Garden Diaries

Chronologically, backwards.

September 6, 2010: Please leave the tomatoes for the life skills kitchen. This week 6th graders will be making Salsa in LS class and dancing the Salsa in PE! If anyone wants to donate ingredients from their garden for the Salsa, Mrs. Rafferty is welcoming any tomatoes, peppers and onions that you can offer. Produce can be dropped off any time in the office this week. Other students will be making Pesto soon and we will be welcoming any homegrown basil that people can spare. Watch the wiki for notices on when.
Reminder: Harvest Fest is October 21, 2010. Please keep an eye on our Harvest Fest Wiki.
August 29, 2010: FYI: The large trap is now in one of the tomato rows.
August 28, 2010: Another woodchuck has been caught and it has been safely removed. There is eveidence of the woodchcuck digging between the boards in the raised beds and under the back fence - the newest offence is that they are reaching up and eating the ripe tomatoes from the bottom. If anyone needs tomatoes, please pick some before the woodchucks get them all! Please leave any lighter orange ones that will ripen next week for the Life Skills kitchen, as well as the onions, the herbs and the melons. All of the onions have been pulled and are drying. There are lots of zinnias to cut.

August 24, 2010: The woodchuck persists! More Critter Ridder was put around the garden today to try to keep the chuck away.
To Harvest: Arugula (perfect), herbs, TOMATOES, zinnias, beans, and some cucumbers.
We are now in possession of a greenhouse frame. Details to follow.
August 15, 2010: There are three traps baited (one inside the fence and two outside). Please check the traps for animals and call a contact number above if you find one. The tomatoes (Romas) need pruning and trellising. I left the ball of twine and a pair of pruners near the faucet under the plant pot. Please make sure to water the blueberry bushes - they are very thirsty! Please leave the onions for the RJH Life Skills kitchen. Sign up for August 15 - 21:

before 9am

Wow! Thanks!

August 14, 2010 I took the chicken wire off the one garden bed with the lettuces. Arugula is ready to be thinned. There are also 2 muskmelons in the corner bed, and cukes are starting. The basil looks great and lots of peppers (jalapeno I think) are coming along. Also, zinnias need to be cut for a great bouquet.

Aug 13, 2010. The Chuck has been relocated to remote location. The trap will be reset.

Thursday, August 12th 7.435pmRebecca here. Just did my watering duty at the garden and there's a woodchuck in the trap near the pumpkin patch. ​ (Having never seen one, I just googled to check that's what I saw! Anyway, it's there rattling the trap a little I guess hoping to get out...although it did go awfully quiet when I turned up!).
Garden Update: Tuesday, August 11, 2012
The garden appears to be recovering from the various assaults of nature. However, more are on the horizon. There are a number of things that need to be done if anyone wants to take them on this week.
To Do:

  1. Continue to prune off blight affected leaves on tomato plants - these leaves need to be thrown in the garbage and not composted.
  2. Tie top parts of tomatoes to the stakes.
  3. The tomatoes are starting to ripen and can be picked and enjoyed.
  4. Trellis the Roma tomatoes with twine to support the top portion of the plants and the fruit. (This is the first row on left as you face the new addition to garden.)
  5. Keep an eye out for the Green Tomato Hornworm - the damage is evident on the last plant in the middle tomato row but will spread. The caterpillars are big (2"-3" inches long and fat - they need to be pulled off and destroyed.
  6. Both the Scarlet Runner (on the head board) and Kentucky Wonder (on the back fence) beans are ready to harvest. The Scarlet Runners are big, hardy beans that can get up to 10" long. Kentudy Wonders do not want to get that big. There is a meal's worth ready of both today.
  7. The chicken wire needs to come off of bed 1 and bed 2. Those beds also need weeding and the plants need thinning.
  8. The hosta flower stalks are spent and need to be pruned off and composted.
  9. The blueberries should be picked and enjoyed.

The woodchuck strikes again! Somehow the woodchuck is still getting into the fenced garden! The traps have been rebaited and set. If anyone has ideas or solutions - please put them into practice! The chuck that was seen on 7/31/10 was HUGE and could not have gotten under the fence. If you see the traps are full, please call Fortier Wild Animal Transport at 431-8533 and post it to the wiki.

Garden Update: Friday, July 30th, 2010

The entire garden has been sprayed for Japanese Beetles with Capt Jack's Dead Bug Brew. Please do not harvest anything from the garden until Sunday, August 1, 2010.

*The Zinnias need cutting and are gorgeous for a bouquet. These (as long as you don't eat them) are fine to cut anytime...the more we cut, the more bloom we will get and the longer into the season they will bloom.

*The two beds with new seedlings (beds 1 & 2 - back left) have been covered with chicken wire after the woodchuck's last strike. Please be generous when watering these beds as the plants have been disturbed and they still have shallow roots.

*The tomatoes are infected with early blight, a common fungus which was responsible (along with late blight) for wiping out most of the regions tomatoes and potatoes last year. We have pruned all of hte affected foliage (which should be thrown into the dumpster - not the compost) and increased the air circulation at ground level. The tomatoes have also been pruned of unwanted suckers and tied to the stakes. Other than some spotty leaves, they look good as do the potatoes.

