Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
15 October 2014
TSBVI Fall Plant Sale
From Wednesday, October 15th thru Saturday the 18th the nursery will be selling:
- Cool weather vegetables and flowers in four inch pots:
Broccoli - Marathon Brussels Sprouts - Jade Cross Broccoli - Packman Kale - Red Russian Cabbage - Emerald Cross Kale- Vates Dwarf Blue Cabbage - Ruby Perfection Artichoke - Green Globe Cauliflower - Snowball Pansies Cauliflower - Veronica/Romanesco Viola - Penny Lane
- An assortment of four inch succulents including: Ghost Plant, Echeverias, Panda Plant, and Paddle Plant
- Hearty plants and house pants in various sizes: Aloe, Pothos ivy, Agave, Purple Heart, Spider Plant/Hen-and-Chickens
Prices are based off of pot size. All four inch pots are $2 each.
Wednesday, October 15th 11am-6pm
Thursday, October 16th 11 am to 4 pm
Friday, October 17th 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday, October 18th 9 am to 4 pm
Where: TSBVI Greenhouse - park at Sunshine Community Garden, at 4814 Sunshine Dr. Walk toward the back of the garden and go through the gate to get to the greenhouse.
The Fall Plant Sale is a fundraiser for the Horticulture work training program of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
For more information contact Nicole at 512-206-9369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Should We Care about our Garden Soil?
Why do we need to prepare our garden soil before putting our transplants and seeds in? After all isn"t the soil there just to prop the plants up? Once the plant can be held upright can"t we just apply fertilizer to make the plant grow? Well no and no. If our soil is not healthy then our plants will not be healthy. In many ways the soil is the most important thing in our vegetable garden. Yes we still need to apply fertilizer but without a healthy soil the fertilizer cannot work as effectively.
Growing any plant means taking part in a system. One element cannot be isolated from another element, ultimately the whole system has to work together to get the best results. You may have seen references to the soil web, and that refers to the intricate relationship between the inert elements, sand, clay, loam etc, the organisms that inhabit the soil, and the humus.
To get to know our garden soil we have to go back to the geology of the region. In central Texas there are three types of soil: one is the limestone of the Edwards Plateau, two the deep black clay of the plains, and the third the gravel coastal plain that was under water until relatively recently, geologically speaking. Sunshine is in the deep black clay area. Clay has advantages and disadvantages, it is actually full of important minerals, but the disadvantage is it is hard for the plants to extract the minerals because clay structure is very dense and does not give up it"s minerals easily. The first thing a gardener needs to do is to add humus in the form of compost, leaves, etc. As the plant material breaks down it forms a sponge-like substance that gradually penetrates the clay, forcing the particles apart. This allows water, and the roots of plants to move through the soil, and most importantly makes trace mineral elements available to the plants. All this is a process, eventually the compost will decompose into non-existence and the soil will revert to just clay. Texas, because of our high temperatures in the summer, does not keep humus in the soil for long. This means the gardener must continue to add compost all year and every year. You may reach the ideal balance one year but by the next the balance is lost, until you add more compost.
Another important element in the soil is the organisms that inhabit the soil. The most obvious organism that we can see easily is worms. Worms eat the plant material and excrete a combination of humus and soil particles. This effectively breaks down the plant material and mixes it with mineral elements that enriches and improves the texture of the soil. Other organisms include, bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, and protozoa. Several of these capture and fix nitrogen in the soil, an element that is lacking in Central Texas soils. So the soil has to provide a suitable environment for the organisms to exist, which in turn provides elements the plants need to reach their full potential.
The third main component of good soil is oxygen. A good soil that allows plant roots to develop to its fullest also contains oxygen. The soil organisms need oxygen for healthy development. If you"ve heard that you shouldn"t walk on wet clay soil the reason is that this compresses the soil minimizing the oxygen in it. A light fluffy soil is indicative of the soil system working in the best way. This also provides the best medium for the roots of the plants to develop, leading to a great amount of nutrition available to the plants, and ultimately to the best plants.Inline image 3
They are rising again. They tend to go deeper in the ground during the summer to avoid the heat. There is "Come and Get it" bait in the tool shed. Please read the instructions for application. Place the bait around the mound not on it. Use a moderate amount (follow instructions) and return to shed after use. This bait is approved for organic vegetable gardens.
More TSBVI News
Do you want to spread your knowledge to TSBVI students? If you would be interested in talking to a class about the chickens, bees, or maybe something else get in contact with Nicole, at email@example.com.
Check out Phillip Poole and Charlotte Jernigan's paths around their gardens. They have both done a fantastic job of removing weeds and covering the path with wood chips. Yeah Sunshiners!
T-Shirt design contest for Sunshine Community Garden
T-shirt design guidelines:
- One color design
- Must include "Sunshine Community Garden"
- Nothing offensive
- Design to be on front of shirt
Designs need to be submitted by October 31, 2014 at midnight.
Please submit via email or in person to any Board member.
Designs will be voted on for the following five days, online, until November 5 at midnight.
If possible we will also have them available to view at the garden for your consideration.
Any questions? Contact a Board member. Contact information on the website and also in each Weeder.
T-shirts, ideally, will be ready for purchase on December 6 for our Holiday meeting/potluck/party.
Events of Interest to Gardeners
Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 10:00 am.
A talk by Michael Warriner of Texas Parks and Wildlife about "Bumblebees of Texas"
Although bumblebees are one of the most recognizable and well-liked of all insects we encounter in our yards, we probably don't know a lot about these flying balls of fur. What value do they have in our garden and ecosystem? How can we make our gardens attractive to these pollinators? For more information check out the Natural Gardener website.
A site with a multitude of links of interest to gardeners in Central Texas: http://gardeninglaunchpad.com/Aus.html
Vegetables to plant in October
Early to Mid Month: - Arugula, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Kohlrabi.
All Month: - Beets, Chard, Collards, Garlic, Kale, Mustard, Multiplier Onion, Radish, and strawberries
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