Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
30 July 2014
Several rabbits have been spotted around the gardens. Rabbits reproduce very rapidly, like... well rabbits, and can quickly overrun the garden eating a lot of vegetables. A female can reproduce up to five or six times a year and produce up to 7 babies at a time. That's a lot of rabbits. There's no such thing as a safe sustainable number of rabbits. If you see any, or see any damage done by them contact Stuart Nichols at email@example.com.
Khaki Weed Update
Khaki weed continues to thrive. If you're not familiar with this tropical weed there are several sites on the internet talking about it and identifying it. The main problems are the seeds which are small, spherical and covered in very hard spines, this is how it moves around the garden. Several pathways in the garden are infested with khaki weed. Get it now before it goes to seed.
One of the responsibilities of being a gardener at Sunshine is keeping pathways safe for our members and the public, including the differently enabled. This includes clearing the long weeds from the path and ensuring your garden doesn't stray into the path.
Hot Weather Gardening
There are several things a gardener can do to relieve some of the stress on plants during the summer.
Sunshine soil that has not been amended is basically black clay. Clay drains slowly, absorbs water slowly and if it dries becomes so hard that plant roots have a difficult time penetrating the soil. Compost dug in during the spring will help. If it's too late for that compost can be added to areas near established plants, (be careful not to invade established root zones). As the plants grow the roots will move into the composted area. Aeration is improved, internal drainage is enhanced and roots are able to more thoroughly fill the soil and mine its nutrients. Additionally soil will retain the moisture more easily.
The other factor to consider during summer is watering. A bed that is covered with mulch will retain the moisture much longer and help the soil stay a few degrees cooler. Water on bare soil evaporates rapidly, but water that filters through mulch will last much longer. There are many different types of mulches available but the leaves from Sunshine's leaf pile will do the trick. The advantage of the leaves (besides being free) is that they will gradually break down and add humus to your soil.
There is no way the garden will escape the hot weather in a Texas summer but by taking precautions we may alleviate some of the worst the summer has to offer.
Have you ever thought you might like to grow rhubarb but dismissed it because it's too hot in central Texas. Skip Richter, who used to be the County extension head, has a fascinating article on growing rhubarb in Austin on the web. Just google Skip Richter and Rhubarb to find it. Basically you grow it from seed, starting in August, and treat it as an annual.
Events of Interest to Gardeners
An interesting discussion of homemade weedkillers versus glyphosate found on the facebook page of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab. Something to think about in the long hot summer when it's too hot to garden. http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2014/06/salt-vinegar-and-glyphosate/
7th August, 2014, 10am - noon Backyard Basic Composting
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 Smith Road.
Cost: $10 ($15 after 7/28 and onsite)
Cathy Wood, Master Gardener and compost specialist, will cover the ingredients needed for quality compost, how to build an effective compost pile, and how to use the result to increase the fertility of your soil.
Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604.
Insect Visitors in Your Garden
16th August 16 10:00 am
Zilker Gardens Admission: $2.00.
2220 Barton Springs Rd
Update your understanding of good bugs and bad, with Master Gardeners Pat Mokry and Sheryl Williams. Pat, an entomology specialist, will describe the common insect visitors to your garden, and help you determine if and how you should treat for them. Following identification of beneficial insects, Sheryl will then share a fascinating project she has constructed to attract insects into her garden for observation, pollination and just plain fun. Don't miss these two lively, informative ladies! This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior.
Rebates for Compost, Mulch and Aerating:
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.
A site with a multitude of links of interest to gardeners in Central Texas: http://gardeninglaunchpad.com/Aus.html
Vegetables to plant in July
Mid - Late Month: Amaranth, Okra, Chinese Long Beans, Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Southern Pea, Tomatoes, Winter Squash.
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice-President - Janet Adams email@example.com
- Secretary - Ginny Heilman firstname.lastname@example.org
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds email@example.com
- Director - Michael Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Director - Linda Francescone 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