*Our pumpkins have been wiped out so hopefully someone else has a few Pretty Big Pumpkins up their sleeve!

*We should continue to bait the traps and spread Critter Ridderaround the garden if we want to keep it going. If anyone has the time to do this, please post it so that we can plan.
Garden Update: Thursday, July 29, 2010
We have had several days without any "chucks" being captured but the tops of the new beans in the "bicycle bed" have been eaten. There is also an infestation of Japanese beetles on the beans in the third bed. However, on the upside the taters are looking good.

Garden Update: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We had a successful manuever today! We pulled all of the beans, peas, brassicas and lettuces that were damaged by You-Know-Who; we replanted yellow beans; cabbage (red and green), lettuces, and more cucumbers; we pruned back and tidied the carrots, cilantro, and beats. We moved all of the traps to the outside of the fence and spread repellent around the pumpkins and the fence; we filled the hole that had been dug and secured the bottom of the fence with rocks; we transplanted the basil into the open spots and we weeded and watered.

If anyone has any seeds for broccoli, we would like to plant them now. That is one crop (like the cabbage) which can survive the frost quite well and will give us fresh veggies in the fall.
Also, if anyone has an old mailbox (regular size) we would like to put in inthe garden to hold a pair of pruners and some twine since those things are normally inthe locked shed. Just drop it off at the school and we will get it up.


The woodchucks might have won the battle but we can still win the war...This week we can take the garden back! if you would like to participate, please look at the To Do list below and join the troops Wendesday afternoon (7/21) to clean up and replant the garden. We are also going to secure the raised beds to protect new plants. There are many things that we can replant in time for a bountiful harvest in the fall.

To Do:

In the case of antoher attack we can cage beds that are replanted and treat any plants with repellent that are salvagable.
Prune tomatoes and tie up.

To Harvest: There are green beans ready to pick. Also, the onions are in desparate need of thinning. They are wonderful with the tops trimmed and steamed on the stove top or on the grill with a little olive oil (or butter). Every other one should be pulled so that the ones left can fill out.

If you find a woodchuck in one of our 5 traps, please call one of the contact numbers above or email one of us. Thanks. Fortier WildAnimal Transport Co. is always available. "Chuck #3" was recently discovered by P. Balboni. It was safely transported to an undisclosed animal sanctuary by Fortier Wild Animal Transport.

Green beans are coming in. Make sure to check under the leaves, they hide!

Garden Update: Monday July 12, 2010:
We need to get rid of the wookchuck!! if you have a "HAVAHEART" trap could you please drop it off at the school garden to be baited ASAP. The woodchuck has destroyed the pumpkins, the lettuce, the cauliflower and brusselsprouts,carrots, cilantro and other crops. ANY deterrent is welcome. Bring out your best!

The potatoes have been hilled for the third time.
The cucumbers are in bloom and we will be getting cucumbers next week.

Monday July 5, 2010:
The GARDEN BEDS 1, 2, and 7 (small one with zinnias) has been treated for slugs, beetles and grubs with Sluggo Plus and Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew on Monday, July 5, 2010. Do not harvest from those beds. Both treatments are organic but come with recommendations for delays in harvest and application. Spraying was done on specific plants and not broadcast.

*In addition, another application of Fox urine was applied around the pumpkin patch and the back left corner of the garden outside the fence. Shoes are recommended.
The other beds (on the front and right hand side of the garden) are full of gorgeous veggies that need to be thinned and eaten. Please pull the lettuce out as you harvest and make sure the soil does not get onto the other lettuce.If anyone has the time inclination, the potatoes could use hilling this week. Directions for hilling potatoes are below.

We have begun to plan for the 2010 Harvest Festival - Please let us know if and how you want to be involved.


A week goes from Sunday - Saturday
Week of: Morning /Afternoon
June 20 - 26 O'Connell (am) /Coombs (pm)
June 27 - July 3 Harrisons (am)/Tracy (pm)
July 4 -- 10 Helms (am)/ Schwartzs (pm)
July 11 - 17 Cole (am)/Anderson (pm)
July 18 - 24 Balboni (am)/
July 25 - 31 Coombs/Fortier
August 1 - 7 Reaneys (am)
August 8 - 14Tracy (am)/Harrison(pm)
August 15 - 21

Directions for Garden Care:

Watering: Please look at and test the soil under the mulch to see if watering is needed. (Use the hose provided on the hose reel, taking care with the plastic nozzle and shut off valve (they can break) when returning hose to reel.). Also, make sure the hose does not drag across any of the beds, disrupting the vegetation.

Weeding: There are a few small weeds here and there. Check for labels as we have some small herbs and flowers planted among the larger plants.

Thinning: Radishes, carrots, lettuce,and beets all need regular thinning. (Note: there are carrots planted with the radishes so be careful not to pull them out as you thin.) When you thin, you are pulling out the entire plant to make room for its neighbors. a few inches in between is best for most plants. Head lettuce needs about a foot in between.

