The Children’s Vegetable Garden is for the birds! In a GOOD way, of course. Last week I mentioned the purple martin birdhouses that were at the garden, and I was asked by a reader if they didn’t bother the harvest. Purple martins are insectivores, and eat bugs—as they are flying, actually—so they are good birds to have around a garden. They do need a good glide path to their house…at least 40’ of clear space…so I can’t have a house in my backyard for them unfortunately—there are too many trees. But I love seeing them at the Botanical Gardens every Saturday. (And I do think about putting a purple martin house up in my front yard….)
Click here for a great article from the Maryland Cooperative Extension on purple martins.
This week—more birds! This week’s Junior Master Gardener speaker, Kim Rocha spoke about backyard chickens and brought some visitors along with her:
Our gardeners had fun learning about them AND meeting them. If you are interested in reading more about raising chickens, click here for some information from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension –there is some great information and pictures here!
Also, there is a Facebook page for Texas A&M AgriLife Poultry Extension you may want to like and follow if you are on Facebook. Click here for that link.
OK, enough with the birds for now, and back to the garden. We are in maintenance mode, and regular maintenance helps ensure a good harvest. Our gardeners start out by removing old blooms from flowers, checking for (and disposing of) bugs on all the plants in the bed, and trimming off leaves that are touching the ground or shading nearby plants.
We also did a bit of decoration…with Fiesta approaching, we attached streamers to the tomato cages. Do streamers deter birds from approaching? Click here an interesting paper from Okinawa University that discusses how Japanese farmers keep birds away from their crops and it does mention plastic bags, streamers, and streamers from reflective tape as well as other methods.
Our gardeners pinched back their ‘Genovese’ Sweet Basil, and took the fresh tips home to cook with. They also got to take home some spearmint leaves from this bed:
There are many varieties of mint, all of which grow very easily here…definitely worth giving it a try if you are interested in trying to grow herbs. We grow spearmint and chocolate mint at the CVG. If you read our agenda, you will see that we also irrigated/hand watered, check to see that no roots were exposed on our plants, and applied some pesticide. Our agendas do an excellent job of clearly explaining what we do each week, have a look at all of them under the Children’s Vegetable Garden Agendas tab at the top of this page.
Here’s our end of day picture:
Many thanks to Alexis Moreno for providing the vegetable garden pics for today’s blog.
Stay dry…there’s more rain coming…
Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners
With the recent nighttime hailstorm, Richard Alcorta posted this picture on the Bexar County Master Gardener facebook page….he had bird netting protecting his vegetable bed, and it also protected it from some of the hail. Cool picture! Want to join our Facebook public group? You don’t have to be a master gardener to be in it: click here.