Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
9 April 2014
Sunshine Gardens Fire Ant Management Program
Sunshine Community Gardens, in cooperation with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is starting a garden wide fire ant management program. It would be great to have as many garden members as possible participate in the program.
Joining a community wide fire ant baiting effort can help reduce the number of fire ants within the garden as well as increase the number of native ants. By joining together, re-invasion boundaries can be pushed further out causing a longer period of time to elapse before fire ants move back into the area. Studies show that community management can reduce the number of fire ants within the area, reduce the amount of money spent on fire ant management & reduce the amount of chemical placed into the environment.
Sunshine Gardens will be baited on Wednesday April 23, 2014. The rain out date for baiting will be Tuesday, April 29th, 2014. Please turn off sprinkler systems or do NOT water on baiting days.
If you don't wish to be baited, contact Wizzie Brown at 512-854-9606 or email@example.com by Wednesday, April 16, 2014. If you fail to contact Ms. Brown by the above date, then your plot will be baited along with others in the garden on April 23rd.
We will be using a broadcast method to bait the garden area and Sunshine Gardens is supplying the fire ant bait. The fire ant bait being used is ferti-lome 'Come and Get It Fire Ant Bait' which has spinosad as the active ingredient. You can find the label and MSDS sheet for the product here:
Wizzie Brown, Travis Cty Ext, will broadcast bait twice yearly at ideal windows of time. Wizzie will apply at PROPER AMOUNTS (far more lightly and accurately than most gardeners have been doing themselves) for greater efficacy with reduced Spinosad volume. The goal is to make fire ants a thing of the past at our current acreage within a a few seasons of effort.
Ant Video, Handout and Photos
Thanks to our volunteer videographer Charles, via Jack McAvoy, and our web master Sharon Rempert, the video, handout and photos from the "Ant Tea" Wizzie Brown lecture are now on the SCG web site:
The un-edited video footage can be viewed at: Ant Video
The online version of the "organic fire ant management" handout can be found at: Fireant Management Handout
Photographs are on view in SCG Forums.
Site Rules and Bylaws
The Site Rules and Bylaws Committee has has been meeting and discussing how to update the rules and bylaws for several months, and now it's time for the rest of us to give our input. The Committee has revised the Site Rules and amended the Bylaws and the Board has approved them. The newly approved Site Rules went into effect immediately per our existing Bylaws and the membership will have the opportunity to affirm them or repeal them at our annual meeting on May 31. Meanwhile, we will be holding a special meeting for the purpose of voting on the amendments to the Bylaws on April 12 at 10 AM. It is very important that we have a quorum at both meetings. Please put them on your calendar to attend. We have scheduled the special meeting in April so that the amendments may be in effect in time for our elections in May. Among other changes, the amended Bylaws change which positions are up for election each year to better facilitate continuity on the Board. The Site Rules and Bylaws committee agreed that this change should go into effect in time for our upcoming elections if approved by the membership.
You may have questions or comments about the revisions to the Site Rules and amendments to the Bylaws. If so, please feel to contact any of the committee members by email or attend one of our Q&A meetings. You can find these documents and supporting information on our website.
We will vote on the amendments to the Bylaws on April 12 at 10 AM. We will vote on the revised Site Rules at our annual meeting on May 31 at 10 AM.
Q&A meetings for the Bylaws are scheduled for 2 PM on Sunday, April 6, and 6:30 PM on Monday, April 7. We will schedule additional meeting times for the Site Rules after April 12.
The Site Rules and Bylaws Committee is composed of:
- Mary Gifford (chair), firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Janet Adams, email@example.com,
- Cheryl Hazeltine, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Kay McMurry, email@example.com, and
- Philip Wiley, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Purple Martin GourdHouses
A Big thank you to Danny Sinclair - Purple Martin Propagators for installing the purple martin houses at his cost and setting them up at no charge. Danny has been installing this model of bird house for many years. This type of house is recommended for Texas as it is cooler than the metal houses and easier to keep clean than the wooden houses. Check it out.
Thanks also to Mark Wilson for maintaining the purple martin houses at Sunshine.
Organic Soil Amendments
Thanks to Texas Hydroponics and Organics for donating many, many, many bags of organic soil amendments to Sunshine Gardens. Texas Hydroponic and Organics is located on the east side of Burnet - 5605 Burnet Road, between Atomic Tattoo and the Architectural Tile Sign - across the street from Phil's ice house, right before North Loop.
They carry a wide variety of organic seeds/non GMO seeds such as Sweet Garden Organics, High Mowing Seeds, and Johnny's Select Seeds. Additionally, the carry a wide variety of organic soil amendments and specialized equipment.
Stop in to check it out and see Sunshine tomato Plants growing hydroponically and thriving. The owner, Zack Devrow is conducing an interesting experiment to determine whether plants can be successfully grown under LED lights. The control and experimental basil plants have the largest leaves I have ever seen. One leaf can make a bowl of Pesto (just kidding). Website.
