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.
All Those Flowers
Hard to believe it’s July already and we have some hot and humid weather forecast for this coming week. Rain will be appreciated by everyone and especially by the gardens.
The sunflowers and other flowers in the east end garden plots are really taking off. The red sunflowers are starting to bloom as are the zinnias. There are more flowers to come!! The west sunflowers were planted later but are getting some growth now.
Thanks to everyone for trying to keep up with your garden weeds. We have some beautiful well kept plots. And some not so great. You may have noticed we had a few plots forfeited for not following garden weed rules, while others got to work and made a good start on clearing their plots of weeds. Still work to be done but we all know that gardening never ends!!
The Japanese beetles seem to have moved on. However, there is some evidence of squash bugs. You’ll find some info on dealing with squash bugs on the Garden Tips Page.
Several updates today and a request.
Weeds, Weeds, Weeds
We wanted to let everyone know that we have sent out a few weed warnings this week, Gardeners who receive a weed warning have 7 days to clean up their garden or lose it. So many have complained about the weed problems in years past that we are really trying to keep on top of the problems this year, It’s not fun when your plants are shaded by the neighbor’s weeds. We also some have some beautifully kept gardens this year. Its a pleasure to visit. In fact, we had a Master Gardener from Illinois visit over the weekend,
Parking, Oh My
Thanks to Lytishya Borglum and Liz Barron from the Garden Committee. They saw people backing into the gardens Saturday evening during Sturgis Falls. They stopped. Their kids helped them move benches to protect unfenced gardens. The kids even found some unused stakes that they pushed in to show where the plots were. And on top of that, they came back the next day to return the benches and stakes to their original locations. Thank you for going the extra mile.
Soil Solarization – Help
We have told you about plans to solarize plots that are unused. We have several more mid garden that will likely get plastic in the next week or so. HOWEVER, we have used most the rocks we found on the first three solarized plots. We are asking everyone to check their garages to see if you have any old scrap lumber we can use to hold the plastic in place. It doesn’t have to be big. Stuff like old molding pieces or unused garden stakes that we can lay on the edges and then anchor with coat hanger hooks. We’re afraid 2X4’s might get stolen. You can drop it off by the sunflower garden on the east end of the garden. Thanks.
Two New Garden Tips (Or Those Pesky Bugs)
We’ve seen Japanese Beetles and squash bugs, We have two new tips to deal with this without insecticides. See Garden Tips to learn about Fish Emulsion and Diatomaceous Earth. Both are inexpensive.
We’ve had some unusually hot weather the past week but many of the gardens are thriving with the watering and the rains. There are some great gardeners this year, Be sure to ask them for advice if you are new to gardening,
Also thriving are the weeds, We have several gardens in need of some serious weeding, Starting next week, we will be contacting gardeners who are in violation of the garden rules. Remember, weeds/grasses must be removed before they exceed 6 inches and/or go to seed.
It’s especially critical to get the weeds out of your squash and melon patches before the plants vine out too much. It’s so much easier on the plant and on you to clear the weeds now. You can’t just hoe down the row. It’s all bending and pulling!!
Also, be sure to redirect those squash and melon vines back into your garden if they head for the grass strips!! There are already a few escape artists showing their skills!!
Since it’s been soooo hot, we will allow gardeners who have not prepped/planted their plots until Monday, June 19th, to get their garden plots in order or the plots will be forfeited.
Did you notice the plots under plastic? We are solarizing these plots which is a great way to kill weeds, weed seeds and soil diseases. Any plots not prepped and planted by next Monday will also be solarized. Hopefully, we can solarize different plots each year until they have all gone ‘under the plastic.’
Registration is now closed. We ask that all plots be prepped and planted by June 15th or the plot will be forfeited.
Meanwhile, when mowing we noticed some really floppy fences, Please add some extra stakes. Also, we have a few fences not set in as suggested.. Remember, fences must be weed and grass free. Each gardener is responsible to clear weeds on the edges of their plot to where we can reach with the mower,
In all parts of your garden, weeds and grass should be removed before they reach 6 inches or go to seed. This years struggle will be next years weed free gardens!!
Please post pictures of your gardening activities on our Cedar Falls Community Gardens Facebook page, We have some new “Sunset at the Gardens” pictures.
Contact us if you have any questions or garden tips.
Great to see all the gardens getting prepped and planted the last week or so. The City of Cedar Falls is pleased with how neat and tidy things are so far. The wind storm cleanup slowed down their share of the mowing but they’ll get to us soon,
As the plants go in and seedlings emerge, we remind gardeners to keep an eye on the Garden Tips page for ideas on dealing with problems/pests – especially those unique to the Cedar Falls Community Gardens.
A reminder that wilt is common in the area and mulching tomato and pepper plants early can help by eliminating soil splash on the plants leaves. Neem Oil sprays may also help.
Squash Bugs have also been a problem. This year, Sevin powder is allowed to help control them and Neem Oil spray helps here as well.
Just be careful when you apply these to keep the Neem Oil spray and Sevin from blowing into a neighbor’s plot.
Do you have any good tips for our gardens?? Email and let us know. We’ll add it to the Tips page.