Posts tagged garden tasks

Winter Gardening work-shop Aug 30th 5:30 to 7:30 2012

Summer is coming to a close so it’t time to put in your winter garden.

The folks at Fresh Roots are the experts that are putting on this work-shop.

When: Aug 30 530 to 7:30 pm

Where MOBY Garden 1735 East 11th (2 blocks for the Broadway Sky train)

Workshop by donation.

Please RSVP by emailing:, we want to have enough materials.




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Garden Tasks for May

Plant: basil, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflowers, celery, cucumber, dwarf French beans, leeks, runner beans, tomatoes (late May).

Protect: peas, beans, strawberries.

Sow: beans, beetroots, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, parsnip, pumpkin, lettuce, peas, radishes, rocket/arugula, spinach, spring onions, sprouting broccoli, sweet corn, turnips.

Put up: runner bean frame work

Remove: summer-fruiting raspberry flowers

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March Newsletter

Check it out!  Link to MOBY March 2012 Newsletter.

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Build your soil with cover crops.

Definition: A cover crop is a type of plant grown to suppress weeds, help build and improve soil, and control diseases and pests. Cover crops are also called “green manure” and “living mulches.”

They’re called “green manure” because they provide nutrients to the soil much like manure does. And as “living mulches,” cover crops prevent soil erosion.

Once grown, cover crops are usually mowed and then tilled into the soil.

Also Known As: living mulch, green manure

Hardy legumes increase soil nitrogen and organic matter. After a slow fall start, they grow rapidly in March and April and may not mature until May in some regions. Mow these cover crops in spring at or before flowering, then till them under.

Field pea (Pisum arvense and P. sativus). Grows 6 inches to 5 feet high; hardy to 10 to 20� F. ‘Austrian Winter’ pea is low growing and late maturing. ‘Magnus’ grows to 5 feet. Sow 2 to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum). Grows 1 to 2 feet high; hardy to 20° F. Will regrow after cutting. Produces high amounts of nitrogen. Sow 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Crimson clover (T. incarnatum). Grows 18 inches high; hardy to 10° F. Matures late and fixes less nitrogen than other clovers. Attracts bees. Sow 1/2 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If allowed to go to seed, can become weedy.

Dutch white clover (T. repens). Grows 6 to 8 inches high; hardy to -20° F. Perennial and shade tolerant so may become weedy. Sow 1/2 to 1 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa). Grows to 2 feet high; hardy to -15° F. Hardiest annual legume. Tolerates poor soil, matures late. Sow 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Fava beans (V. faba). Grows 3 to 8 feet high; hardy to 15° F. Bell bean is a shorter (3-foot) relative. Sow 2 to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

The tropical legumes below grow quickly in fall to increase soil nitrogen and add abundant organic matter, but need warm growing conditions. Plant in late summer or early fall in the Southeast and Southwest before winter cover crops. These are best grown as summer annuals in the North.

Sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea). Grows 5 to 6 feet high; hardy to 28° F. Needs same growing conditions as corn. Cut or mow before stems become woody. Can also reduce nematodes. Sow 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Sesbania (S. macrocarpa). Grows 6 to 8 feet high; hardy to 32° F. Grows like sunn hemp, but more tolerant of flooding, drought, salinity, low fertility. Sow 1 pound per 1,000 square feet.

Cowpea (Vigna sinensis). Grows 1 to 2 feet high; hardy to 32° F. Tolerates poor and acidic soils. Prefers humidity and tolerates drought. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Grasses grow quickly, tolerate cold, increase organic matter, and improve the structure of compacted soils. They also control erosion but don’t increase nitrogen. Mow these annual grass cover crops in spring before seeds set, or till under.

Oats (Avena sativa). Grows 2 to 3 feet tall: hardy to 10 to 20° F. Produces least organic matter of grasses, but tolerant of wet soils. Sow 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare). Grows 2 to 3 feet tall; hardy 0 to 10° F. Fast maturing and tolerant of dry and saline soils: intolerant of acidic soil. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). Grows 2 to 3 feet high; hardy to -20° F. Fast growing and tolerates flooding. Absorbs excess nitrogen from soil. Can become weedy. Sow 1/2 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Winter rye (Secale cereale). Grows 4 to 5 feet tall; hardy to -30° F. Best grass for cold winter climates: tolerant of low fertility, acidic soils. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.


