June in the Trial Garden
by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager
New Gadgets, Successful Deer Repellent, Potting Mix Comparison and Pot Recycling
This season, we are trying out a new gadget, the Plant Cam
This little programmable, waterproof outdoor time lapse camera takes a series of
photos or videos at specified intervals. We are growing our organic
Carriage Pumpkins and think it will be fun to use the Plant Cam to document the
pumpkin as it grows and matures over the season. The little camera is mounted on
a post in the background of the plants we programmed it to take a photo at 9 AM
every morning for the pumpkin's entire growth cycle. Then we will format the
photos into a time lapse video. Stay tuned this fall when we put it all together
and watch the months of growth in just 30 seconds!
Here's a new product that we have been using very successfully and so can
recommend: Deer and Rabbit Repellent by Plant Pro-Tec (www.plantprotec.com).
If you cannot build a deer fence, this is a great alternative. They are little
plastic spikes that attach to the plant just like a clothespin or can be stuck
in the ground around plants, and their scent repels deer successfully for
months. The active ingredient is garlic oil and it is 100% organic. They have
worked beautifully for us, even on roses (which deer adore) in a very deer-
prone area. We haven't had any bunnies which these are also recommended to
repel, so can't comment on that use, but we bet they will work just as well.
We continually try out different potting soil mix for container
growing, by putting the same plant variety in
different brands. Fox Farm Ocean Forest (www.foxfarmfertilizer.com) is
the mix that we have found the best so far, but we are always trialing other
brands as we come across them.
In the photo, you can clearly tell the big difference between our preferred
potting soil and competitor brands. The organic Jade Gem baby lettuces on the
right are deep green, vigorous and full, while on the left the very same little
lettuces, planted at the same time, our very pale with small, stunted heads.
It has really been amazing to
experience how much difference there is in the results between different brands of
potting soil mix.
Along with our Trial Garden, we also have extensive landscape gardens and do a
lot of plantings in them. This means that we end up with a lot
of plastic nursery pots. Every season we gather up our plethora of black plastic
pots and make a special trip back to the nursery to turn them back in. There are
many nurseries that are happy to take back the empty pots and it is a great way
to reuse and recycle. Often you can redeem them for cash or credit, so everybody