When it’s wet and cold out, it’s hard to feel motivated to spend time in the garden. Besides, why head to the garden when hardly anything yummy is growing and the bulbs are safely tucked away beneath the soil?
Many children are full of curiosity about local wildlife. A colder winter provides a great opportunity to model compassion for all creatures, from poorly housed humans to birds and insects looking for safety in this unusual weather, and to learn about what we can do to support animals, birds and insects during these darker months of the year. This article provides five fun ideas that are easy to try out in your neighbourhood, and gives you an excuse to let the morning glory do all the growing in can over the winter.
As you may be aware, the City of Vancouver is building a temporary path along the Arbutus Greenway. There is an information session this Saturday if you are interested in attending. Here are the details:
In September, we held five workshops on temporary design options. We’ve also received more than 500 emails, letters and 3-1-1 calls, and presented at four City of Vancouver advisory committees.
Come to a public information session on the Arbutus Greenway temporary path and learn how the public’s input shaped the final design:
Saturday, October 15, 10 am – 2 pm,
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue
These meetings will be drop-in info session format. City staff will be available to answer questions. You can also view the information boards and consultation summary report, which will be posted online and shared with you by email on Friday.
Arbutus Greenway Project Office, City of Vancouver
Copied below is a letter from the City of Vancouver regarding public input dates for the pathway that runs along the Arbutus corridor. Asphalt paving was temporarily halted, however there is a strong lobby to complete a 4 meter wide undivided road along the corridor. This is our opportunity to have input about what our neighbourhood needs, and to address safety for children and all who use the corridor.
The Arbutus Greenway is a future north-south transportation corridor that will connect False Creek to the Fraser River.
In the short term, City of Vancouver is building a temporary pathway that everyone can enjoy. We’re looking at several different types of hard-surface materials, especially those that improve safety and accessibility.
Come to a public workshop and share your thoughts on the temporary pathway options:
Saturday, September 17, at the False Creek Community Centre between 1-3pm.
Wednesday, September 21, at the Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel between 7-9pm.
Thursday, September 22, at the Kerrisdale Community Centre between 7-9pm.
These meetings are public but space is limited. If you plan to attend a workshop, please RSVP at arbutus-greenway.eventbrite.ca. The same material will be covered at each session.
A broader public engagement process for the Arbutus Greenway is expected to kick-off in late Fall 2016.
We hope you will continue to follow the project and be part of the process.
Continue watering veggies regularly – every two days or so if it’s hot and dry. Veggies like tomatoes are heavier water users and need regular fertilizing too.
Fertilize veggies – about once a week with diluted fish fertilizer (approximately 1/2 the recommended dose on label)
Fertilize container plants – every two weeks only until the end of August. You don’t want to encourage new growth that may freeze in the cooler fall/winter temperatures.
Harvest ripe produce often – make sure you get to enjoy the fruits and veggies of your labour! This also helps reduce rodent and harmful insect activity as well as some plant disease.
Mulch plants around their base with compost, dry grass – to conserve water when the weather gets hot.
Monitor for insects – use organic methods for removal i.e. strong water spray will remove aphids. Learn about the difference between bad and good bugs! Here’s a link to an article we posted earlier in the year that provides some good info on garden allies, as well as do-it-yourself methods to avoid insect damage to your garden. Important Note: Please do not use Diatomaceous earth (DE) powder in Maple Community Garden as it is too difficult to control where the powder goes, and DE will also kill bees. DIY Garden Pest Control
Remove weeds regularly – this keeps soil energy going into your plants instead.
Collect perennial seeds for future use or plant in fall.
SUMMER PLANTING FOR FALL & WINTER HARVESTS
Veggies planted throughout the summer have many advantages. You can tap into the sun’s warmth to help grow strong mature plants which withstand the cold of fall and winter. Here are some great choices.
Turnips – sow seeds from May- August for harvest through to spring
Kale & Collards – seeds best started early in May so transplants could be used in the summer. Taste improves after a frost, and most Kale and Collards make it through the winter here.
Carrots – sow seeds for “Bolero” or “Royal Chantenay” through July for a late fall harvest
Leeks – choose winter hardy varieties such as “Siegfried Frost”. Plant mid-June for harvest through to spring.
Swiss Chard – plant mid-June for harvest through to spring
Purple Sprouting Broccoli – gets to be a large plant so don’t start too many! Plant the end of June/early July for harvest the following spring.
Spinach – plant seeds throughout the summer and fall for harvest through to spring.
Did you know Maple Community Gardens is home to a bunch of plots managed to grow food to donate to soup kitchens in Vancouver? All this good karma is making for prolific spring growing. Last week Kate and Rosemary did a food drop, and this week the section 7 soup kitchen plot was so full of food we had to do another trip! Yesterday we delivered 5 plastic bags bursting with kale and chard. Thanks to Sarah for her help watering the plot and Dana for doing yesterday’s food run to the Union Gospel Mission. Let’s keep this going!
Set out heat loving plants – such as Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, and Aubergines (Eggplant) when night time temperatures are at least 10C. Because of our earlier growing season it should be safe to start bush beans and climbing beans now too.
Plant bedding plants – Marigolds (which keep insects at bay when grown with veggies), Alyssum, Geraniums, Petunias and other flowering bedding plants are safe to plant now as well as most perennials.
