Robbins Farm Garden is a cooperative community garden project at Robbins Farm Park in Arlington, MA. Since 2010, we’ve grown vegetables organically as a group, created an educational resource in the community and continued the agricultural tradition of the farm at the park. We garden Saturday mornings April – November and Wednesday evenings June – September. The project is run through Arlington’s Recreation Department.
Our first harvest of Sugar Dumpling squash and Baby Bear pumpkins of the season.
July 26, 2015
July 23, 2016
July 22, 2017
July 21, 2018
What’s different in 2018?
- Regular fertilizing per instructions (Espoma TomatoTone)
- Hay mulch vs red plastic
- Less pruning – only suckers below the first fruit set, and allowing multiple leaders. Also by hand, not with a clipper
- Early spray with copper fungicide (Bonide)
- Some new varieties
- Pretty good weather
You’ve harvested bunches of lovely garlic…now what? How do you prepare them for storage?
This from Karen Chrisman, Master Gardener (http://www.wmassmastergardeners.org/0708.html):
“CURING Brush the dirt off the plants and bulbs and lay them on a screen or a flat basket in a warm, dry spot with good air circulation, such as a well-ventilated room or covered porch. Most sources recommend shade for this. Curing is complete after three to four weeks when the skins are dry and the necks (stems) are tight.
The dry tops and roots can be cut off. If you further clean the bulbs by removing the outer skins, be careful not to expose any cloves. Although hardneck varieties are more common in the north, growing some softneck garlic gives you a chance to make a hanging braid, created the same way a French braid is done with hair. Braiding is easier before the stems are completely dry.
STORING Only store well cured bulbs. Garlic stores nicely under a wide range of temperatures, but produces sprouts more quickly at or above 40 degrees F. Mature bulbs store best at 32 degrees F with low humidity. Cloves should keep for six to seven months; I usually have garlic right through the following harvest.”
We grow Georgian Crystal and Russian Red, both hardneck varieties.
The first Saturday in July ushered in our first major harvest of beets, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and zucchini. The tomatoes aren’t far behind!
We still have some surplus seeds available for the asking. Here’s the list Steven has compiled:
We’ve been starting our cucurbit (squash family) seeds indoors under lights to get a leg up on the season for a few years. Last year, we noticed that the germination rate for these seeds was unusually poor. This was brought into painful focus when only 1 of 33 of our Baby Bear pumpkin seeds germinated. A clue presented itself when we noticed that this pumpkin variety was the only one of our cucurbit seeds that was offered as treated seed.
Following our notes from last year, we started all our cucurbits in sterile soil this year. The results are now in, and they are striking. The one-to-one comparisons are shown in the table below. Each of the varieties shown were grown under the same conditions from the same seed from the same source for that year (2017 for non-sterile and 2018 for sterile).
[It’s important to note that we start most of our indoor seeds in sterile soil. In fact, we sterilize compost and make our own soil mix using coir, sand, vermiculite, wood ash and organic fertilizer. However, we decided to risk the non-sterile mix for the cucurbits because we start them just 2 weeks before they’re planted in the garden and they seem like such robust seeds.]
On average for all the cucurbit seed, the germination rate went from 53% for non-sterile soil to 94% for sterile soil. As for the pumpkins, we opted for the treated seed this year… and the germination rate went from 3% to 83%.
The newly-transplanted tomatoes, eggplants and okra are seeing real sun for the first time today in the greenhouse. They will be ready to go outside and get full sun soon, in preparation for being planted in the garden. We will have well over 100 seedlings (including all the wonderful peppers, tomatillos and basil) when planting day comes…
After a long cold winter, it’s finally time to work at the garden again. We will resume our regular Saturday hours (9 to noon) and hope to catch up with our planting, harvesting and cleaning up.
We look forward to seeing you there!