Garden Journal: Week of 7/4

Erica here with the weekly garden update! There’s a lot to report on, so here we go!

Well, our week in the garden started off a bit rough – the intense storms that have been rolling through the area recently really did a number on the garden.

the washout from the weekend storms

Textural evidence of the torrential rainstorms of this past week.

We lost a good amount of mulch from the paths, and many plants needed to be righted, resupported, and the beds surrounding them needed to be reformed and retamped, but it doesn’t appear that we lost any plants! So, much of this week was devoted to recovery.

Throughout the week, I worked on some micrograding of problem areas where the water collected to excess. A few key areas were built up in the hopes that they will now shed runoff in a slower and more even manner. Following meetings with Rachael and Nancy, it has been decided that a stormwater action plan will need to be drawn up in the near future and management projects implemented to reduce further damage.

Hats off to Davis who single-handedly remulched over 1/4 of the garden during our Saturday workday!

We are also currently dealing with the problem of veggie theft in the neighboring Coleman Garden as well as in the UVa Student Garden over by O’Hill Dining Hall. We are asking everyone to please keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in the gardens and to call the UVa Police (who are aware of the situation) if any unauthorized veggie collecting is spotted. So far, thieves have decimated the Student Garden’s garlic, eggplant, and cabbage crops, and have wiped out the Coleman Garden’s ripe zucchini and tomatoes.

On a brighter note, as it always happens in the garden, with the rain came new surprises, incredible growth, and breathtaking color! Flowers and buds appeared on the buckwheat, pleurisy, and sesame!

The cotton is budding out and we have a wonderful resurgence in our flax and marshmallow blossoms!!

And whew!, did we all heave a big sigh of relief to see the passionflower finally rallying!

We also had a lot of wee critter activity in the garden this week. Our crusade against the japanese beetle and invasive stinkbug continue, and the aphid has also been added to our list of foes. Luckily we are having a bit of good fortune in the latter department, with the assistance of friendly ladybugs. We’ve also found many pollinators (yippee!) and a few curious bug oddities, like the shed grasshopper exoskeleton on the left below.

To wrap up the week, we had a delicious dinner at Vaughan House on Friday, celebrating the bounty of the garden with some great friends, and then held a very successful workday on Saturday. We got some vital weeding and mulching accomplished, sorted through our tool stock, and readied the greenhouse for the next phase of garden activity!

Tune in over the next few weeks, as we build more trellises, create more permanent signage, and work on the design and layout of new spaces for tool and material storage.

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2 Responses to Garden Journal: Week of 7/4

  1. Jim Mooney says:

    Is it possible that the culprits are squirrels and/or rabbits? My personal experience with squirrels is that, once they develop a taste for something they have sampled out of sheer curiosity, they can be voracious consumers. The ones in my yard love tomatoes, especially just as the fruit is ready for picking. My advice: plant extra for them!

    Jim Mooney, Darden ’66

    • tjdemogarden says:

      Hi, Jim. We are certainly wrestling with squirrels (Erica sewed our blackberry netting shut with monofilament!)–but we believe that the disappearance of many crops including garlic, eggplant, cabbage, zucchini, and tomatoes is a result of human intervention. Unknown parties wielding large sacks have been sighted in the gardens, and we hope that raising awareness of the gardens’ educational value to the University and Charlottesville communities will help to dampen the problem. Thanks for your thoughts!!

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