting will not keep out insects that are already in the soil. Be sure that the edges of the row cover are well anchored so insects cannot get under them. The protective covering should be placed over the crop at planting time and, with spinach, might be left on until ready to harvest. Hand pick and destroy infested mined leaves when first seen before the larvae drop to the soil will help control the leafminers. If leaves are just placed on a compost pile, fly larvae might continue to develop and emerge as adults to reinfest crops.”
Control weeds. Destroying the insects’ wild food plants should also be helpful in reducing the numbers of leafminers. This includes lamb’s-quarters, chickweed and nightshade in and around the garden Control in beets: Beets are typically not sprayed for leafminers except if leaves intended for consumption are infested. Use horticultural oil, or neem oil. Some products require a longer number of days between application and harvest; check labels.
Control in spinach: If needed when mines appear and, if necessary, at seven-day intervals thereafter (check label directions), apply neem oil, or spinosad.
Note: a multipurpose product with insecticidal soap and sulfur should not be used as noted on the label; it damages spinach. 
I hope this is helpful….
Regina Dlugokencky
UPDATE
Spinosad will do less leaf damage then Neem. It is available labeled for other insects. I use Bonide’s Organic Potato Beetle spray available at Home Depot. Spinosad is made from the residue from bacteria in the production of Rum and is safe to use up to harvest. If you use Neem, spray it on a few test leaves to see if it affects the leaf and makes them unpalatable.

Larry Foglia


Leafminer_Eggs
Eggs on underside of plants
Chard_Damage
Damage on Chard
Leafminer_Fly

Leafminer Fly

How To Grow Vegetables In Containers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Many people have neither the time nor the space for a vegetable garden. But nearly everyone has at least a sunny windowsill, indoor or outdoor spot where you can grow something fresh and delicious. In fact, Gateway Gardens and groups like Long Island Food Not Bombs share the mission of encouraging everyone to grow some food for themselves. In the case of Food Not Bombs, volunteers grow seedlings to give away to people at weekly food-sharing events in Hempstead, Huntington and Farmingville.

That’s a great idea, but while you can grow some lettuce or spinach in a half-gallon milk carton, you need a 10-gallon container like a garbage can for a zucchini.  So it’s important to understand what size different vegetables need; otherwise, the seedling will go to waste.

But bear in mind that the containers can be absolutely anything. In fact, you can cut an X in the plastic bag containing a commercial potting mix and plant your seedling right in the bag!

Vegetables for Small & Medium Containers
The vegetables that can make it in the smallest containers, besides lettuce and spinach, include radishes (which grow really fast) and green onions. A dwarf tomato plant needs about a two-gallon container, and that could be a plastic bucket or even a dishpan.

Five to 8 gallon buckets, garbage cans or flowerpots can hold larger quantities of the smaller vegetables and be used for carrots, beets and eggplant as well.

Important: Remember to put drainage holes in all containers and some bark or stones or something similar in the bottom to keep the soil from staying too wet.

Vegetables For Large Containers
For vegetables that grow on vines, like squashes, and others such as cabbage, full-size tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts, you need a 10-20 gallon container. Consider laundry baskets, old Styrofoam coolers, garbage cans, etc. You can get more than one kind of vegetable from a large container. For example, you could plant lettuce or spinach all around a couple of zucchini or a full-size tomato. When the weather gets warm and the tomato starts to get big, you’ll already have harvested the cool-weather loving lettuce.

Soil: A Long-Term Investment
The seedlings, of course, need soil to grown in, and you should regard the soil as a long-term investment. Don’t try to use soil you dig up from outside. Use a commercial potting mix either with topsoil and compost already in it, or purchase sterile topsoil and sterile compost to add to the potting mix. You can reuse your soil for years by just adding some compost to it next year and for years after.

More Information
Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County has lots more expert information about container farming. Follow this link to find it.