Start bee friendly plants – Bee Balm, Cosmos, Lavender, Heather, Bachelor Buttons, Campanula and Borage all provide food for the bees. The space on the south side of the fence could be used for some of these plants, but please do not disturb existing patches of clover patches, tansy and borage. This website provides a great overview of many bee-friendly plants by season, with great colour photos: Feed The Bees
Plant fruit – such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Use Rhododendron fertilizer for blueberries, as they are acid loving plants.
‘Feed’ spring bulbs – with diluted fish fertilizer and remove the foliage as the plant dies down. You can remove bulbs if space is needed for new plants, and store them off-site until the fall. Just dig up the bulbs, put them in a box, cover lightly with soil and store them in a cool, dry place over the summer. Then they’ll be ready for planting in the fall, and to bring back some colour to your garden again in the spring!
Stop the spread of aphids – they can be hosed off plants with fine strong spray of water or removed by hand.
Continue to plant – most seeds and/or veggie transplants can be planted successively for continuous crops until the summer heat of late June, July & August is too much.
Continue garden tending – regular weeding, removing morning glory, and clipping grass around your plot [including the North/street-side fence line, inside and out].
Remember to fertilize – use diluted Fish Fertilizer during growing season following instructions on container.
Prevent mildew problems – with plants like squash, zucchini, tomatoes and dahlias it’s a good practice to:
water from underneath
keep water off leaves if possible
water early in the morning rather than in the evening, so that leaves don’t become damp
try to keep good air circulation between plants (hard to do in our small spaces!)
always remove leaves affected by mildew and put them in the garbage, not the compost.
Here’s an example of powdery mildew on squash leaves:
Dissolve baking soda in the water, add oil and soap, put in a spray bottle. Spray on plants early in the morning every one to two weeks throughout the season. This remedy works well if applied in the early stages of mildew, or before an outbreak occurs.
Enjoy playing in the dirt and tasting the fruits and vegetables of your labour
We were recently contacted by Regina Joseph who complimented us on the Gardening Resources section of our website – check it out if you haven’t already An article she worked on for New York City Pest Control provides some good information on do-it-yourself methods to avoid insect damage to your garden, so we are sharing that link below.
Important Note: Please do not use Diatomaceous earth (DE) powder in Maple Community Garden as it is too difficult to control where the powder goes, and DE will also kill bees.
What is a seed ball or seed bomb? It’s a little round ball (about the size of a teeny bouncer or a marble) made up of soil, clay and seeds. A basic tool of guerilla gardening, you can toss the balls in abandoned green spaces and leave the seeds to sprout without care. The clay and soil protect the seeds from drying out in the sun or blowing away. The ball shape allows you to send seeds into spaces that might otherwise be hard to access. Here is a good little article about seed balls and how they work. They are a super kids activity—gooey, simple and fun.
Today, we did a test batch of seed ball making and they turned out well. We will have a seed ball making party at the Children’s Gardens in 2 weeks, on Saturday, April 9 at 3pm. If the weather is crappy we will either (1) move to the following day (Sunday) or (2) move the gathering indoors, probably to our place, which is just down the street from the gardens.
I will provide clay and top soil.
What you need to bring:
seeds —ideally bee and butterfly loving plants like wild flowers, herbs that will flower, poppies and other flowers to pretty up the corridor beside our gardens
a flat container to take your balls home in, eg tupperware bin, cookie tray, cardboard shoe box
It is best if the balls air dry for 24-48 hours before you throw them. If the balls dry quickly we might be able to get together that Sunday and huck them as a group. That would be a super fun and chaotic, no? Just please don’t let your kid lob seed bombs into people’s gardening plots!
Contact Krista to join us if you have not yet received an invitation. An executive member will be able to give you my email address. Happy gardening!
Flory is a night fairy. When a bat mistakenly bites off her wings she falls into a human garden, makes her home in an abandoned wooden bird house, and re-births herself as a day fairy. No bigger than an acorn, she learns to live with the birds and squirrels, fashions herself dresses of flower petals and learns to feed herself by collecting seeds and fruit she finds in the garden. The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz is a lovely story of a strong-willed and brave little garden fairy. It has become one of our favourite books.
Inspired by her story, today we built homes for fairies in the children’s garden—only two little houses today, but it’s just the beginning of spring. There is plenty of room in the community garden for you to join us in building fairy habitats. As you can see, one of the homes has already attracted a friendly miniature giraffe.
On March 7, 2016 the City of Vancouver and CP Rail announced that they have come to an agreement on the Arbutus Corridor, and the City will purchase the railway route from CP for $55 million to create the “Arbutus Greenway”. The deal represents 42 acres of open space, running about 9 kilometres from Milton Street at the south end, to 1st Avenue on the north end.
Despite the City of Vancouver buying the lands, Mayor Gregor Robertson says it will be status quo for gardens right now.“What we are asking people to do is not encroach while the public planning process happens. There are about 350 plots along the Arbutus corridor that are legitimate. Those obviously remain. It is up to the community engagement to decide whether some more gardening space could be allocated somewhere along the corridor.” [CKNW News]
The City of Vancouver has posted further details, including the full press release and development plans for the Arbutus Greenway. If you’d like to receive updates from the City, you can subscribe here.