This will be our group's third garden. For Fall 2009 we weren't all on the same page and it didn't matter. For Spring 2010 we weren't on the page and there was some discomfort.
For Fall 2010 it seems we need to do some more planning and agreement. I'm not sure how to do that. We are very loose but there are some strong opinions.
Just for the heck of it here are a couple of pics from today. The okra and herbs are still producing. Some bell peppers keep put out a few but they go bad quickly on the vine. Good old chard is still growing but I'm not sure who is eating it if anyone.
We had our planning meeting on our porch today. We only moved out into the sun and the yard when we had to. It went very well. In our group we have 4 individuals and then my wife and I. Two folks had other commitments but the two most knowledgeable folks were there. (I am not one of them.)
We decided to keep the Okra and Eggplants along with some herbs that are still growing. This year we have figured out that we don't want to plant winter squash, radishes or carrots. We're going to try to avoid the powdery mildew by planting squash further apart.
Try as I might I haven't been been able to convince folks to figure out Hyperlocavore so our communication this fall will be by email, phone and of course face to face in our front yard.
Our garden plan (made on the open source publishing program Scribus) is below. The odd shapes of some of the plots is the result of some of our group trying square foot gardening in the past. We don't have the energy in this heat to expand them to regular 8 x 8 plots. There are few inside jokes on the plan.
You have a really great group. Most winter squashes are planted about June, along with Summer squashes. Some people plant their pumpkins later, since they do not keep as well as do Winter squashes, and, in a lot of climates, the Winter squashes could be planted later--after peas come out and such.
Mildew can be controlled with 2 tsp dishwashing liquid and 3 Tbsp cannola oil, shaken together well in a quart of water--a really effective spray that I learned from another gardening blog. This seemed too strong for my muskmelons, though. Spray over the plants and get under the leaves, too. One treatment will last the season, but as new leaves develop and grow larger and larger, they need treatment. Watch for weather that fosters this mold: temperatures over about 72 degrees for about 12 hours, especially if the air is still. Even affected leaves can be somewhat productive once sprayed with this solution.
My biggest squash problem is squash bugs, but in my climate, they have two breeding cycles, so it does not help much to just delay planting to mid-Summer. I am about ready to buy some window screening, since I love having a stash of long-keeping Winter squash in an unheated room--to eat on until the next Spring. My neighbors just don't grow Winter squashes, and they replant their Summer squashes about 6 weeks after theie first group of plants. Some people use liquid Sevin. I have some Sevin dust, but if that blows onto sweaty arms, it can cause neurological problems--probably the liquid would do the same but is easier to control. Sevin has to be re-applied after each heavy dew or rain, which would be very, very often for me during the Fall.
Manure tea can be applied anytime the ground is not already soaking wet, especially if it is diluted. Too much nitrogen will affect seeds and seedlings, but I don't know how much is too much. My problem with lettuce is that is dries sometimes before it gets to sprouting, since it needs light to germinate. I don't cover it-just sprinkle it or slightly press it into the ground. Probably some clear plastic would help, but that holds in heat, and lettuce will not sprout at temperatures above 70 F. One type of lettuce can actually be covered--I think the butterheads.
Thanks for the information. We'll probably regroup for the spring and add some tea then. What part of the country are you in?
Liz I don't think we're the ones for a video.
We made it through the house tour. Several visitors to the house (next door) questioned how we got permission from the Historic Commission to put in a garden. The lady of the house just said, "Oh, its a community garden!" and that satisfied them. No further questions except at least one wanted to join.
We keep wondering if some busy body might try to put an end to our gardening using the historic commission but I think as long as we don't put in permanent beds and go merrily along our way that we don't need to worry about their approval.
It seems that those who want to manage other human beings have some real deficits in reality-awareness and basic knowledge. Government is designated to stop people from being mean to each other. When the governing people are the ignorant and somewhat mean ones, that is anarchy at the level of government.
Actually, pemanent beds might look more right and historic to some of the people! Ask !--and expect civil and informative conversation, at least eventually--after they go look up, and learn about, what they are being paid to take care of.
Going to city-council meetings and town-hall meetings is a lost practice. It harms the whole community when plenty of the public is not at these meetings.