Welcome to the 2013 Pratt Nature Center Garden Blog

Welcome to the Pratt Nature Center 2013 community garden blog. Your blogger is Cathy Setterlin. This summer I am mentoring 5 Pratt Center community garden families as part of the UConn Master Gardener program. So far, they have all planted their 10’ x 10’ plots – no small feat given the rain, heat, and even frost this past month, not to mention the weeds that grew up in their plots before planting. Now we’re waiting for their seeds to sprout.

The purpose of this blog is to answer questions, share concerns, and offer tips about vegetable gardening throughout the growing season. Even though my focus is on these five gardens, anyone reading this blog is welcome to participate. Ask your question or raise your concern in the comment section. We will all learn from each other.

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  • Joanne Sterk

    Hello! My name is Joanne and my family is one of the families participating in the community garden this year. My goal was to try and harvest the vegetables used the most in our house.

    Last Sunday, before the rains came, I planted many seeds in the 10′ x 10′ area. I am using concept of square foot vegetable gardening. I planted squash, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, sugar pumpkin, eggplant, watermelon (at the plea of my daughter), green beans, and peanuts (really wanted to try and completely make my own peanut butter but I think we are too far North for any good harvest of peanuts). I originally made my garden plan in April and then was delayed in May from planting (which was a good thing once the frost came).

    I also planted kale, arugula and spinach. They will never make it this late in this year, so all of those will now be harvested for microgreens until mid-summer when I will plant for a fall harvest.

    The only plants I put in are tomatoes – one cherry and one “regular”.
    After the rains, I checked on the seedlings today (didn’t need to water until today which was nice). This ex-city girl can’t tell the difference between the weeds and the vegetables!! I will continue to water twice daily this week unless there is rain and hope to distinguish the veggies from the weeds by next week with Cathy’s help 🙂
    Also, today we added marigolds and sunflowers; the marigolds to help the tomatoes and look pretty, but the sunflowers we will harvest the seeds if they make it.
    Follow me on my journey!

  • Joanne

    It’s been a few weeks. Seeds: squash, arugula, peanut, peas, carrots, green beans, cucumbers, sugar pumpkin, watermelon, sunflowers and marigolds are up. Eggplant, celery, peppers and swiss chard did not make it (I blame it on the downpours that followed in the days after I planted). I have planted pepper and eggplant plants as I still wanted to try them. About a week ago, I planted another row of carrot seeds and tried again for swiss chard as well as another 2 squash plants as they didn’t all germinate.
    Problems the last few weeks (1) identification. I couldn’t tell what a green bean (it’s the thing that got eaten) vs a weed. Thank you Cathy and Google Images for assistance! (2) weeds weeds weeds. After identifying what needed to stay, I had to remove all that shouldn’t stay!! Took hours and the arugula was the most painstaking as it was all over a 2 ft area and I needed to take a lot of care in weeding. (3) watering. I was very busy at work the last two weeks and the plants needed water more often. Only side effect, the pepper plants I bought are also wilting when I arrive to water. Since there is a very baby pepper on one, I have tried to go more often!
    The tomato plants both have fruit starting following flowering. The peppers had flowered and appears to be one lone pepper growing. The pumpkin is growing like Jack’s beanstalk!! I have decided to try staking it as it was clearly going to run out of space.
    Within a few weeks, I will harvest the arugula and plant some fall kale or spinach in it’s place. And I hope to have some tomatoes soon. Next the squash should flower and produce as well as the cucumbers.
    Now to go do that rain dance!!

  • Joanne

    Woohoo! First zucchini was ready today! The last few trips have yielded a handful of arugula and a few sungold tomatoes. I’m battling powdery mildew on the pumpkin plant which is growing the first pumpkin. I attacked it today with 1 part milk and 9 parts water sprayed on both sides of the leaves and stems of the plant. Infected leaves were removed as well as many squash bug eggs underneath the leaves.
    I am enjoying my trips to the nature center to care for the garden as well as watching the campers’ gardens growing. It really is amazing to see what will grow from a seed.

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