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!
What not to do…..
We are asking everyone to be good neighbors and keep the weeds in their plots and fences under control, However, leaving all the large and seedy weed debris in the pathways around your plot is not allowed. If your weeds are large enough or have gone to seed, please carry them back to the tall grass or remove them from the property.
Buried under all these weeds are melon or squash plants as well as tomatoes and peppers. This garden has been warned twice now and the garden committee will take it back this coming week if not completely cleaned up. We know it’s hard to keep squash and melon patches weeded but a little attention every week keeps this kind of inundation from happening!!
When we have to reclaim untended garden plots, the garden committee faces a lot of back breaking work to save what can be saved for the Food Bank and to try to prevent the weeds and seeds from damaging other plots.
A special thanks to all of you trying to keep up this year.
This watermelon vine snuck through the fence and grew to at least 8 inches in diameter while it’s owners took a short trip. That is a brave melon!! The mower is carefully avoiding it since the owners are pulling the weeds and grass out from around the melon.
Try to redirect your vines back into your garden area if possible. This one got out, set a watermelon and grew to this size in just a few days. It takes constant vigilance!
We have cooler temps and lower humidity forecast for the next couple of weeks. The gardens and gardeners will love that (as will those darn weeds) so hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor,
Finally, we are seeing more and more garden produce ready to harvest – tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, cucumbers, zucchini and even the sweet corn. The melons and squash are getting bigger and closer to harvest. And it’s almost time to replant the lettuces, kales, chards, radishes and other short season vegetables liking cooler weather. It’s still hot now, but the fall weather is perfect for many of these.
We also have weeds getting taller and going to seed. Garden rules require gardeners remove weeds and grasses before they reach six inches or go to seed. Also, rules require that those choosing to put up fences must keep the fences free of weeds and maintain a weed free buffer zone between the pathways and fence where the mower can’t go. If you pull weeds that have gone to seed, please remove them from the garden area and pathways,
Remember, every weed we let go to seed in our garden this year, is a hundred weeds we will have to pull next year.
Okay, this guy looks pretty scary and he was found in our gardens!!! We had a lengthy discussion on our Facebook page and decided it is a tomato hornworm which will become a sphinx moth (after it devours a tomato plant or two) which is a fascinating creature as well. Anyway, you can hand pick them off (they are BIG) or spray your plants with NEEM Oil. There are links to some other control ideas on our Facebook page. We’d love it if you posted your garden pictures on Facebook as well,
Weeding, Weeding, Weeding
We are all tired of weeds (and the garden committee nagging you about them) but it’s just another part of a gardeners’ life.
One of the reasons the garden plot rental fee went down this year is because so many garden plots were buried in weeds last summer and the pathways seldom mowed. We knew it would be an uphill battle this year for everyone as all last years weed seeds would be popping up this year. So the price break seemed only fair!!
It’s also why we are asking everyone to do their part this year at keeping their plots free of weeds and neat. Most of the plots look great though a few of the fences are harboring weeds!! We are mowing this weekend so it will be easy for everyone to see how close the mower can get to your fence and plot and see where you need to clear weeds.
No weed warnings this week. There are a couple of very weedy plots but we are relying on everyone to stop out and do their part!! It should be easier next year!!
We have lots of melons and other vine plants in the gardens this year. And more than a few wanderers. Remember, if you don’t redirect your vines back into the garden when they make a break for the pathways, they will be mowed off.
We are pulling together some information about vegetables and greens you can replant as summer progresses – fall crops when cooler weather returns!! Send us any info and ideas you have.