Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
11 August 2016
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To pick up discarded food from Whole Foods to deliver to Sunshine compost piles where another of our members will empty the boxes and deal with that part of the job. Every Tuesday and/or Thursday, 6AM, from the downtown Whole Foods at 6th and Lamar. Both days are available and multiple volunteers could make it work again.
This requires a truck/SUV/station wagon and strength to pick up boxes of food that Whole Foods will no longer sell. One of our members did this job for 15 years on the Thursday and is willing to answer questions and even go with you the first time.
Please contact Janet Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Fall Plant Sale!
Dates for our Fall Plant Sale benefitting TSBVI Horticulture Department (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired) will held on the following dates:
- Thurs, Sept. 22, 10-1
- Fri, Sept 23, 10-1
- Sat, Sept 24, 9-2
Featured is a large selection of organic, hard-to-find varieties of Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage and more!
Descriptions and pictures of transplants.
|Bok Choy||Tatsoi Rosette|
|Broccoli||Hon Tsai Tai|
|Early Jersey Wakefield|
|Premium Late Flat Dutch|
|Purple of Sicily|
|Collard Greens||Morris Heading|
|Rouge d' Hiver|
|Mustard Greens||Red Giant|
|Swiss Chard||Bright Lights|
|Annual||Pansy Swiss Giant|
|Viola Helen Mount|
|Copper Canyon Daisy|
Monarchs & Milkweed
-- Article written by Margaret Powis
The Monarch butterfly is in danger and the numbers have been dropping over several decades. At present it is thought that one problem is the lack of food for them. They need Milkweed to lay their eggs on and for the caterpillars to feed on. Unfortunately the roadsides and wild areas are being depleted of milkweed so they are loosing their habitat rapidly. Add to that the use of pesticides (which is probably going to be more prevalent if the Zika virus continues to spread), and the result is that the butterflies are under a tremendous strain.
The life cycle of a Monarch is fascinating. Monarch butterflies go through four stages during the cycle, the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult. In one year there will be four generations.
- Generation I
- In stage 1, February/March, Monarchs will mate and then migrate (sometimes from around Morelia, Mexico), north and east to find a place to lay eggs.
- In stage 2, March/April, the females lay eggs on milkweed plants. After four days they hatch into caterpillars. The caterpillars eat the milkweed leaves, and after two weeks the caterpillars will be full-grown.
- Stage 3, they will find a place to attach themselves and undergo their metamorphosis.
- Stage 4, in about ten days the pupa will hatch and the adult Monarch will fly away and lay more eggs. The butterfly has about 2-6 weeks before it lays eggs and dies.
- Generation 2 is born in May/June and follows the pattern of the previous generation.
- Generation 3 is born in July/August and will do the same.
- Generation 4 is born in Sept/Oct and follows the pattern of previous generations except it does not die after 2-6 weeks. Instead this generation migrates back to warmer climates such as Mexico and California and will live for 6-8 months until it is time to start again. These tiny creatures cover immense distances from the northern US sometimes into Canada back to central Mexico. It takes four generations to accomplish this but somehow they return to the same spot their great grandparents started the journey. Part of their migration route runs right through Central Texas.
All gardeners can help by planting milkweed for them. I have planted Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) in my garden and it reseeds prolifically. You may in fact have some seedlings popping up from my garden. If you have room hang on to them and you will get Monarchs stopping by. I had about six Monarchs in my garden on August 5th. There has been discussion about the type of milkweed that should be used. However, the situation is so dire now that it is felt that tropical milkweed is much better than no milkweed. In addition, as the butterflies originate in Mexico it is a plant they are familiar with.
My understanding is that the native milkweeds are harder to get to germinate and harder to establish, but if you wish to try the following are recommended for the Austin area: Asclepias asperula (antelope horns), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed). The recommended seed supplier is American Native Seeds, in Junction, TX. There is sometimes a variety called Butterfly weed in local nurseries that is not in fact Butterfly weed. The way to tell is to break off (without anyone watching) a little piece and there should be milky sap coming from the stem. If you get clear liquid don't get it for butterfly food. The white sap contains a poison that the butterflies need to ingest to stop predators from eating them. With more milkweed planted, especially in areas where there is no spraying for insects, perhaps we can do a little bit to help these beautiful insects survive.
2016 Tomato Survey Results - Thanks to everyone who responded!
When did you plant your tomatoes?
- March 10
- March 19
- March 13
- Staggered planting, between February 14th and March 14th
- A few days after the sale.
- the week of the plant sale
- About 2 weeks after the Plant Sale, so mid to late March.
- March 7
- March - one week after the plant sale
How did you fertilize your tomatoes?
- Turkey Compost - Mr Gobler
- Farm style compost from Natural Gardener. Missed out on the compost provided by SCG because back pain curtailed my activities greatly.
