Archive for the ‘Sunshine Community Garden’ Category

I’m offering free heirloom pumpkin seeds to the first 50 people who stop by the Guerilla Garden Adventures booth located at the Eco-market in Sardis Park on Wednesday May 6th from 4pm-8pm (45845 Manuel Rd Chilliwack, BC.)
You will have a choice of either “eating pumpkin” seeds or “prize winning gigantic pumpkin” seeds for as long as supplies last. Not sure where you’re going to plant it? Well it is rumored that some people (not to mention any names) are already scoping out unused lots and other public spaces as potential guerilla garden pumpkin patch locations. I cannot for liability reasons condone planting on someone else’s property but I’m just saying…… FREE!……your choice of the following 2 types of pumpkins seeds:

EP – Eating Pumpkin Seeds

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

  An heirloom, these Sugar Pie pumpkin seeds will grow a classic pumpkin that is especially good for pies and canning. Vines develop small slightly ribbed, bright-orange pumpkins that are 6″-9″ in diameter and have the sweetest flavor and finest texture for pies and casseroles.
Matures in 110 days (Open-pollinated seeds)


GP – Gigantic Pumpkin Seeds

Gigantic Pumpkin

One of the largest varieties of pumpkin in the world, seeds from this and related strains are commonly used in pumpkin weigh-off contests. These heirloom giants (the largest fruit of any plant in the world), grow on very large plants, with vines up to 50′ long, so they require lots of room, full sun, and fertile soil to produce the giant pumpkins.
Matures in 110 days (Open-pollinated seeds).
I can personally attest to the fact that these gigantic pumpkins regularly grow to 50-100 pounds and therefore are not considered “Balcony Friendly”.  In 2013 I planted these pumpkin seeds very late in the year (July 1st) and my pumpkin still ended up weighing 74.2 pounds and came in 2nd place in the Operation Pumpkin Patch contest at The Sunshine Community Garden.

2nd Place Pumpkin_2013
Just imagine how big it would have been if I had planted it in May when I was supposed to. It is said that under proper conditions these pumpkins can weigh up to several hundred pounds and I believe it.
Not sure how to go about growing your pumpkins? Here are a few pointers…….

Pumpkin Growing Guide and Tips

Operation Pumpkin Patch Kit

Timing
Direct sow or transplant in late May or early June when soil warms up. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 25-35°C (68-95°F).  For transplants, start seeds indoors during the first two weeks of May. Be sure to harden off plants before placing out in the garden if starting indoors. Note: Master Gardeners will tell you that pumpkin transplants should go into the ground no later than June 15th but feel free to push the boundaries.

Growing
Choose a sunny spot with fertile, well-draining soil and then dig in a generous quantity of finished compost and/or composted manure. Pumpkins are big greedy feeders. Like my friend Tim Dixon says (who came in 1st place at the Sunshine Community Garden pumpkin contest) the secret to growing a prize winning/ good tasting pumpkin is lots of POOP! Pile up the manure into “pumpkin hills” about the size of a small pitcher mound and then sow the seeds 2cm (1″) deep. Sow 3 seeds in each hill. Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days. If growing gigantic pumpkins then pull out (or transplant) all but the strongest plant.

Fertilization
All pumpkins grow male flowers first, then the female flowers are produced. The female flowers have tiny fruits at the base of the petals and require pollination by bees. However, if no bees are to be found use a small paintbrush and gently “tickle” each flower on the vine. This is like artificial insemination for plants.

Watering
Pumpkins may seem substantial but they are 90% water so keep pumpkin plants well watered, particularly in hot weather. Always water the soil, and avoid getting the leaves wet as much as possible because powdery mildew is almost always a problem here in the Pacific Northwest, especially when it comes to pumpkins. There are some mildew resistant pumpkin varieties out there but the sad truth is that they still get powdery mildew.  It just seems to happen a little later in the season than the non-resistant varieties. A homemade organic spray for powdery mildew can be made however I never got around to spraying my pumpkins at all and if you look at the pictures above the pumpkins themselves turned out great even though the leaves are covered in powdery mildew.

Gigantic Pumpkin Tips
When growing gigantic pumpkins for bragging rights you will want to feed weekly throughout the growing season with a fish or kelp based fertilizer. Also the pumpkin will grow larger if you keep only one fruit per vine. As the pumpkin develops, try to gently encourage it to grow at a 90° angle to the vine itself as the largest pumpkin varieties will grow on their sides and they will end up looking like a half deflated balloon.

Harvest
Pumpkins are mature when they have colored up well and their stems are crisp. For the best sugar content, cut the stem about 4cm (2″) or so from the body of the fruit. If the weather is dry, allow the pumpkins to cure in the field for 10 days, or in a warm room for 4-5 days.

