We have had a truly amazing third growing season at Arsenal Park. From the 21 garden beds bursting with life to our second annual neighborhood garden tour to our weekly by-donation yoga in the garden classes to our amazing spring seedling sale to the monarch caterpillars who found a home in our milkweed plants this summer, it has really been a great year.
And now we are reaching out for your help: join us for our fall garden cleanup! Just two hours of your time will make a HUGE difference at the garden so we’re ready to plant again next spring. We’ll have coffee, donuts, and a lot of fun.
WHAT: Fall Garden Cleanup
WHEN: Sat., October 6, 10am-noon
WHERE: Keystone-Monon Community Garden at Arsenal Park, 1400 E. 46th St.
WHO: YOU! All are welcome – we will have different projects for all age ranges.
WHAT TO BRING: Yourself, your friends, a water bottle, and some garden gloves and digging/weeding tools if you have them
We’ll see you there!
So many times, we fall into the trap of making an herb “section” of our garden and putting all the herbs together. We love this article we just stumbled across on companion planting herbs – or planting them alongside certain vegetable plants to yield a stronger, more productive garden.
When you companion plant with herbs, you can:
- increase yields
- repel pests
- encourage pollination
- provide shelter for beneficial insects
Learn how to use dill, marigolds, chives, basil, parsley, lavender, and rosemary for a stronger – and tastier – garden this summer: “Companion Planting with Herbs for a More Robust Garden” by Chris Dalziel on Attainable Sustainable.
The countdown to our Seedling Sale and Mother’s Day Pop-Up begins! This Saturday, April 28, we will have over 300 beautiful seedlings for your garden. All proceeds benefit the Keystone-Monon Community Garden, which is a completely volunteer-, donation-, and community-driven endeavor.
This year, we’re also featuring two of our garden friends’ amazing businesses to make this a one-stop shop for the mom or mom figure in your life. You’ll find beautiful seedlings, gardeners soap from Azure’s Secret Handmade Soap, locally roasted coffee from Limelight Coffee Roasters, crafts and gifts for the kids to put together for mom, and we’ll even have extra seeds on hand to give away.
DATE: Sat., 4/28 from 10am-noon
LOCATION: St. Paul’s On the Way, 803 Broad Ripple Ave. (Sale is on the second floor, and there is ample lot parking across the street from the Broad Ripple post office – and street parking, too).
Come say hi, and tell your friends! Thanks to St. Paul’s On The Way for hosting us in their beautiful Broad Ripple space and Whole Foods Market (Indianapolis – 86th St.) for their generous seed donation.
2018 marks our third growing season at the Keystone-Monon Community Garden at Arsenal Park, and we invite you to grow with us!
What’s so special about the Keystone-Monon Community Garden? While growing our own fresh, organic produce brought us together, even more than that we are a community organization. We believe community gardens:
- Grow community strength and cohesiveness
- Normalize urban agriculture
- Provide a place to grow food and learn together
- Celebrate the power of people as we work to build knowledge, empower, and engage the full diversity of our community
- Increase neighborhood pride and beauty; decrease crime
- Build new connections among community members, increasing care and concern for others
If you are interested in growing your own food and getting involved in your community, join us in 2018!
Here in Central Indiana, there is one thing that is a near-certainty for every garden: the inevitable infestation of the squash bug. Each year it never fails: your summer squash plants are gigantic and producing like crazy. And then one day, you might notice a handful bugs. The next: a few more.
The next day? Your once-beautiful squash plant is crawling with bugs, and the entire plant has died, apparently overnight. Not only can they do a crazy amount of damage to squash plants, but they can also attack other cucurbit varieties (cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins).
Photos courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension
So what can you do about these evil little jerks? We decided to take a very scientific survey* to find out what area organic farmers and gardeners do to beat squash bugs into submission. Since this issue will likely befall your garden at some point, we thought we’d share everyone’s feedback here for future reference. Enjoy, and may your squash plants live long and prosper!
Tips for maintaining your squash plants – and sanity – against squash bugs, straight from Central Indiana farmers and gardeners:
- “So far its daily physical intervention, inspecting leaves, removing eggs, and adults, and treating with Diatomaceous earth around base of plants where they hide. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap with peppermint will work mixed with water and sprayed directly on insects. You can also use floating row covers early in season (you will have to pollinate yourself).”
- “I pull all leaves with eggs or midges on them and throw them in the trash. The chickens seem uninterested. I second, or third, the drowning them in soapy water method. Hand picking seems the best way.”
- “I recently purchased a book called “The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener.” The author, Tammi Hartung, is great and one of the ways she suggests repelling squash bugs is to sprinkle black pepper around the plants. I haven’t done this yet but did spray the plant with neem oil mixed with dish soap. That has helped.”
- “I have a spray bottle filled with soapy water and cayenne pepper and spray the leaves. So far it’s kept them off this year. If I find one I just squish it. Same with the eggs.”
- “Transplant as early as possible is my tip. Squash bugs are inevitable.”
Have you had issues with squash bugs? What’s your favorite method of saving your plants?
*”Very scientific” means we asked our Facebook friends – but, hey, many of them are organic farmers and gardeners with extensive firsthand squash beetle experience.
This morning, we were lucky to have a visit at the garden from Kevin Allison, urban soil specialist with the Marion County Soul and Water Conversation District. Kevin is a wealth of knowledge, and we are looking forward especially to doing some fun things with cover crops this fall at the garden, using his guidance and expertise.
Yes, we get excited about things like cover crops around here. Hey, they are really cool! Cover crops = happy soil = happy plants = less work for us = more delicious veggies.
Kevin also had a really great, really simple tip for our gardeners and anyone growing their own produce: add a light layer of straw to any exposed soil in your garden. As your seeds and seedlings go in the ground, the straw keeps moisture from wicking out of your soil and has a moderating effect on soil temperature. Both of these things limit stress on your plants, make your life easier, and help your plants focus their energy on growing awesome produce for you and your family. It also adds more organic matter to your soil.
And as temperatures broke 80 degrees here in Central Indiana, conserving water and protecting plants from heat will be increasingly important!
Kevin will be leading a FREE educational workshop, “Healthy Soil, Healthy Garden,” for us in conjunction with the seed library at Glendale Public Library on Sunday, June 11 from 3-4pm. Please come geek out over soil health with us!