Gardens are starting to go in. Exciting!
The tilling was deeper this year but because the City uses large equipment, the edges are messy. Using your hoes, rakes and shovels to even out and clean up the edges will help the garden mower get closer to your garden edges and reduce the weeds sneaking in that you will have to pull to maintain clean edges. Win Win for both!!
Reminder. When you find rocks in your plot, carry them to the base of the trees. DO NOT leave them in the pathways. We had to buy a new mower this year because of rock damage to the current one. Also, remember that we have asked that any bird netting or other plastic/nylon crop covers be firmly anchored at least 15 inches above ground level to protect the mower. Metal fences need to be set in 4 or 5 inches from the tilled edge. Tunnel covers need to be set back 6 inches from edge of the plot and be sure the strings are pulled in!
Replacing equipment yearly will force rent increases in the future. Let’s work together and keep future costs down. It’s for the good of the community!
And if you leave tools in the pathways, they’ll be moved to the base of the tree at the east end of the garden. You can reclaim them there.
The gardens look lovely. First picture of the year. No weeds…yet And no plants…..yet But we know the gardeners will be flocking out soon and starting the season. Gardens will be open on May 6th.
Make your plans now! Each plot is 10 by 20 foot. Several gardeners have rented more than one plot. And all these gardeners are thinking through what they hope to grow and how much they can fit in. Still thinking about getting a plot for this season? A few plots are still open. Reserve one today.
The Cedar Falls Farmers Market also opens this weekend on Saturday from 8:30 to noon at Overman Park. Check them out on Facebook. A number of vendors will be offering vegetable plants for sale. And there will be other delicious and fun things to buy as well. Several local food trucks will be set up for food options. Check it out.
The parks department was out to till the gardens this week. They look great and so Sunday the 6th seems as good a day as any to open the gardens. I must add, however, that while they are open, this weather is still an issue. I suspect things will be too wet even through this weekend and, as we all know, one of the last things one wants in gardening is to compact the soil. But–it is everyone’s choice.
Plot Assignments are here A few words of explanation. We are gardening from row 10 on the west side to 26 on the east side. 10 and 26 are reserved for flowers. Each row from 11 to 25 is divided into 4 10×20 plots. A and b are on the street or south side and on the north or treed side after the walkway are c and d. We have around 18 gardeners and 40 or so plots rented. That leaves about 18 or so plots open. If you know someone who might be interested, please tell them space is available. They can reserve a plot here. Finally, I will have small flags in place by Sunday morning that have the plot row number and letter and the name of the person renting that plot(s).
A few other comments. If you have not done so, please read the garden rules. Last year we were pretty strict about, especially, the issue of plots going to weed. This made a real difference in terms of the weed problems that had almost taken over the gardens. I think another year or two of being tough on the weeds can get us to the point where weeding will be a minor nuisance, not the burden it has been in the recent past.
I will be mowing the perimeter and walkways again this year. The City mows the rest for us. I would like all of you, especially if putting up a fence, to place the fence about 4 or 5 inches into the garden plot from the tilled edges. This allows me to mow right up the the fence and mitigate the migration of weeds into your garden area. The weeds cannot be stopped, but they can be discouraged from creeping into and getting entangled in the fence. Also, last year some people used nylon bird netting to cover some crops. I have no problem with that except to ask that the netting be kept at least 15 or so inches off the ground. That stuff tends to come loose and sag to ground level where it is very difficult to see when mowing. Last year the mower grabbed a loose end about 3 or 4 times. It was quite a chore to untangle it from the blades.
If it’s Not One Thing,,,
We may once again be the victim of a two legged bandit. Our mower spotted a woman he had never seen out at the gardens picking a melon in one patch then moving to another belonging to a different gardener and picking flowers there. She was approached and said her friend was on vacation and had told her to pick what she wanted We checked and the plot owner was NOT on vacation.
The car plate and description of car and driver have been reported to the police and they are on the lookout for our bandit. The garden will also receive extra attention from the Cedar Falls Police again since we had another report a day earlier about an unfamiliar man on a dirt bike picking from plots belonging to different people.
Keep your eyes peeled and get license plates if you see someone you don’t recognize or traveling through several plots.
Four Legged Bandit Update
Meanwhile, the gardens are freshly mowed and looking nice, Lots of tomatoes and peppers though the squash and melon are suffering from the groundhogs, We did put red pepper spray around both dens we have found so far. If anyone has a live trap or knows someone who does, please let us know.
The cooler weather the last few weeks has been welcome but it is very dry and we see many of you have been watering when you come out to harvest.
Remember when you water, the weeds grow as well as the plants and veggies. Take a minute to clean up in your area when you stop out. As we mentioned in the previous post, our groundhog visitors like the cover of thick and/or tall plantings. Weeds help them as well.
After Labor Day, we need to start planning for fall garden cleanup. Take some time to come up with ideas on how we can work together to haul all the debris over to the compost facility and let us know. The City has indicated they would consider a fall tilling if we get everything torn down and cleared out this year.