Here’s to The Great Guerilla Garden Pumpkin Adventure of 2015!

 

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Mixed Sunflowers

International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day was held on the May 1st and it was an international event where guerrilla gardeners from around the world plant sunflowers in places perceived to be neglected, such as ditches, public flower beds or possibly even in their neighbor’s yard. This Guerilla Gardener participated and planted some sunflowers at the Sunshine Community Garden and they turned out great!

Cucamelons

Besides being called a cucamelon the other known names for these tiny little morsels include mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber. I ordered the seeds on line but I think I should have started them inside earlier instead of direct sowing as they are just now getting fruit. They have an intense cucumber/ lime infused flavor and are very crunchy and delicious! The bonus is they are much easier to grow than regular cucumbers, they are ignored by pests and are resistant to drought (or a lack of watering). Cucamelons are also said to make excellent pickles but I don’t think I will have enough fruit to fill a jar because I started them from seed too late in the year. However, cucamelons (Melothria scabra) are heirlooms so I’m going to try and save seeds and start them indoors earlier next year because they are so tasty!

 Hawaiian Current Tomatoes

 Hawaiian Currant Tomato seed packet description:
Produces clusters of tiny, round, pea-sized red currant tomatoes. Prolific yields all season long. Can be left to sprawl or be grown in hanging baskets. A super sweet and tasty treat.

In March I ordered some Hawaiian current tomato seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds,  planted them in seed trays, then proceeded to kill all but 3 of them off due to neglect and lack of water while making a career change. The good news is that they are just as tasty as promised and the ones that have survived are loaded with little tiny tomatoes. This is a relief because the company has sold out of all the Hawaiian current tomato seeds and there are no more local seeds available. Since all the seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds are untreated, open-pollinated and non-GMO I’m thinking  I should be able to save some seeds to grow these tasty little tomatoes with next  year.

Cucumber Jelly

Cucumber plants were on sale last June at Little Mountain Greenhouses …..10 plants for $5…..so of course I bought 10 plants. Keep in mind that I am a townhouse dweller. I then justified it to myself because I would plant some in the shared community garden plots, but 5 cucumber plants still ended up in my personal garden plot. Now I do like cucumbers, but there is only so many ways to preserve them. You can pickle them but you can’t dry or freeze them and there is only so many pounds of cucumber salad that you can eat. I must admit that I have also been known to get rid of excess veggies on fellow townhouse dwellers front porches when they weren’t looking. Then I found an obscure recipe for cucumber jelly. The recipe says that you serve it on crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon and I thought to myself that sound’s delicious! So I pulled out my canning jars and got to work and as soon as I get some smoked salmon and cream cheese I’ll let you know how it tastes!

DeeDee_GuerillaGardenTea

The Guerilla Garden Cafe is now open!

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9 cobs of corn
1 lemon boy tomato
1 onion
2 zucchini
8 cucumbers
8 Pomodoro Ciliegia tomatoes
6 large Bush Champion tomatoes
1 small bowl of Hawaiian Currant tomatoes
3/4 of a large bowl of grape tomatoes
5 medium sized mystery tomatoes

FYI-Mystery tomatoes happen when a tomato plant goes on sale for a $1 and it has no identification tag but you buy it anyways because you still have some room in your community garden plot.

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7 zucchini
2 green peppers
3 hot peppers
2 onions
4 roma type tomatoes
16 grape tomatoes
2 medium sized slicing tomatoes
And 1 over flowing bowl of assorted cucumbers

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3 zucchini
3 large salad cucumbers
6 pickle cucumbers
1 green bell pepper
1 hot pepper
1 cup of chopped chives
1 large bunch of cilantro

What can I say, unsold plots at the Sunshine Community Garden went on sale for $15 and there was one conveniently available right next to my other 2 plots. So of course I had too buy it. Then tomato plants went on sale for $1 (I bought 10) and the cucumber plants went on sale 10 for $5 so of course I bought 10 of them as well. I could not resist! Some I put in the shared community plots but just as many went in my own plots. Now I just need some of the tomatoes to ripen so I can experiment with making some salsa.

2014-07-17 15.25.03

I went to pick the snow peas in my community plot and there seemed to be a lot less peas than there was the day before. I thought it was my imagination but it turns out something has been hiding underneath the bush bean plants and eating the delicious snow pea kernels and then discarding the exterior pods. The beans remain untouched. I must confess that I have seen a brown furry creature scurrying around the garden when I water. Is it a rat? Is it a mouse? It’s much too fast to catch more than a glimpse of it as it runs for cover. Obviously it is not aware that snow pea pods are edible. As a guerilla gardener I find this unacceptable.

Beware little furry creature…food wasters will be dealt with appropriately!

Guerilla Garden Traitor