2017 Garden Update #13



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.

Coming Soon
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.


2017 Garden Update #12

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.


2017 Garden Update #11

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.

2017 Garden Update #10

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.’

2017 Gardens Update #9

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. 

2017 Garden Update #8

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.

2017 Garden Update #7

Registration Closing June 2nd

Still trying to decide if you want to garden this year??  Registration will close on Friday, June 2nd.  We have 3 plots still available.

Keeping Up with the Weeds

We’re approaching the critical season for weed maintenance.  A little hoeing and puling in the next few weeks will keep your garden cleaner and easier to care for all summer – especially of you are planting some vining plants like squash or pumpkins.  Keeping the edges of your plot tidy is also important so we can continue to mow as close as possible.

2017 Garden Update #6

We’ve added two new tips from your fellow gardeners to the Garden Tips page about soil quality and cutworms.

With the first holiday weekend of summer almost upon us, lots of you will be stopping out to work on your garden plot.  Seedlings are popping up in the plots planted so far.
Members of the gardens steering committee will be stopping in and out all weekend in case anyone has questions.  The grass strips in the gardens are freshly mowed and the City of Cedar Falls has complimented us on how neat and tidy the gardens look so far this year.
 A couple of quick reminders.
  1. If you find rocks in your garden, do not throw them out into the grass strips between plots.  This is damaging the mower.  You can carry them to the trees behind the garden area and tuck them in close to the tree trunks.  Clearing rocks from the area is an ongoing project since this used to be a residential area with crushed rock driveways.  We appreciate your help.
  2. Do not just toss the weeds and other garden debris into piles on the grass strips as you prep your garden space,.  Again, it makes it impossible to mow.  The City of Cedar Falls compost facility is less then 1/4 mile away off of E. Main street and is open until dusk  Bring a bag or bucket and swing by there to dump your debris.  This keeps down pests in the garden area as well.
 Please take a minute to review the Garden Rules.
For questions and concerns or if you have a Garden Tip to share with your fellow gardeners, email: gardener@cfcommunitygardens.org

2017 Gardens Upgate #5

Each day sees a few new gardeners getting their gardens prepped and planted.  The sooner you work over the tilled ground, the fewer weeds will pop up.  We encourage you to do a little prep work even if you aren’t ready to plant yet.

As fences start going up, we want to remind you that fences set in from the grass strips with a small trench on the outside will allow the mower to keep the edges clean and keep grass from growing into your fence and garden.  The wood mulch provided by the city and laid over a single sheet of newspaper will also minimize weeding chores.  See Garden Tips for more information.

According to the 2017 Garden Rules, each gardener is responsible to keep their fence clear of weeds and must keep the area outside the fence trimmed.  The trench and inset fence helps!!!

We will be closing registration soon so it’s time to decide if you plan to garden this year!!

2017 Garden Update #4

The City of Cedar Falls brought us two big loads of fresh wood mulch.  Check out the Garden Tips page to learn how free mulch and some old newspapers can keep help you keep your garden easy to weed and neat.  Both help discourage pests and keep your plants from having to compete for nutrients and water,

A few gardeners are getting underway,  Each day we see a little more work has been done by a gardener to prepare their plot for planting and the last few days a few plants have shown up.

Take a minute and refresh yourself on the Garden Rules this year.  They will be enforced.