Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hi everyone,

I have a few announcements about the Fred Bland garden lecture and tour.

1. We only have a few tickets left for the lecture/tour.  I am sure that by tomorrow we will be sold out.  Please call me before you drive to the event if you don't have a ticket.

2. The lecture will now go on rain or shine.  If at the end of the lecture we find that the weather did not cooperate as we had hoped, we will have the garden tour the following week. 

3.  If you can not find any parking at the library you can try the ball park.

If you have questions you can contact me at 203-494-8630.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Garden Lecture

If you have any questions about the Garden Lecture you can email us at

Garden Lecture

Branford Community Gardens, Inc.
A Lecture and Garden Tour

“The Making of a Garden(er):  An Urbanist Architect in the Garden” by Frederick Bland, FAIA AICP
September 13, 2015, 1 PM ,Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library, Stony Creek, CT
The program consists of a one-hour lecture at the library followed by a tour of Fred’s Stony Creek garden
Rain date: September 20, 2015, 1 PM, Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library

For more information visit our website:
Frederick Bland has provided design leadership over the past 42 years for educational, residential and cultural facilities in both the U.S. and China. He has directed downtown redevelopment plans nationally, working with clients that require options for long-term growth. Mr. Bland began his career at Beyer Blinder Belle in 1972, became the first non-founding partner in 1978, and Managing Partner in 2004. An Adjunct Professor in the History of Art Department of New York University since 1990, he has also lectured on design at Yale University, Columbia University, Pratt and City College. He has been a member of the Vestry of Trinity Church, Wall Street since 2004; Chairman of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 2007; Chairman of the Fitch Foundation since 2012, Chairman of the Evergreens Cemetery Preservation Foundation since 2014. Since 2008 he has served as a commissioner of the Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York.
                Mr. Bland has served on a number of civic boards including the Brooklyn Heights Association, where he was president from 1992 to 1994; the Brooklyn Historical Society; a founding member of the Friends of Education Committee at the Museum of Modern Art; and the New York Foundation for Architecture, where he was president in 2000; and the Rembrandt Club, where he was president from 2001 to 2003.
                He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Yale University in 1968 and 1972, respectively.

                Branford Community Gardens, Inc., established in 2009, is an all-volunteer organization, dedicated to the promotion of locally grown, organic produce. Our garden site is at 16 Birch Rd, and comprises twenty-two individual plots for rent - fourteen 20’ x 20’ plots and eight 10’ x 20’ plots.  All produce from an additional 20’ x 50’ plot is donated to families in need in Branford. We have a robust volunteer corps dedicated to this endeavor.

Branford Community Gardens, inc.  Presents “A Gardeners’ Market” Sale

WHERE: Branford Green

WHEN: Saturday, August 15, 2015, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
              Saturday, September 19, 2015, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
WHAT:  Produce, grown by BCG gardeners,
Cut Flowers, Assorted Plants and baked goods.

BCG, Inc. is a non-profit organization that rents garden plots to Branford residents.  Fresh, organic produce from a 20’ x 50’ plot, maintained by volunteers, is donated to people in need in Branford.  See us at

Friday, May 1, 2015

Branford Community Gardens, Inc.  Presents A Spring Plant Sale

WHAT: Assorted perennials, shrubs, houseplants, and vegetable, herb and flower seedlings in assorted sizes/prices, all grown by the gardeners of BGC and BCG.  

WHERE: Branford Green, Main Street

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015, 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

BCG, Inc. is a non-profit organization that rents garden plots to Branford residents.  Fresh, organic produce from a 20’ x 50’ plot, maintained by volunteers, is donated to people in need in Branford.  See us at

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gardeners' Market: September 15

Come to the Branford Community Gardens' Gardeners' Market on Saturday, September 15 starting at 11:00 a.m. on the Branford Town Green.

We will have for sale: Produce (vegetables and herbs, organically grown by the gardeners), Flowers grown by the gardeners, and a Garden-Related Items Sale (tools, plants, books etc.) 

This event is being held in conjunction with the Branford Reads Celebration Event, which is sponsored by the Branford Education Foundation and the Branford Board of Education. Our participation is to help promote healthful eating, both at home and in the schools.

