Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
8 April 2015
Saturday, April 11th, 8:00 am until 11:00 am.
There is a work day this Saturday, April 11th, from 8 am to 11 am, hosted by Katy and Chris. Come and fulfill your work hours while it's still cool (sort of). Join them in beautifying the garden. For more information email Katy or Chris.
Potluck and Book Signing
Sunday, 19th April, 5:00 pm at the (newly renovated) trailer
We are celebrating the success of the plant sale as well as providing an opportunity for us all to meet and build community in our community garden. Trisha Shirey will be there to answer gardening questions and sell and autograph her books.
Free Compost Tea
Available in the South Greenhouse this Weekend April 11-12!
What is the stuff in the blue barrel in the greenhouse? Compost tea! The compost tea is brewed in the barrel to enhance the growth of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) in the compost to produce a liquid fertilizer that can be used as a foliar feed or a soil drench. The brewing process is fairly straight forward. Initially, a few cups of compost that has been maintained at high temperatures (>150 F) is added to a mesh sock in the barrel of filtered water, and the water is aerated for a day or so. This step is done because tap water rather than rain water is used to brew the compost tea. The organic material in the compost reacts with the residual chlorine (chloramines) in the water that may inhibit microbial growth. Next, a few cups of worm castings is added to the mesh sock and a cup of molasses is added to the water. The tea is then brewed (aerated) for another 24-48 hours. The worm castings provide a fresh source of microorganisms, and the molasses is a food source which helps them rapidly reproduce in the vigorously aerated barrel.
So what do you do with compost tea? You can use compost tea as a foliar feed to give your plants a quick boost of micronutrients and help fend off plant disease. To apply as a foliar feed, it is best to apply the tea in the early morning or the late evening when the stomata are open. This also helps to ensure you don't burn your seedlings. This method is most beneficial for plants with tender leaves, like young seedlings or new growth. Of course, this method doesn't necessarily help build your soil structure, so you can also use the compost tea as a soil drench to get those microbes into the root zone. A gallon of compost tea goes a long way - it can contain up to 10 million microbes per milliliter! So you don't need to use a whole lot on one plant to really boost the microbial content of your soil. A gallon (undiluted) should be enough to cover 2,000 square feet.
You don't necessarily have to dilute the compost tea, but it does make it easier to apply evenly across the garden. It is best to use the compost tea as soon as possible after taking it out of the brewer since the oxygen will be used up rapidly. This will ensure you get the most microbes as possible!
A copy of The Compost Tea Brewing Manual by Elaine R. Ingham has been placed in the trailer. It has some very good information and will answer many questions you may have. Compost tea will be available this Saturday and Sunday in the south greenhouse while supplies last (please limit to gallon per full plot).
Berk, a fellow gardener, has access to bamboo poles. If any one would like some, please let Ila know. If enough of you answer yes, then knowthey will be in front of the tool shed where we leave other items for gardeners.
There are several moisture meters in the tool shed for you to use to test the moisture level in your soil to be sure that your plants actually need to be watered.
Please read the instructions, clean and return to the tool shed after use.
For Your Mowing Pleasure
There are two new lawnmowers.
The oil will be checked so you don't have to check it. The gardeners should never really need to think about the oil unless there is something odd happening, such as oil flowing out all over the mower deck.
The following are words of wisdom and experience regarding our lawnmowers given by our mowers.Gardeners really need to pay attention to the following:
- Be careful mowing next to the fence and around obstacles. I think this is where we have lost most of our mowers.
- Pay attention when mowing. People don't seem to realize they are using a power tool. Act like this is your mower. You are responsible for it. These are expensive mowers.
- The mowers are set at a suitable height for most tasks.
- If you do need to adjust the mower to cut lower please raise it back up when you are done mowing.
Events of Interest
Friday, April 10, 3 PM to 6 PM
Saturday April 11, 2 PM to 5 PM
Hampton Branch at Oak Hill, 5125 Convict Hill Rd., 512-974-9900
On Friday, April 10th and Saturday, April 11th Austin Public Library will be hosting our annual Rebate Austin! Our annual info fair allows folks to take a personal look at what the city has to offer homeowners and renters and meet the folks who put out Austin's rebates and freebees. Attendees walk away with all kinds of freebees as well as a clear grasp of what rebates are accessible for their personal situation and a better grasp of the application process!
Learn about how to get free fire alarms, rain barrel rebates, composting rebates, water heater rebates, clothes dryer rebates and solar panel rebates and more! Learn about the Electric Vehicle Program and where you can take free Xeriscaping classes and pick up free mulch!
This year, Rebate Austin! will take place over two days to ensure you have the most chances to learn about rebate opportunities in Austin. Both days, the Fire Department will have a truck on-site for families to explore as well as their Fire Safety House, a fire-safety simulation trailer, where folks can learn how fires spread and fire safety techniques for the whole family.
Alternative Methods of Gardening
Thursday May 14, 2015 - 10 a.m. to noon
If you have limited garden space or time yet still have a desire to nurture your green thumb, Master Gardener Pat Mokry will teach you how to raise carefree veggies, herbs and flowers using self-sufficient grow boxes. Then, for some more 'new' gardening techniques, Master Gardener Marian Stasney will describe the ancient practices of both keyhole gardening and hugelkultur.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Travis Co, 1600-B Smith Road, Austin
Cost: $10/seminar for early registration; $15/seminar for late or on-site
Contact: Daphne Richards, 512-854-9600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Things to Plant in April
All month: Amaranth, Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Muskmelon, Okra, Peppers, Pumpkin, Southern Peas, Squash, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Tomato transplants, Watermelon.
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey email@example.com
- Vice-President - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary - Ginny Heilman email@example.com
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Michael Hall email@example.com
- Director - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - vacant
- Zone 1, Jody Trendler email@example.com
- Zone 2, Katy Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 3, Ludmila Voskov email@example.com
- Zone 4, Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 5, Mary Gifford email@example.com
- Zone 6, Charlotte Jernigan firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 7, Jing Li email@example.com
- Zone 8, Irina Kaducova firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 9, Cheryl Hazeltine email@example.com
- Zone 10, Christopher Schroder firstname.lastname@example.org
- Weekly Weeder Newsletter - Margaret Powis email@example.com
- Plant Sale - Michael Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- TSBVI Liason & Volunteer Coordinator - Janet Adams jartdaht@gmailcom
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Water Leak Repairs - Stewart Nichols email@example.com
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert email@example.com
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder