Beneficial Insects and Looking Forward To Spring
At the heart of the Bay Meadows development, Persimmon Park is the eastern terminus of a linear park that connects to the Town Square, attracting a broad variety of visitors. Set beneath a grape vine trellis, the dining area features a CMG custom-designed 34’-long table made from salvaged redwood. An adjacent barbecue and lounge garden create a welcoming and dynamic social setting. The community garden offers hardwood raised planters, work tables for the gardeners, and a combination of citrus and annual trees overhead.
It features 99 gardening beds available to Bay Meadows residents, including 6 demonstration beds maintained by Farmscape who works with residents to enhance their organic gardening skills, and layering in some education is StartOrganic which hosts garden classes for the San Mateo community.
Past classes at Bay Meadows have included topics such as The Good Bugs where the Bay Meadows Community Garden group got together and talked about the importance of beneficial insects and how to attract them to your garden. Everyone learned about ladybugs, assassin bugs, hover flies, and many other insects that you shouldn’t squish or swat away from your vegetables. One fun fact about the hover fly (who is often mistaken for a bee because of its yellow and black stripes) is that a single larva can eat hundreds of aphids in a month, with some studies suggesting they eat an aphid per minute! So if you’re having troubles with aphids in your garden, encourage the hover fly to visit by planting some of its favorite flowers and herbs, including yarrow, feverfew, and parsley!
Vegetable of the Day: Red Torpedo Onions
For the small space gardener, the red torpedo onion is a great choice! Their smaller, torpedo shaped bulbs are mild, sweet, and a striking red and pink, while the tops can be used like green onions or scallions. You can even cut some of the tops while the onion is growing to flavor eggs, soups, and other dishes without doing any harm to the plant. Since the bulbs don’t grow as large as your traditional red or yellow onion, they can be planted closer together and take up much less space if you have limited real estate in your garden. Need more convincing? Planting any alliums such as the red torpedo onion also has the added bonus of keeping harmful insects away from your favorite veggies – their strong smell detracts destructive critters!
Every winter the community garden at Persimmon Park gets ready for the upcoming spring planting! Residents come out and join others to harvest and remove all the vegetables and herbs from their plots. The harvest typically includes huge bundles of lacinato kale (picture above), collard greens, swiss chard, broccoli shoots, cabbages, peas, and celery. Don’t forget, too, all the beautiful salad greens and red torpedo onions pictured below!
In late winter, a team of gardeners comes through to amend and turn the beds with fresh compost and organic fertilizer so that in early spring Bay Meadows residents will be able to plant all of their favorite vegetables and herbs. Plant quick crops such as lettuce, bok choi, and radishes for the month of March and early April. Once those crops are ready to harvest, it will be time to plant all of the fun, heat loving summer vegetables in late April and early May, including family favorites such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and zucchini!
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