Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Volunteers Welcome -- Weeds, Not So Much


A post from AndrĂ©e Zaleska
Urban Grower, Bountiful Brookline

It's been extremely wet this Spring, with bursts of warmth and sunshine. This is good for the startup of the garden, bringing up an abundance of growth--early lettuces, kale and spinach are all ready to harvest and eat now. Weediness is a challenge in this weather however. My advice is to weed your garden every twelve hours. 

Just kidding.

You really do need to weed, but here are a couple of tips. If you get the weeds while they are little, you don't need to do much other than agitate the soil or break off their stems, and they'll die. You can do this by hand, or with a tool like a hoe. I'm in love with the "hula hoe"-- a sharpened, open hoe with a hinge on it, that cuts the stems of weeds. 

Really go after anything that climbs, especially the notorious "Dog Strangling Vine" (vincetoxicum rossicum), a plant which I consider my mortal enemy. It is starting to acquire a status in the Northeast like kudzu in the South, literally destroying whole swaths of native plants. You'll see it climbing on every fence around town if you look for it.

With plants like the Dog Strangling Vine, and many others, it can be hard to pull up the roots. You can do several things in this case: Keep cutting back the stem at the base. Be vigilant, and it will eventually die. If you can, cut back the stem and then pour some white vinegar or boiling water on the stem--this considerably reduces the chances of the weed surviving.

We can use your help! We have weeding to do, but also tasks like watering, and help with planting and harvesting. One side benefit to volunteering with Bountiful Brookline is that you'll get a free education in home gardening. We have a couple folks already working weekly with me who are learning the craft this way. (I myself got much of my education in gardening by volunteering with the Food Project.) I work every Tuesday and Friday in the two BB garden in Brookline village. If you would like to set up a time to volunteer, you may email me directly at aczaleska@gmail.com

We also have Work Days coming up on June 16 and July 14, 8-12 am at 40 Webster Place.  Join us at any time to work with friendly people, with coffee and pastries provided. 

Lastly, we're starting a new program called Garden Chats. I'll be in the garden at 40 Webster Place on the following mornings, with coffee provided, ready to answer your questions, or give you a tour of the garden. Children are welcome, and can be given tasks! Again, this is a good way to learn the craft of edible gardening. Garden Chats are free for BB member, and $5/person for all others.

Upcoming Garden Chats
40 Webster Place

June 10, Sunday, 9-10:30
June 19, Tuesday, 9-10:30
June 24, Sunday, 9-10:30