Thanks to:


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Year-Round Kitchen Garden Harvest Workshop! NOW Aug 23

Come learn how to extend your kitchen garden growing season into a year-round harvest. Also learn about great cover crops that will feed your soil so, come spring time, your garden’s soil is healthy enough to feed you! Some overwintering transplants and seeds will be available too.

When: Monday, August 22 6pm-8pm Now August 23
Where: MOBY garden 1735 East 11th Ave
Who: Ilana from Fresh Roots Urban Farm
By donation (suggested $5, no one turned away)

FYI the winter cauliflower photo came from the UBC farm blog- beautiful!

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Harvesting Garlic 101

When to Dig and Harvest Your Garlic Bulbs

Once the tops of your garlic plants start to die back and turn a bit golden, it might just be time to  harvest.

When you see the leaves starting to decline (droop a bit), stop watering. I know this is impossible if it rains, but do the best you can. This dry  spell will help to cure the garlic.

When to harvest garlic is a judgment call, but basically it’s ready to go when the lower leaves start to brown. I check by digging a few bulbs and if it looks the right size on 2 or 3 I start digging them all out; or at least the ones I plant at the same time. I plant garlic from October to January. The taste of yummy garlic seems to have me planting more garlic later in the season. Really can you plant too much garlic?

Harvesting too soon will give you smaller cloves that don’t store well. Leave the bulbs in the ground too long and the cloves may be bursting out of their skins, making them unstorable and open to disease.

How to Harvest Garlic

Always dig your garlic, never try and pull it. You may have planted a small clove, but the bulb is now several inches deep with a strong root system.

I either use a fork to a small trowel. The fork helps me loosen the soil and shake free the bulbs. A sliced bulb can still be used, but it can’t be stored.

Prepping your garlic for storage:

  • Brush off any soil clinging to the bulbs. Leave the stalks and roots on the bulbs, while they dry. I just them lay on my patio table… check the weather report for no rain.
  • Allow the bulbs to cure, or dry, for three to four weeks in either a well-ventilated room or a dry, shady spot outside. Sunlight can change the flavour of fresh garlic.
  • Once the tops and roots have dried they can be cut off.
  • You can also further clean the bulbs by removing the outer skins. Just be careful not to expose any of the cloves.

How to Store Garlic

Keep your garlic is a cool (32 degrees F – 40 degrees F) dark place where it will still get some air circulation. Braiding and hanging garlic is a good way to keep it, but don’t hang it in the kitchen, where it will be in bright light. You could also store your garlic in a mesh bag or dish.

Softneck varieties of garlic can be stored for 6 – 8 months. Check periodically to make sure it is not going soft or sprouting.

Hardneck varieties may dry out, sprouting or go soft within 2-4 months. Keeping hardnecks at 32oF sometimes helps them survive for up to 7 months without deteriorating.

Enjoy your Garlic!

Thank you to all the sources that have such great info are garlic harvesting.





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Pruning Workshop Jan 23 or Feb 6.

Explore the basics of pruning and tree care with Laura Ralph, ISA Certified Arborist and owner of Alive and Well Organic Gardening. Learn how to prune with clear objectives and an understanding of how trees will respond to pruning cuts. After the indoor presentation, participants will look at pruning examples in the park. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

Where:Burrardview Park Community Room, 650 N. Penticton St, Vancouver, BC

Sunday January 23, 1 – 4 pm
Sunday Februay 6, 1 -4 pm


$35 (Pre-registration required)

Sign up:

Email Laura Ralph at or call 604-215-0232.

What people have said about past workshops:

“People are still talking about the workshop – how much they learned and how wonderful it was. There was a real hunger there I thought. Many people have commented that it was “fantastic”, “amazing”, & that they learned “tons”. Lots of people commented also on your breadth of knowledge, gentleness, & love of trees” Jill Weiss (after pruning workshop to gardeners of Cottonwood and Strathcona Community Gardens)

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