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 Tuesday evenings June – September. The project is run through Arlington’s Recreation Department.
|May||5/14||Leaf minor||Spinach & beets||row cover with blue sticky trap|
|May-June||5/28||Cabbage worms||Cabbage||Hand removal (multiple passes each week)|
7/2- brussels & nasturtium
|Aphids||Brussels, fava, nasturtiums||Insecticidal soap|
|7/9?||Squash vine borer||Summer squash, pumpkins||Yellow sticky traps and SVB lure (3)|
|Cucumber beetle||Slicing cucumbers||Hand removal & yellow sticky traps|
|Potato beetle||Potatoes||Hand removal & yellow sticky traps|
[May] Leaf minor
We proactively covered the spinach and beets with agrofabric immediately after transplanting them in the garden. Additionally, we placed a blue sticky trap under the cover to catch any flies that might be in the soil or caught inside the trap. This worked very well — dozens of flies were caught by the sticky trap in the first couple of weeks and the spinach crop was beautiful with no notable leaf minor damage. Definitely recommend repeating this combination going forward (cover the crops at the time of transplant and keep a sticky trap inside).
[June] Cabbage worms
We first noticed the cabbage worms in the brassica bed on 5/28. Over the month of June, we found them in most of the green cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Some days, we found up to three worms on a single plant. Having several gardeners inspect the plants each Saturday worked out very well. We would often find several worms the first time through and then a second inspection with fresh eyes would find 2 or 3 more. By the time the cabbages headed up, we had successfully kept the worms under control and got several beautiful cabbage heads.
As usual, the aphids attacked the fava plants as they set out flowers. We sprayed them with insecticidal soap, taking care to avoid spraying the flowers. The insecticidal soap succeeded in controlling the aphids; however, it seems like the insecticidal soap may also have killed some of the flowers, reducing the potential harvest. Unfortunately the garden photos aren’t detailed enough to support this theory, so we may want to try to document more carefully next year. Also, Elisabeth had recently watched an episode of Gardener’s World (BBC) where Monty Don said that the aphids don’t harm the productivity of the fava beans, so we may want to try leaving the fava untreated next year.
The garden has officially begun the mid-season transition. Today we harvested the last of the spring brassicas, and replanted the bed with seedlings for our second crop of cauliflower and zucchini.
Today was also the season’s first tomato harvest, which is always a mid-season milestone. The bush beans, eggplants, peppers, and summer squashes are just coming into season as well.
And today was garlic and fava bean harvest day! We’ve also begun taking regular harvests from the kales and chard. Next week, we’ll pull the peas and replant that bed with pole beans.
Our first substantial harvest of the season was all about salad. We harvested arugula, lettuce, radishes and spinach, along with some lovely micro-greens from thinning our beets, bok choy, mustard and Swiss chard. Yum!
Thanks to Nicole for brightening the garden.
Though it’s the middle of May, today felt like summer at the garden. We enjoyed our first harvests of arugula and radishes, which we seeded in the soil last month. Next week, we’re expecting to harvest our first lettuce and spinach, which we started indoors and transplanted as seedlings.
Our new metal pea & pole bean trellis has been fitted out with twine, and looks quite fine! There are seedlings sprouting all over the garden and our warm weather seedlings are beginning their hardening off period before being planted in the soil.
Opening day was brisk and breezy at the garden. Much to our surprise, we discovered that the young lettuce we left in little plastic hoop houses survived the winter. The other major discovery was a huge rock about a foot below the surface of one of the garden beds.
The rock was almost as large as the Philosopher’s Stone we unearthed with great labor many years ago and left in the corner of the garden until the fence was replaced. Yet once the rock stars set to work, there was no doubt that the rock would be moved. It was an exhausting process, but the team displayed remarkable skill and ingenuity. Well done!