Keeping the Groundhogs Out and Garden Volunteers In

First off we want to mention how awesomely Monday’s workday went! We had 8 volunteers come help the two of us, and ten sets of hands can surely get a lot of gardening done fast. We even had some prefrosh come – exciting for future generations of Princeton gardeners! We tackled a lot of weeding and mulching, as well as pruning and tying up our tomato plants, and of course harvesting! Thanks so much to everyone who came out!

Garden volunteers weeding amongst the butternut squash, and picking some of our fresh cucumbers!

Daniel found some massive zucchini while mulching the magic plot on the south side of Forbes. We probably should have picked them before they got so big, but we’ve got quite the jungle of zucchini, its hard to keep track of it all!

Zucchini that double both as a delicious dinner and a defense weapon

So other than the fungus on our tomato leaves we’ve been pretty clear of problems this summer, but as of recent we’ve started to have another issue. For awhile now we’ve been observing grounhogs from afar. A family of groundhogs lives in the Forbes Master’s backyard, despite several attempts at eviction. Sometimes we’d see groundhogs around the perimeter of the garden, but never within the fence where all of our crops are. However a few weeks ago we noticed one of the babies running around in our crops, but figured he was too tiny and lost to do any harm. But surely we were wrong, and since we have realized that the little guy’s been gnawing away at the tops of our carrots, which is effective in prematurely killing the plant by taking off its green, leafy top. We’ve since built a cage around the carrots. Now we’re starting to think there might be more little varmints around, because yesterday when weeding we noticed the entire (albeit very small) beet population chewed to death.

We’ve also noticed some bites taken out of potatoes and cherry tomatoes that we’re currently harvesting. Seems like the groundhog(s) have quite the appetite.  So we’re looking into possible cost effective solutions to our pest problems, let us know if you have any advice!

Here’s some other notes of positivity and excitement in the garden:

Beautiful, quickly growing watermelon vines. The vine has really beautiful foliage and is starting to have pretty yellow flowers, we’re still anticipating the melons though. We’re going to have to find a way to keep the vines contained soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve also been slowly harvesting some of our potatoes, that were ready much sooner than anticipated. Some we’re keeping in the ground for a bit longer to give them a bit longer to grow and toughen up their skins. Though when digging around the dirt theres definitely some big, ripe potatoes to be had!

We have started to see some chamomile flowers as well – looking forward to some tea made out of this!

Lastly, we’ve strengthened our ties with dining services even further this summer, and its turned out to be a great partnership. Ever since the garden’s conception we’ve been actively giving produce to the Forbes’ Dining Hall. Unfortunately Forbes is closed over the summer, so we’ve been instead giving our produce to Executive Chef Rob, who uses it for a variety of special events held on campus. It’s a really neat partnership since Chef Rob always updates us on how the various items get used. This past week he sent us some lovely pictures of caprese bites he made with our basil:

      

Hope to see many of you in the garden soon!

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