Thursday, April 28, 2011

Transplanting Seedlings at Vaiuso Farms

Hello Gardeners,
Thanks to our BCG volunteers for help in transplanting hundreds of seedlings today at Vaiuso Farms! Thanks to Malaine, Maryanne, Pat, Sue, Maureen, Carol and Jinny!
Vaiuso Farms germinates our seedlings and tends them prior to the BCG volunteers transplanting them into 6-packs. Vaiuso's donates 6-packs and growth medium, plus the labor to tend the seedlings. Now, the folks at Vaiuso's will tend them for the next couple of weeks before we offer them to our gardeners, and then at the plant sale at Willoughby Wallace Library on May 14 and 15.
After transplanting today several of us used the opportunity to see what Vaiuso's has for sale. They have BEAUTIFUL lettuces, arugula, herbs, tomato plants and much more. Please support Vaiuso's. They have been so generous to us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Houston, We have water," hose request, and more on the BCG Plant Sale

Hello Gardeners,
The water supply to the garden was hooked up this morning - just in time for the rainy weather! Thank you, Javier, for repairing faucet #4! Everybody, please keep an eye out for any leaks in the coming weeks and let Connie know as soon as possible if you detect any.
If anybody has a hose in GOOD shape and is willing to loan it to the garden, please let Connie know.
If you have any surplus houseplants, perennials that need dividing, shrubs, dahliahs, vegetables, or other plant material and care to donate them for sale at our fundraiser, feel free to do so. It's usually a good idea to pot up perennials a few weeks or so before the sale (like around now!) so that they can recover from transplant shock and will look good at the time of the sale. Please label the plant materials with a name (if you know it). We'll be sending more instructions on how to get them to us, probably the day before the sale.

Yours in organic gardening,
Connie and Malaine

203-481-3295 (h)
203-623-4021 (c)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hello Gardeners,
As most of you know we will be having our THIRD annual fundraiser, in conjunction with the Willoughby Wallace Library, and with the above-and-beyond support of Vaiuso Farms. The fundraiser is a plant sale held on May 14 and May 15, from 12:00 to 4:00 PM, at the Willoughby Wallace Library in Stony Creek.
Branford Community Gardens will be selling the vegetable seedlings that Vaiuso Farms have germinated and tended for the past several weeks. The week after Easter those seedlings will require transplanting into 6-packs. Hundreds of 6-packs!
I know some of you want to volunteer to help on transplant day. Right now I only know that we will be doing this the week after Easter, but I don't know the exact date. Nevertheless, I'd like to get an idea of who would potentially be available during that week. Could you let me know if you could volunteer? I know that you can't make an open commitment for an entire week, but starting with a list of potential volunteers, as soon as I know what day we'll be transplanting, I can call up the troops.
The volunteering will be at Vaiuso Farms, will probably be in the morning and will probably require about three hours. If you haven't done this before - it's pretty fun!
Contact me if you have any questions.
203-481-3295 (h)
203-623-4021 (c)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seed Exchange

Hello Gardeners,
Several people have asked me about a seed exchange. Maybe next weekend interested gardeners could get together and exchange seeds. I was thinking about Sunday at noon maybe, maybe at Lynn's Deli. It would also be a great time to meet the new gardeners. Let me know what you think. This blog would be a perfect way to share your thoughts on this topic.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Garden News from Malaine

Dear BCG Gardeners:

Some of you have been asking, when do I plant my peas and spinach? Well, the answer is that you can probably start sometime around now, if you haven't done so already (it's been so cold that I haven't wanted to be in my garden, but apparently others haven't minded the cold so much--the owner as Shelley's Garden Center said that some people have been coming in and saying that their peas are up.) But I'm going to plant peas in the next few days.

I've included a link to a website from Nancy DeBrule Clemente at Natureworks: in which she makes suggestions as to when to plant certain crops. For germination there are basically two things to concern yourself with: air temperature and ground temperature. I was afraid before now to plant my peas because the air temperature at night (20's) was so cold that I figured the ground temperature wasn't very warm either (it was around 40 degrees a couple inches down a few days ago). Colder ground temperatures translate into longer germination times, and peas sometimes rot if they stay too long in wet soil before germinating, hence my hesitation in planting. Now that we are looking at warmer daytime AND nighttime temperatures, the ground temperature should gradually rise, thereby speeding the rate of germination of the cold temperature crops. One way to increase soil temperatures is to spread black plastic over the area you are going to plant in a few days before planting--the ground under the plastic will warm more quickly than it would otherwise (I was to a lecture on vegetable gardening that Nancy gave a few years ago--she mentioned that she put black plastic down to heat up the soil before planting her peas). It is not absolutely necessary to do this; we didn't last spring in SWF, just planted the peas and spinach directly into the soil on April 6 (but it was a warm spring, so the soil was already moderately warm) and had fantastic germination.

Several of the early spring crops that Nancy mentions in her "Vegetable crop timing" article benefit from soaking in tepid water (to aid germination) before planting--peas, swiss chard, and spinach would all benefit from soaking 2 to 4 hours before planting (I've also soaked the swiss chard and spinach overnight, but peas can get mushy if they soak too long). At this point I'd start with peas (to plant by seed). You can also try arugula, spinach, swiss chard, radishes and lettuces--they may germinate, they may not, depending on how the weather treats us. Generally, I plant and if it works out, fine, and if it doesn't I plant again in a couple of weeks if no germination occurred--always a guessing game and seeds are relatively cheap.

I would like to encourage everyone to keep a garden journal--just jot down when you planted seeds, whether they germinated or not and give a rough idea of the outdoor temperatures (and soil temperature, if you measure it--I have a compost thermometer that I use to measure soil temp). Keeping a garden journal over the years will help you develop your own guidelines for when you can expect to plant and reasonably expect germination in certain crops.

Later this month I'll be getting out the detailed list of seedlings that we are using from our Vaiuso fundraiser for BCG. We'll have marigolds, basil, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. You'll be able to pick up your seedlings at my house in the afternoon of May 13, or at BCG the morning of May 14. Leftover seedlings will go to the Willoughby Wallace plant sale, which benefits both us and the library. More details to follow.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me at (Connie has the current BCG membership list, so sends out the emails, but you can send questions directly to me).

Yours in organically gardening,