Pruning: Prune any "bolting" flower heads from onions, arugula, or parsely will keep them producing. When the lettuces begin to bolt, they will also begin to taste bitter and should be removed from the garden all together. Tomatoes need the "suckers" removed as they form. They will also need to be secured to the grade stakes for support.

Clean Up: There are several plants that have gone by and or are being destroyed. These can be pulled out and put in the compost pile. If they remain in the garden, they are bug bait!

Garden Update: July 3, 2010:

The woodchuck appears to have been foiled inside the fence and so the lettuces and beans that she/he was eatign has recovered. The Fox urine has also bee somewhat effective outside the garden. If you see any damage please let us know via this wiki!
The potatoes have been hilled. Please do not walk down the potato rows. They lieka nd need a good. steady supply of water but we do not want to pack down the soil around them. The hose can be held over the fence if possible.
The Scarlet Runner beans have begun to bloom and to climb the fence. These will produce mid to late summer beans that are long and hardy.
There are m[[file/view/morning_glory_seedlngs.jpg|orning_glory_seedlngs.jpg]] that are up all around the fence - please do not pull as weeds!

Garden Update: June 27, 2010:

If anyone has a woodchuck remedy or repellant, please apply it! We are under attack!
Today fox urine crystals were sprinkled around the perimeter of the pumpkin patch and around the outside of the garden fence. Make sure to wash your hands after handling the hose outside the fence. The fox urine needs to be reapplied later this week.

The woodchuck had done damage inside the fenced garden and outside - pretty much wiping out the pumpkin patch. For inside the garden,there is now an "apron" to the garden gate which should prevent the woodchuck from getting under the gate. The perimeter of the fence seems to be secure.
Ron Fortier repaired and modified our watering system for us, replacing the fitting inside the fence and putting a splitter on the faucet to make it easier to water the shrubs, the peach tree, and the pumpkin patch.
Please make sure that the gate is shut when you leave.
The potatoes are doing wonderfully and will need to be hilled this week. Click here for directions on hilling potatoes. Anyone who wants to help can just show up. The tomatoes are also ready to have more suckers removed and to be tied up again.
The carrots, beets, cilantro in bed 6 need thinning - the beet greens are now big enough to thin and to eat.
Please pick the peas and enjoy them. The peas in bed one are sugar snap - eat pods and all. The peas in bed 2 are "dwarf Gray" and are a pea that you shell - let them get nice and round before picking.
Lastly, we are looking for families to fill in the gaps on our Garden Care schedule.

Garden Update June 18, 2010:

The garden has been treated with
Sluggo Plus
Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew
this morning.Both treatment are organic. Do not harvest any produce until afternoon June 19, 2010. Please report any pests to the wiki.
The garden has also been fertilized with ProGro, an organic fertilizer.

The potatoes have sprouted!! They need to have generous water and please don't walk down those three rows on the right in our new section.
There are 6 new blueberry bushes behind the garden fence and a new peach tree that now need watering.
The cukes and gourds are up in the beds around the edge of the garden.
To Do:
  • There are some weeds in the garden beds which need to be pulled. Please make sure you recognize it as a weed before it gets pulled.
  • In the wakways, the stones are being colonized by Oxalis, a common weed found in lawns, greenhouses and roadsides. It is the pretty, clover-like plant that has little yellow blossoms. If you have the time and inclination, please pull it and compost it. it will take over our garden if left unchecked.

​Thank you to the following groups who have funded the garden this spring:

Rye Driftwood Garden Glub $250
Portsmouth Garden Club $300
New Hampshire Master Gardener Association $300

These funds have allowed us to purchase certified organic compost
A wide selection of seeds as requested by students
Materials for mulching and soil treatment (straw, lime, landscape fabric, etc)
Fencing for the new garden rows
A solar pump for the water garden
Six high bush blueberry bushes and all necessary soil treaments
Organic remedies for pests and disease

The RJH Community Garden Workday - Saturday, June 5, 2010 was a great success! Thank you to everyone who showed up and worked so hard in the heat.

What we accomplished on our workday:
  • Planted 3 dozen tomato plants and assorted herbs
  • Beds were weeded lettuce plants were added
  • Kentucky Wonder beans were planted along back fence
  • Marigolds, Four O'Clocks were planted for decorative accents in all beds
  • Corner beds were topped off, turned and raked
  • Back long beds were topped off, turned and raked
  • Corner and back beds were planted with climbing plants (gourds, cucumbers, etc)
  • Pumpkin bed was prepared with landscape cloth and straw
  • Pretty Big Pumpkins, Casper (white pumpkins) and Sugar Pie Pumpkins were planted and mulched with straw
  • We measured and marked the rows for new garden
  • Soil was cultivated and ditches were dug for raised mounds and for potato rows
    Potatoes were cut and dusted with powdered sulfer for seasoning before planting on Monday.
    Front piece of fence was attached to posts
    More work was done on the water garden which will be ready to landscape and fill this week