September 15 Meeting at Ridgefield Farm

The weather was spectacular and as always the food outstanding. Glenda brought Bread Pudding with apples and cherries (she is such a wonderful cook), Ellen brought her GREAT egg and hash brown casserole, and there was also zucchini bread with cream cheese, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts and doughnut holes and so much more.

Next, Terry talked about the new newsletter emailing format. Sixty people have chosen to remain members of GEG, and Terry passed around a member list to show how contact information will appear in our GEG member directory. If you believe you have signed up for the mailing list but that you are not receiving emails from us, check your spam filter. (Sign up here to be on the GEG Mailing List. If you have already signed up and you need to change your information, enter the email address you used originally, as well the other two required fields, your name and the share option. Instructions will appear as to how to access your profile in order to change it.) If you would like something to be blasted to all of the members, contact Terry at admin@g-e-g.org.

Betty suggested that we include a plant-sharing page on the website to list plants that we wish to give away and to request plants we are looking for. It’s a wonderful idea (and was on the old website), but to do this, someone will have to maintain the page. If you would be willing to do this, please contact Terry. She will work with you and says it is not hard.

Larry will give us a treasurer’s report at the next meeting.

Carol said that Pete is doing well. He had so many broken bones! His spirits are great even though he is still in a wheel chair and will probably be there for a while. If you get a chance call him or go see him.

Mark brought us fig trees, mock orange that doesn’t smell, coneflowers, and iris. Don brought iris.

Mark didn’t get the peacock but it is on order. The male peacock and rooster don’t get along. We’ll see how it works out when the peacock has his own herd.Lessons Learned was the topic for this month. Diana Eldrige prepared a wonderful presentation called:

The Year of Critters

The cover page even had drawings of raccoons and bats. You can tell that Diana is an artist. Diana broke the discussion into topics.

1. PREPARATION

  • First and foremost, get a good audio book if you get bored with this work! Go to Audible.com or your public library.
  • Cover your garden with a heavy felt-like permeable black cover to overwinter bare beds. Look online for companies that carry this. Terry got it at Johnny’s (which no longer carries it).
  • Put a cover crop down but you have to do it really early so that it can germinate before it gets cold and most of us have our fall crops in. Weeds grow up with the cover crop which can defeat the purpose.
  • Collect your leaves, chop them up with your mower, and lay them on top of your garden to be tilled in the spring. Grass clippings, shredded news paper, and mulch also help to keep the weeds down.
  • For all of the critters in your basement, try a dehumidifier. They seem to be drawn to moisture.
  • Use white vinegar on the weeds. Mix half water and vinegar and put it in your sprayer. Someone said it is better to use vinegar straight, and to use the stronger pickling vinegar. Salt and Vinegar also works. It kills and is cheaper than weed killers.
  • Use egg shells and coffee grounds around garden to keep slugs away.
  • Of course, 6-foot fencing and preferably two fences 3 feet apart around the garden is best for deer. Liquid Fence also works but needs to be put down every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Row covers over your cool weather crops works well but you have to take them off when it gets warm or it can lead to fungal problems. Row covers also help winter over some cold weather crops.
  • Netting also helps keep critters off and the air can still flow through. You can use these all summer long.
  • Sevin takes care of the Asian lady bug but is not organic and will kill beneficials too.
  • Carol has found that her dog does not help with deer but does keep ground hogs and rabbits away.
  • We have had plenty of hummingbirds this year but the hornets are chasing them.
  • Terry has found that kaolin clay – sometimes sold as “Surround” – works well to deter stinkbugs and other pests from eggplant, tomato, and pepper plants. Coyote urine on cotton balls under yogurt cups works to keep deer away but you have to do it often.

2. VARIETY

  • You are safer using a variety of different vegetables. What does well one year doesn’t necessarily do the same every year.
  • When you are saving tomato seeds, drain them in a strainer and add a little Dawn. Let it sit for a while before washing off. Again Juliette Tomatoes is a grape tomato that is sweet, disease resistant, and prolific. Terry doesn’t know if it is a hybrid but suggests buying the seeds. You can get this one from Johnny’s also.
  • For an interesting selection of seeds, go to Rareseeds.com.

3. WEED CONTROL AFTER PLANTING

  • Straw and newspaper seemed to be the consensus for controlling weeds.
  • Mark uses heavy applications of grass clippings.

4. LOTS OF HERBS

  • Critters don’t bother herbs much. Bees love marjoram. Fish emulsion will help tarragon get started. Hardy Rosemary really isn’t hardy. Packing straw around plants helps over winter sometimes; Terry found it hurt her rosemary. Little tents that you can get from Bluemont might also protect. Charles Town Products has beautiful herbs in the spring.

5. OTHER

  • Cut out dead wood on blackberry and cut back established blueberry in early spring.
  • Rodger Matter from Millwood will trim your trees.
  • If you give Jimmy Foltz your seeds (Shepherdstown Farmers Market), he will start them and sell the plants back to you.

Next meeting topic is Taking Care of your garden Tools; will send more information on the October 20 meeting soon.

See You There,
Carole Brooks
240-405-7013