Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Memorial Garden Volunteer Kick-Off Event

With great sadness, we must report the passing of John Paul Endicott. This past year, as a Temple University Horticulture student, he developed and carried out the idea of a plot in our community garden, whose harvest of tomatoes, beans, potatoes and greens is donated entirely to families in need. John Paul was also the original creator of this blog.

John Paul’s passing was much too soon. But his connection to plants and people continues. In his memory and honor, the Endicott & Ryan families have created a memorial fund which will support a much larger donation garden to support his original vision.

You are invited to to the official Kick-Off Garden Work Day event to help begin the process of setting up and maintaining John Paul's Memorial Garden. We are seeking motivated friends, family, students, teachers, and interested volunteers to come help out this Saturday.

Saturday, August 14, 2010, 9am-12pm

Temple University Ambler Research Garden
580 Meetinghouse Road
Ambler, PA

PLEASE RSVP so we can plan accordingly! RSVP here.

You are not required to bring gardening tools but we request that those who have them please bring them along.

Also, don't forget:
- Gloves if you have them
- Water bottle - refills provided
- Sunscreen

Please carpool if possible. There is limited parking at the garden & visitor parking area. If you are in need a ride - or are interested in providing a ride to someone who does - please post in this section with your location and situation!

A huge thank you goes to Whole Foods Market in North Wales, PA for donating refreshments to the volunteer day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to properly de-sucker a tomatoe plant

It's exciting to see just how many people are growing tomatoes these days. Hopefully this year there will be thousands of new converts to the home grown tomato advantage. I hope this mini tutorial can help you get the most out of your tomato garden- wherever it may be.

There are MANY ways to grow tomatoes: in cages, with a trellis, trained up a wire, or with no support at all. There are just as many people that will swear that their way is the best. No matter how you grow your tomatoes (hopefully with some structural support), there is no denying that if you prune your plants, you will get better fruit. Before you decided to prune, first determine if your tomato plant is determinant or indeterminate. Indeterminate are, by far, more popular. They are the vining tomato plant variety and will set fruit continually until killed by frost. Determinate varieties set fruit all at once and thus there is no need to prune because the plant won't set fruit until it's mature. Check your seed packet for the variety. If you are growing indeterminate, it is suggested that you prune. Here is how it is done:

First, we need to learn to identify a "sucker". A tomato sucker is new growth on the plant that springs from a joint- where a branch meets the main stem. They are side shoots that the plant is putting out- essentially, a new plant- another stem with lots of foliage and hardly any flowers until it gets bigger. The problem with this new growth is that it takes energy away from the older growth- it gets put into the foliage and not into producing new flowers/fruit. Because of our short growing season, we want to coax the plant into flowering more and growing less new foliage. If left to grow un-pruned, the plant will get large and topple over. By pruning out these 'suckers' you are thinning the plant and maximizing the yield in the short term (the summer season).

So let's see what a 'sucker' looks like:

As you can see in the last picture, left to grow, a sucker can quickly mimic the main stem- growing unchecked, it could create an imbalance and topple the plant.

Once you have found the sucker, the pruning process is easy. Some people recommend pruning in early morning/evening when the suckers can be snapped off easily. The idea is to snap at the joint of the plant. You can use your fingers or a pair of garden clippers... just do it as cleanly as possible. That's basically it! Throw the cuttings into the compost pile. Make sure to be on 'sucker patrol' at least once a week. If left unchecked, these suckers will grow quickly.

If you work better visually, below is a link to a great little instructional video on pruning your tomato plant:

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Overdue update on Temple's first Donation Garden!

We still hope to post some pictures from our National Public Garden's day... but first a quick update on our donation garden!

Located on a 230 square foot plot in the community garden is Temple's donation garden. Growing beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and greens for local food cupboards. Our garden got off to a great start with a group planting on Public Garden's Day and now it's growing well. If you are out in the community garden- just look for the American flag and you will find our small plot.

Our Tomatoes are growing well:

The Potatoes are doing great:

And the beans are.... doing ok:

We are hoping for a great crop with the tomatoes coming in first in just a few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for a long and pleasant summer! Come back soon for an update on the entire community garden!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gearing up for the 2010 season!

Welcome to the new blog for Temple University's Community Garden at the Ambler Campus. 2010 will be our second season. There is a lot planned for the upcoming season so please check back frequently!

The community garden is located in the trial gardens just off of Meetinghouse Rd and the Loop road behind the greenhouses. There are twenty two plots in total and they are all about 230 square feet in size.

Our 2009 season was a great success and we are now getting ready for 2010. The weather has finally warmed up and we can see the ground again. Like last spring, our volunteers are laying down compost and wood chips to create a fresh 'palette' for the community gardeners. While the garden won't officially open until May, there is plenty of activity every day!

Not only are we preparing for a great growing season but this year we are implementing a number of events to help the greater community outside of the gardeners tending the soil. Stay tuned for information regarding the upcoming season. Be sure to keep May 7th open too! It's National Public Garden's Day and we will celebrate with tours of Temple's Arboretum, special demonstrations, and the official opening of the community garden. Check back for updates and the event schedule!