Posts categorized as Gardening

What Can Rockaway Do To Support The Threatened Monarch Butterfly?

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From Left to Right – Diane Cardwell, Don Riepe, Charley The Dog, Kristi Dickerson   The New York Times published an article last week stating the monarch butterfly has been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The Times informed, “In 2020, U.S. wildlife officials found that monarchs were threatened with extinction but declined to add them to the endangered species list because they said conservation of other species took priority…. Eastern monarchs, which make up most of the population in North America, dropped by […]

tagged in gardening, plants, rockaway

Milkweed Bugs… Caught In The Act!

Large milkweed bugs in mating position

I was gardening the other day and spotted a bug I’ve never seen before. It had bright red-orange markings contrasting the insects long black, flat body. It was on a milkweed plant. I took a closer look and noticed there were two bugs actually, connected back to back. Also on a seed pod, I saw about 12 little red dots which reminded me of aphids. Those concerned me. I thought this was a late season pest infestation. I immediately took out my phone and typed in a quick description. The […]

Easy How-To: Prickly Pear Propagation

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I’ve always admired prickly pear cactus for its distinctive paddle spikes, bright red buds, and showy yellow flowers. There are 181 different species. Opuntia is a perennial shrub with waxy skin. The cactus thrives in sandy soil and dry conditions. It grows wild in arid areas in the south and southwest. Opuntia is indigenous to the Americas. Pear cactus is a domesticated crop plant grown and harvested throughout the world. Right now is the plant’s growing season and when you see “baby paddles” forming. This is the ideal time to propagate. I’ve never grown prickly […]

tagged in diy, gardening, plants

Forage For Purslane

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Purslane I know a great deal about foraging at this point in my gardening “career.”  But there’s always more to discover. A few weeks back, I learned of a new edible from my friend Melissa Draugsvold. We were at the Beach 91st Community Garden watering our adjacent plots. She pointed out the purslane that popped up between her lettuce crop. Purslane (also known as little hogweed, pigweed, pusley) is an annual in our garden zone 7.  This succulent can grow in sandy soil and resists drought. You’ll see it everywhere if you look […]

tagged in forage, recipe, recipes

Mulch Grows Soil

Teresa Farrell understands the benefits of mulching

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has said “Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden.” Knowing this, why did I skip mulching this spring? I’m regretting it now. The weeds are a constant in any garden but without mulch, it becomes unmanageable. Every few days it seems the weeds reappear. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch will prevent seeds from planting in the soil. For the relentless roots of weeds, (ahem, morning glories) mulch blocks out sunlight which […]

tagged in garden, gardening

Ahh, Aphids! And Other Garden Pests…

I was watering my hanging baskets when I noticed hundreds of aphids on the underside of the delicate petunia petals. I almost fell off the ladder! Unmanaged infestations will kill plants within a few weeks. Aphids are very small bugs – bright green, burnt orange, or black in color. If you see them, take action quickly. Here you can see aphids on the flower and one ladybug larva enjoying a feast. To combat these garden pests, fill a water bottle and add natural dish soap (1-2 tablespoons). Shake, then spray […]

tagged in garden

A BIG Thank You To The Big Reuse

The Big Reuse compost Rockaway Beach

It’s been an unseasonably cool and rainy April/May but we made it – garden season is here! I’m behind but I’m working my way through the front and back garden. I’ve separated the Daylilies (which encourages more flowering) and took out Walker’s Low (which spreads so much). I gave the Walker’s Low and Irises to a friend who’s starting a garden for the first time. And with all the rain to encourage growth, the weeding seems endless. 4 cubic yards of beautiful compost made from NYC food scraps. It’s been […]

tagged in compost, garden

Garden Herb Marinade

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It’s been a productive garden season partly because of the consistent rain over the summer and the warm weather we’re having of late. I just harvested another batch of beautifully ripe tomatoes. If we don’t get a cold front, I may even procure one more collection! What a great year for tomato growers. It’s been my best year to date– that’s for sure. My herbs are also still growing strong. I made another large batch of pesto last week. I have so much parsley and oregano, it feels premature to […]

tagged in recipe, recipes

B91 Garden Art Show A Victory!

Next generation of Rockaway Beach artist

The success of the Beach 91st Street Community Gardens’ art show last Saturday, featuring works by Clare Hilger, was beyond my expectations! So many neighbors and friends came to support us, to view and purchase artwork and enjoy the garden space. We had people in and out all day! I met a few neighbors that I never knew before and some mentioned how they’ve always walked by and wanted to come in. That makes me truly happy because community gardens should have a community impact and I feel we accomplished […]

tagged in art, community

Mystery: Pumpkin, Squash or Gourd?

Pumpkin, Squash Gourd

I know… it’s August, why am I bringing up pumpkins? Well, there’s some kind of gigantic cucurbit vine growing in my front garden.  The plant started off very small. It was growing in shade, under my Echinacea. So I thought it would die off.  But it did not. It’s been getting bigger and bigger each week. The leaves are now 17 inches long and the vine is spreading at an exponential rate. From what I can see, there are almost six large female flowers. Females have a small ball attached […]

tagged in fall, garden, squirrel