Punxsutawney Phil Comes to Cedar Falls
Once again we have visitors. This time, it appears to be the four legged variety – groundhogs!!! This is Nazareth Lutheran’s melon patch. Not much left for the humans!!
We also found a den at the other end of the garden. Apparently they like areas near brush piles though we got rid of those this year. They also like taller plants or thickly planted areas that give them cover so we think the sweet corn patches may be one of the attractions.
Here is some basic info on groundhogs:
And info on keeping them away:
If you see them in your plot, \you can try red pepper spray or dry pellets like Critter Ridder. Next year we will look into live traps.
If you have any ideas for your fellow gardeners, email us!!
The gardens were hit once again by 2 legged bandits. This time there was a witness and the police were able warn off the perpetrators. Some of you were able to reclaim your produce that was picked and left behind. Some weren’t so lucky.
However, the day after the theft, one of our gardeners mysteriously found some of the missing produce set back in their plot. Unfortunately, it was picked before it was ripe so it is unlikely to be edible.
Our thanks to an observant gardener and to the Cedar Falls police for taking the report.
For those of you who lost produce, we all understand how frustrating that can be!!!!
Meanwhile the four legged bandits have their eyes on the sweet corn. Be sure to check and pick daily if you are growing corn!
We are making progress on getting the weeds out of the garden areas but there is still room for improvement. The button weed shown above is an example of what we really hate to see in our gardens. This weed is in one of the gardens and stands over 5 foot tall. There are several more of those seed pods on the plant not shown in the photo. Each will create hundreds of new weeds to be pulled next year. The gardener has been warned and is making progress on cleaning up their plot.
We asked that large weeds and those going to seed be removed from the property or carried back in to the tall grass. We meant the grass areas where the grass is over a foot tall – not the mowed areas for the first 40 or 50 feet behind the gardens.
Well, maybe not famous, but both the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier and KWWL TV have covered the Case of the Missing Onions. We hope the publicity will let our bandit know we are watching as are the Cedar Falls Police.
The Courier article ran last night, Here’s a link to the Courier article: http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/the-onion-field-cedar-falls-garden-group-cries-foul-over/article_45da9e07-dc74-5048-82b3-1f0262a71342.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share Thanks to the Courier. We appreciate the coverage.
KWWL came out to the gardens this morning between rain showers and interviewed Lytishya and Dennis. That story will run during the morning news tomorrow. Amanda from KWWL plans to do an on-air standup out at the garden early tomorrow. Thanks to KWWL as well for all your help.
More than Onions
Gardeners are missing more than onions. Several watermelons have vanished from one gardener’s plots. He wants to warn the thief that the melons are not ripe yet and they would be wiser to wait a few more weeks. Please keep your eyes peeled everyone. And let us know.
Four Legged Friends
Also, the raccoons and deer may have discovered the sweet corn. Gardeners beware!! Pick it the minute it’s ready!!
The Case of the Missing Onions
Apparently sometime late yesterday afternoon or early evening, a bandit interested in onions struck the Cedar Falls Community Gardens. The first report came from a garden what is covered on all sides and over the top with bird netting. Half of the gardeners’ row of onions were totally missing, no debris, just holes in the ground and the netting was intact!! Next door, the onions were also picked over though there are outer onion skins laying at the edge of the garden.
While investigating this morning, the committee spoke with another nearby neighbor of the original victim and they were also missing onions and perhaps a nearly ripe tomato or two, A garden walk though found a few other plots where you could see recent onion pulls in rows. We’re not sure if a garden owner was harvesting or if our bandit is gleaning across the whole area!!
The evidence so far seems to indicate we may have a two legged bandit as the deer and raccoons are not so selective or so neat,
The Wonderful Boys in Blue
The City of Cedar Falls Police will be driving by and keeping an eye out for unusual activity. Thank them if you see them!!!
More What Not to Do…
We hate being bossy but the garden rules are written and enforced to ensure the gardens are managed properly and one garden does not negatively impact other gardeners.
Here’s a few more reminders.
The trash barrel by the sign is for trash – not for weeds and plant materials!!
Please remove your bigger and seedy weeds and other plant debris from the garden by dropping it off at the compost facility over on Main Street or spreading it out in the tall grass back behind the garden. You can also spread it out in the holes near the entry drives (maybe not those over gown cucumbers and zucchini – just grass and weeds). We’ll be mulching that area down in a few weeks.
Don’t pile your plant debris under the trees that are 20 to 40 feet behind the gardens. Don’t leave large piles in the common pathways. Both of these bad habits draw pests into the garden areas. Remember this is a community garden, not your back yard.
Fall Clean Up Preparations
We have asked the City of Cedar Falls if they will be able to pick up a plant debris pile this fall when we are all cleaning out our garden plots for the end of the season. We’ll keep you posted on if they agree and where the pile will be located if allowed. This would be plants only. All netting, fencing, posts, trellises and similar will need to be removed from the garden site for the winter.
This fine watermelon has had a nibble or two by the deer but may still be edible?? We wondered if it is supposed to get even bigger since it is already a good foot in diameter! It has some little brothers and sisters as well. Good Work!