Despite the often unbearable heat of these summer days Huerta del Valle has produced a very successful summer harvest! Over the course of June, July, and August the 15 family plots in the Phase 1 area have produced a variety of fruits and vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, hot chili’s, cucumbers, watermelon, radishes, amaranth, and a garden favorite- squash. So far the garden has harvested almost 25 lbs of squash!! We even grilled some up one evening to enjoy as a garden treat after our work day. With summer coming to an end soon and Phase 2 open for business everybody at HdV is excited to see what the fall growing season will bring. Be on the look out for lots of pumpkins, squashes, peas, and lettuce varieties.
As with any organic garden we knew it was bound to happen… but it still doesn’t hurt any less. Our gardeners have encountered garden pests. One of the main culprits eating away at our crop leafs are aphids. Aphids are small sap sucking insects that can decrease a plants growth rate, molt their leafs, cause low crop yields, or even kill their host plant. As you can see, aphids are very bad news for gardeners. Fortunately, ladybugs love to eat them!! Hopefully by introducing more and more ladybugs into the garden we can get rid of these pests. Other strategies for handling aphids are to plant sunflowers- they will attract the aphids keeping them off of your crops and also using a tomato leaf water blend as an organic spray. Organic gardening isn’t easy… but it’s worth it!!
Recently HdV has had a tremendous turnout of Pitzer College student volunteers! We wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to all the incoming Pitzer students who took an OA trip (orientation activity) down to the garden. Last week we had the pleasure of working with two groups- ‘LA Arts and Food’ and ‘Sustainability in Action’ and later in the week we will see ‘LA Arts and Food’ again as well as a ‘Social Justice’ group. There is always much work to be done in the garden from weeding, to planting, to painting, to building/ constructing we have lots of activities for all different skill levels. If you are a Pitzer student who couldn’t make one of the OA trips to the garden or just an awesome person looking to get involved we gladly extend an invitation. Our work days are 6-9pm Tuesday- Sunday. Hope to see you around the garden!
Huerta del Valle will soon have its very own greenhouse on site! Construction on our “hoop house” began a few weeks ago thanks to the generous help of community volunteers. The house is a pretty good size- measuring 22’x 12’ (about 6 ½ feet in the middle). It has enough room for 8 one cubic yard worm bins and about 140 sq ft. for sprouting plants- something we will definitely take advantage of next season! Since the summer heat is still beating down hard on the garden we will put a large shade cloth over the house for the time being- converting it into a “shade house” till winter time when we will add doors and trade the shade cloth in for warm plastic coverings.
This weekend Huerta del Valle held its monthly community meeting/ information session with great success! The guest turnout included current HdV members, new and interested gardeners, community residents, the Dorothy Quesada TAC youth group, and special guest speakers from Warehouse Workers United. This months meeting was all about compost. Participants learned how to start home composting by using small bins, compost layering techniques, and what items to add versus what items to leave out of their compost. In addition to garden updates, different ways to get involved at the garden, and strengthening communal relationships this months meeting was a little different because we started accepting garden contracts for phase 2 plots! After the meeting 5 plots were distributed! Looks like phase 2 plots are going fast. If you couldn’t make it to this months meeting mark your calendar for next months meeting- September 21st.
Did you or a friend want to get a plot at Huerta del Valle and then Phase 1 plots were all filled up? Well, you’re in luck! Starting today, Huerta del Valle is accepting applications/ filling out contracts for Phase 2! Phase 2 will be the second section that we are opening up to the community, it consist of 11 individual plots (ten 10x20 and one 10x10) that are ready for harvesting. These new 11 plots will bring our community plot total to 26!! If you are interested in getting a plot for yourself stop by the garden and talk to Arthur or Maria as soon as possible- spaces are limited and it may be a few months before the next phase opens up.
As the garden progress continues we know we couldn’t get much done without the continuous support of local markets and businesses. This week we would like to send a ‘Huerta del Valle shout out’ to Nancy and her team at Harnisch Tree Care that have generously donated LOTS of woodchips for our gardening projects. Thank you!
Harnisch offers a variety of tree services. If you’re in need of any tree services check out their website www.harnischtreecare.com