- Compost, compost tea, eggshells (for calcium), greensand
- Hasta grow by medina
- 8-2-4; Seaweed, Horticulture molasses, Fish Emulsion, Mycorrahaze,
- I did not fertilize my tomatoes
- Jobes Organic Fertilizer- formulated for vegetables
- John Dromgoole garden mix
- Rabbit poop
Did you use Compost tea?
- Yes - 6
- No - 6
What kind of mulch did you use?
- Pine Needles - 1
- Leaves - 4
- Compost - 1
- Turkey Compost & Leaves - 1
- Newspaper & Leaves - 1
- Purchases at plant sale - 1
- None - 3
What would you NOT plant again?
- Not so many cherry's. Too many to pick.
- Rebeka Allen. Very poor production
- Blueberry, a cherry tomato. Didn't like the taste.
- Basrawya. Bought it accidentally reaching to the floor in a dark tent trying to get Azoychka. Got maybe 3 or 4 fruits off it all season, disappointing producer.
- Probably won't do Azoychka or creme sausage again because they have mild flavor and I like rich and spicy. Super marzano has been good in the past, but this year were small, dry inside, and often misshapen; also fewer fruits I think.
- Yellow plum - not a good producer
- Cherokee Purple. skin is too soft and birds love to peck it. I need tomatoes that store well for our food pantry. I might plant one bush for personal use however.
- I would not plant Cherokee Purples again, or I would seek advice from a more senior gardener, because my plant only produce 2 tomatoes all summer, one of which was devoured by some sort of critter.
What would you plant again?
- My new favorite was draft cherry surprise. Good taste, very early, and great production
- Black krim, because I had no Cherokee purple.
- Black cherry
- Bella Rosa first, then Celebrity.
- Garden peach
- Sun Golds! They did wonderfully, almost too wonderfully, taking over most of my quarter plot.
- Purple Cherokee
- Yellow brandywune but I didn't get more than 5
- Johnnys seed artisan
What will you do next year?
- Plant them on the south side of the garden so they don't shade the other plants.
- Always plant some Celebrity and Stupice.
- Work on my soil. It had fair tilth at planting time, but it is really spent now.
- Plant early using the water jug 'heat battery' technique
- The same things I did this year
- Protect the tomatoes with more cover from the wind.
- Next year I'll make sure to plant Sun Golds with plenty of room and a big enough cage to grow - it sprawled quickly. I also will make sure to control suckers on all plants - as a first-timer my plants got out of hand quickly this year.
- Next year I think I will do less tomato plants and focus on only growing the ones I can eat the most of. I really enjoy snacking on cherry tomatoes so I will do purple cherokee and maybe experiment with a few other varieties.
- More tea.
- I had grown my own from seed in my garage and was thrilled with them. Until I lost almost all in the freeze.
What will you not do again next year?
- Not plant them so close together. They got gigantic and it was really difficult to pick.
- Neglect to water often enough after the rains stop.
- I will be sure to not plant my tomatoes too close together next time
- Don't wrap my cages in black plastic to protect them from the wind. It made them very spindly
- Plant too soon.
- Not mulch.
- I will not wait to plant my tomatoes, but will plant immediately upon purchase. I think waiting 2 weeks may have been the reason my Cherokee Purples did not produce much.
- Plant tomatoes just to fill out space in my plot. Focus on growing a wider variety of spring crops
- Wait to cage- have cages ready on same day!
- Better protect from the freeze. I lost all but three that I'd planted and ended up grabbing leftovers from the sale in the greenhouse. It was a disastrous year for my garden and tomatoes
Festival Beach Garden Celebration
I hope you have had a fun summer. Just checking in today to invite you to a garden performance at Festival Beach Garden this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. I am going to be presenting a celebration of Nature and Gardens, with music by Bucolics Anon with Thom the World poet, and some people giving short talks about gardening and farming. Details attached. Hope you can make it.
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Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Jeff Monks firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice President - Jim Willmann email@example.com
- Secretary - Shannon Posern firstname.lastname@example.org
- Treasurer - Caroline Limaye email@example.com
- Director - Bill Cason firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Lori Dobbin email@example.com
- Director - Randy Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 1, Martin Morales email@example.com
- Zone 2, Katy Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 3, Ludmila Voskov email@example.com
- Zone 4, Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 5, Mary Gifford email@example.com
- Zone 6, Charlotte Jernigan firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 7, vacant
- Zone 8, Irina Kadukova email@example.com
- Zone 9, Kerry Howell firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 10, Christopher Schroder email@example.com
- Weekly Weeder Newsletter - Polly Porter firstname.lastname@example.org
- Plant Sale - Michael Hall email@example.com
- TSBVI Liason & Volunteer Coordinator - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Compost Coordinator - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Compost Tea - Jennifer Woertz email@example.com
- Education Committee - Shannon Posern firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry email@example.com
- Water Leak Repairs - Steve Schulz firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter email@example.com
- Micah 6 Coordinator - Dana Kuykendall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Micah 6 Coordinator - Mary Gifford email@example.com
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert firstname.lastname@example.org
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder