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New articles on cover crops for vegetable gardens – with preliminary results from research in Brooklyn!

As you’re planting and tending your vegetable crops, it’s not too early to start planning what cover crops you’d like to plant in late summer or fall!  Whether you’re looking to protect your soil, add legume nitrogen for next year’s veggies, or keep down weeds, check out our recent four-part series on the Garden Professors Blog to help you choose cover crops:

“Building Healthy Soil in Vegetable Gardens: Cover Crops Have Got it Covered”

You can read all four articles in the document linked above, or check them out individually on the Garden Professors website:

Exciting news — The article on selecting cover crops has preliminary results from our cover crop research in Brooklyn, and so should be especially useful for urban gardeners. More to come soon!

Thanks to the Garden Professors eXtension Community of Practice for providing me the opportunity to write and share these articles, and to John Porter of WVU Extension for providing helpful suggestions during the review process.

New Cover Cropping & Garden Planning Resources!

It’s that time of year again… time to plant cover crops in your garden to enrich the soil for future plantings and ensure that you start out with a weed-free (or at least less weedy) plot next spring!  Here are some resources to help you select, plant, and manage cover crops for these benefits in your garden:

Upstate NY gardeners (USDA Zone 6a): We have just developed resources on cover cropping and garden planning for Zone 6a.  Check them out here, or visit the Gardeners page and browse for them there!

New York City gardeners (USDA Zone 7b): If you’re in the warmer climate of New York City, you can review the cover cropping and garden planning resources for USDA Zone 7b here.

Happy cover cropping!

Cover Crop Field Day at Phoenix Garden: Saturday, May 4, 1:00 pm (2013)

Please bring family and friends and join us for a:

Cover Crop Field Day
Saturday, May 4, 1:00-2:30 pm
Phoenix Community Garden

(Fulton St. @ Rockaway.  Subway: AC to Rockaway Ave.)

Come see how gardeners in your neighborhood are using cover crops for a healthy, sustainable garden:

  • See cover crops planted last fall;
  • Learn from fellow gardeners how to use cover crops to improve your soil, add nutrients for food crops, and keep down weeds;
  • Enjoy refreshments and networking with other gardeners!

Download a flyer to post at your garden, and to share with fellow gardeners:

Cover Crop Field Day Flyer – Phoenix Garden

For more information, please contact Megan at meganmgregory1@gmail.com or 847-287-7794.

Hope to see you there!

Cover Crop Field Day in East New York: Sunday, April 21, 5:00 pm (2013)

Please bring family and friends and join us for a:

Cover Crop Field Day
Sunday, April 21, 5:00 pm
Nehemiah 10 Garden

(Barbey St @ Blake in East New York, Brooklyn)

Come see how gardeners in your neighborhood are using cover crops for a healthy, sustainable garden:

* See cover crops planted last fall;
* Learn from fellow gardeners how to use cover crops to improve your soil, add nutrients for food crops, and keep down weeds;
* Enjoy a fantastic spread of refreshments and networking with fellow gardeners!

Download a flyer to post at your garden, and to share with fellow gardeners:

East NY Cover Crop Field Day Flyer

For more information, please contact Megan at meganmgregory1@gmail.com or 847-287-7794.

Hope to see you there!

New Resource: Cover Crop Seed Sources

Check out this list of cover crop seed sources for gardeners in the NYC area!  There are also a few tips for sourcing good-quality cover crop seed.  Although the 2012 gardening season is winding down, you’ll want to be ready to order seed in early spring in order to get the varieties you want!

Cover Crop Seed Sources – NYC

This resource is also available on our page for Gardeners, along with other factsheets to help you choose the best cover crops for your vegetable rotations and management goals.

Insect Research Updates: May 23, 24, & 25 (2012)

Hello NYC gardeners!  Please join “Team Bug” for one of our insect research update meetings this week!  We will hold three sessions, so you can choose the one that best fits your schedule and location:

*   *   *   *   *   *

Wednesday, May 23, 6:00 pm
United Community Centers, 613 New Lots Ave, Brooklyn
Subway: Van Siclen (3)
*   *   *   *   *   *

Thursday, May 24, 6:00 pm
Dana Discovery Center, in Central Park @ 110th St.
(between 5th & Lenox), Manhattan
Subway: Central Park North — 100th St. (2, 3)Friday, May 25, 6:00 pm
*   *   *   *   *   *
Long Island University,
Flatbush Ave Extension & DeKalb Ave, Brooklyn
Subway: DeKalb (B, Q, R); Nevins St (2, 3, 4, 5); Hoyt-Schermerhorn (A, C, G)
*   *   *   *   *   *

In 2011 we worked with NYC gardens to learn more about pests and beneficial insects in urban gardens.  At this session we will give an update on what we are learning about best plantings and practices for attracting beneficial insects and reducing pest damage on crops.  We will also discuss ideas for further insect research in 2012-2013 that will help gardeners learn to manage pests ecologically.

Thank you to those who have already RSVPed.  If you haven’t RSVPed but would still like to attend, please give a call or email — we should have plenty of room (meganmgregory1@gmail.com or 847-287-7794).

Please download this flyer to post on your garden gate and share with your fellow gardeners!

Cover Crop Field Day, Saturday April 14 @ 11 am (2012)

Calling all Brooklyn Gardeners!  Please bring family & friends, and join us for a:

 Cover Crop Field Day

Saturday, April 14, 11 am

Hart to Hart Garden

(Hart St. between Tompkins & Marcy in Bedford-Stuyvesant)

 

Come and see how Hart to Hart gardeners are using cover crops for a healthier, more sustainable garden!

  • See cover crops planted last fall, explore their benefits for soil quality and keeping down weeds, and learn best practices for using cover crops in YOUR garden!
  • Sign up for more information about a garden-based research and education project in 2012-2013 to learn about the best cover crops for NYC gardens.  The program will offer free seeds, soil tests, materials, and regular workshops at a limited number of dedicated gardens in (or near) Bedford-Stuyvesant.
  • Kids: Participate in “science stations” to explore the amazing world of soil and plants.
  • Refreshments and fun for the whole family!

Download a flyer about the field day to post at your garden and share with other gardeners:  Cover Crop Field Day Flyer

For more information, please contact Megan: 847-287-7794 or  meganmgregory1@gmail.com.   Hope to see you there!

Got cover crops?: Tips for managing over-wintering cover crops in spring as you prepare beds for planting vegetables

So you planted an over-wintering cover crop last fall and now you have a beautiful stand of wheat, rye, crimson clover, hairy vetch, or perhaps a mixture!  Our factsheet, Managing Over-Wintering Cover Crops in Spring, has tips to help you get the most benefit from the cover crops for soil quality & fertility, and get your next veggie crops off to a good start.

Managing Over-Wintering Cover Crops in Spring

Internship Opportunities with the Garden Ecology Project for 2012!

Are you passionate about promoting food justice and environmental stewardship through community gardening?

Do you enjoy working with both plants and people?

Would you like to learn practical research skills in urban agriculture and ecology?

The Garden Ecology Project is seeking interns to assist with research with NYC community gardens during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2012 (as interns’ schedules permit).  We work to develop environmentally-friendly gardening practices (like cover cropping) with and for urban gardeners, and build support for community gardening in policy and urban planning.

Download the Garden Ecology Project Internship Application 2012

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Opportunities for field and lab work include:

  • Sampling cover crops in Brooklyn community gardens (April)
  • Assisting with workshops to plan & carry out cover crop research with community gardeners, including planting and monitoring cover crops (April – Nov)
  • Soil sampling (August – Sept)
  • Monitoring cover crop performance (Sept – Nov)
  • Insect scouting for key pests & beneficials (June – Sept)
  • Insect identification on sticky cards (ongoing)
  • Data entry (ongoing)

Benefits:

  • Flexible schedule (part-time OK)
  • Learn practical research skills in urban agriculture, urban ecology, plant science, entomology, and/or community development
  • Potential for academic credit through your college or university
  • Opportunity to design & carry out an independent project

To apply, please complete this form and send to Megan Gregory by email: meganmgregory1@gmail.com

Questions ?  Please contact me by phone at : 847-287-7794

Try planting a cover crop in your garden this fall!

Now is the time to think about starting a cover crop beneath veggies that are nearing harvest!  The earlier you start your cover crop, the more it will grow and add to the quality and fertility of your soil.  Use our two-page factsheet to select a good cover crop for your urban garden, and learn how and when to plant it:

In English: Cover Crops for NYC Urban Gardens

In Spanish: Cultivos de Cobertura para los Huertos de NYC

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