His plan is to be at this location until November so go visit when you need a break from gardening.
Notes From the Gardens
Tomato test plot:
Since 2011, the large plot immediately to the north of the entrance to Sunshine Community Garden has been used as a Tomato Test Garden. Eight varieties (3 plants of each) were "tested" each of the past three years. The number of tomatoes produced by each plant were recorded to measure productivity.
As expected, some varieties produced more tomatoes than other varieties. In the spring of 2011, the three Celebrity plants in the test garden produced a total of 141 tomatoes and the three Cherokee Purple plants produced a total of 43 tomatoes. In 2012, three Viva Italia tomato plants produced 494 tomatoes for an average of 164 tomatoes per plants. Last spring, Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye plants produced an average of 28 tomatoes per plant. Since 2011, over 2,400 tomatoes have been harvested from plants in the test garden. Harvested tomatoes were donated to two food pantries; Micah 6 or Eastside Community Connection.
For 2014, a total of 48 tomato plants of 10 varieties have been planted in the Tomato Test Garden. Five plants of the following eight varieties were planted on March 15th.
- BHN602 - red globe, bred in Florida
- Andes - pepper-shaped red paste, French heirloom
- Black from Tula - flatten, dark red globe, Russian heirloom
- Black Krim - flatten, dark red globe, Russian heirloom
- Cream Sausage - creamy yellow paste
- Early Girl - red globe
- Flamme - small orange, French heirloom
- Indigo Apple - black topped, purple globe
In addition, in one row, two paste varieties, Menduni and P. Lunghi Giallo, have been planted. The seeds for these plants were provided by Scott Courcelle and Lindsay Arbuckle of Alchemy Gardens in West Rutland, Vermont. Menduni is a plum-shaped red paste tomato. P. Lunghi Giallo is a long, yellow paste tomato. Both varieties originated from Italy.
Labels will be attached to the cages in the test garden to note the varieties. Gardeners are welcome to walk in the test garden to check on the production of the varieties.
Thanks to Jeff Taylor, Jim Willmann, Randy Thompson and Don Freeman for their work. Stay tuned for progress reports and results of the trials.
Events of Interest to Gardeners
Rebates for Compost, Mulch and
Great news! The City of Austin is offering rebates for things we should all be doing in our yards - mulching plants & trees, and aerating & topdressing our lawns. If you do all three things (according to their rules, of course) you can get as much as $180 back! Buy what you need, and be sure to keep your receipts. For rules and more details, visit the City of Austin's website.
6th Annual Coop Tour celebrates DIY backyard farmers feeding Austin community heart and soul
Check out the new Funky Chicken Coop Tour Headquarters on April 19, 2014, at Sunshine Community Gardens, 4814 Sunshine Drive, Austin, Texas 78756. Enjoy a full day of free family and educational activities, including live poultry, educational booths, and a new speaker series. Don't miss our keynote presentation: "Economic Impact of Austin's Food Sector - and the Importance of Buying Local" at noon!
FCCT has partnered with urban food groups throughout Austin to build a community that supports making healthy, local food available to everyone. The Tour is supporting Keep Austin Fed for a community egg drive on Tour day.
The tour will have 14 coops, including both backyard and community participants. In addition to schools and a farm, a Community First! Village is on the tour. Visitors will see how collaboration between volunteers, artists, and the homeless-and formerly homeless--work to create the Genesis Gardens program.
Maps are $12 each and can be shared with everyone in your touring party. Create your own custom tour, on two wheels or four. You can join the Bicycle Tour de Funky Chickens, hosted by the Austin Cycling Association. Rides for various levels and distances will be available.
This year's tour benefits the New Farm Institute, which is "working to inspire a new generation of sustainable farmers in the urban fringe." FCCT in partnership with the Austin Permaculture Guild will create a food forest for our beneficiary. The tour is an event of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Urban Poultry Association of Texas, Inc. and welcomes your donations.
Report from the Flower Squad
Last Saturday's work day was a big success! Many thanks to Ila, Sharon, Beth and more for helping us haul and spread over 8 bags of rose food and mulch on the garden. Go take a look at the pictures on the forum. If you want to help between the 1st and 3rd Saturday work days, just go to http://bit.ly/scgflowersquad to see the master task list, or call Vickie Flaugher at 512-917-3347 for more info. Everyone is welcome!
April 12 8:30 am until noon, work day before and after the Bylaws meeting. Led by Katy Davis and Ludmila Vostov. Come make our garden look great before the chicken people visit.
Vegetables to plant in April
All month: Snap Bush and Pole Beans, Lima Bush Beans, Cucumber, Muskmelon, Southern Peas, Radish, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Watermelon. Put in Pepper and Eggplant transplants.
Beginning to mid month, Tomato transplants.
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey email@example.com
- Vice-President - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary (acting) - Janet Adams email@example.com
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Michael Hall email@example.com
- Director - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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