BCG, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that rents garden plots to Branford residents.Through our Seed, Weed and Feed program, organic produce from a 20’x50’ plot, maintained by volunteers, is donated to the Community Dining Room and the Branford Food Pantry.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tony LaBella's Top Tips for Successful Organic Gardening

Tony LaBella’s Top Tips for Successful Organic Gardening

         As many of you know, Tony gave a really great talk at his farm on Sunday, April 15, 2012.  I took as many notes as I could and have tried to collect them here for everyone.  Tony talked about seven main topics (below).  Under each topic are my notes.  PLEASE add to this blog with any information that I missed or got wrong.  Also, if you have been able to find any of the products that Tony mentioned please post the information on this blog so that everyone can benefit.  Thanks to everyone for attending.
         See you in the garden!

11.    Soil management: fertility, cover crops and micro-nutrients

Look for N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) levels in fertilizers that aren’t too high, but then apply the fertilizer regularly throughout the season.  Some organic fertilizers that Tony recommends:

“Vermont Compost” from Johnny’s (, but I can’t find it in their on-line catalog.  White Flower Farm ( sells “Vermont Compost Plus.”
Composted chicken manure pellets (3-2-3) from Perdue (  I see that Van Wilgen’s sells chicken manure, too.

“Neptune’s Harvest” ( at Van Wilgen’s and Agway.

You may be able to find these products at other local gardening stores.  If you find one of these products, please add the information to this blog so others will know.

Right now is the best time to lime to correct the pH of your soil (if it is too acidic).  You can alternate lime and gypsum applications.  Tony estimates that if you have acidic soil you’ll need a 50 lb bag of pulverized lime for a 20’ x 20’ garden plot.  I would strongly suggest having your soil tested before doing this since a lot of people in the garden don’t seem to have particularly acidic soil.

If your soil has a lot of clay try a cover crop, either in the fall or in the spring.  Tony says he has not been able to grow a decent carrot on his farm due to the clay in the soil.

He recommends adding lime to your compost pile if you are using leaf mulch in the pile.  A good balance in the compost pile is 1/3 leaf mulch, 1/3 manure, 1/3 garden plant material.

You really need to do a soil test to see if your soil is deficient in micro-nutrients.  The corrective treatment will depend on the particular deficiency.

You can compost between your rows, which will also help control weeds.

22.    Cultivation/weeding: everyone hates it but it must be done!

Tony emphasized the need to be super diligent about this.  Weeds are BAD and rob your soil of nutrients.

33.    Pest and fungal control: organic spray options

Look for OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute; tested products.  They publish a list of organic sprays.  When a pest infestation is bad you can resort to pyrethrins (apply late at night when the beneficial bugs are not hanging around the garden).  “Pyganic” is a product that Tony uses. I don’t know if the concentrated solution is sold in small enough quantities for the home gardener, but sells Pyganic dust.
For soft-bodied pests BT-based products are good (they won’t kill earthworms).
Neem oil is good for killing some pests but don’t add it in sunny conditions.

For fungus Tony recommends preventive applications of fungicides PRIOR to problems occurring.  He alternates three types: Copper/“Oxidate”/“Sonata” products.
            i  Copper products: Bonide makes one, (see their website for local dealers:  I see that Van Wilgen’s sells one.
            ii  “Oxidate” (for powdery mildew), every 10 days, every 7 days if it’s been rainy.  I found it on
            iii  A systemic fungicide called “Sonata” or “Serenade.”  But don’t rely on the systemics alone – you must spray.  I see that Van Wilgen’s sells “Serenade.”
You might be able to find these products at other places.  I didn’t do an exhaustive search for all available dealers.

44.    Transplant care: seed depth, temperature control, age hardening off, spacing

Seed depth is critical.  When they say ¼ inch they mean ¼ inch!  You will not get the germination you want unless you follow the directions.
Direct seeding: beans, carrots
Don’t keep transplants too long before putting them in the ground.  In other words, don’t buy transplants too early in the season and then plant them a month, or more, later.  The health and growth of the plant will suffer.  Buy the transplants close to the time you will be transplanting them.
Johnny’s Seeds sells lots of pelleted seeds, which are much easier to plant (I see they have Genovese basil, carrots, lots of lettuces).

55.    Seed selection: heirloom, hybrid, GMO

Tony recommends Green Star lettuce (Johnny’s), which is heat tolerant.  They also come as pelleted seeds.  But, just forget spinach in the hot months.

66.    Succession planting: a great way to reduce weeding and spraying

Whenever you harvest a crop plant something else in its place.  Tony recommends planting lettuce every week!

77.    Post-harvest handling: field washing and storage temperature

Cold shock your produce immediately after harvesting.  Fill a bucket with cool water, plunge the produce in, shake the water off and then get it into the refrigerator as soon as possible.