Spring 2014 AN UPDATE FOR WYLDE CENTER MEMBERS VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2
U PCOMI NG
CL A S SE S
EARTH D AY
T R A DI T ION S
W HO WA N T S
TO STA RT A
GA R DE N? MOSCHATA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WYLDE CENTER 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030 404.371.1920, wyldecenter.org
WINTER HIGHLIGHTS Seed and Scion Swap, Chicks in the City pages 4 and 5
HOURS Wylde Center is open Monday-Friday 9 AM-5 PM. Wylde Center garden sites are open daily from sun up to sun down. Oakhurst Garden, 435 Oakview Road, Decatur Sugar Creek, 415 East Lake Drive, Decatur Hawk Hollow, 2304 1st Avenue, Atlanta Edgewood Community Learning Garden, 1503 Hardee Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA,
LIFESTYLES Earth Day Traditions page 6 EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Wylde Center Garden Coach Team Wylde Center Teaching Training Program page 7 PROGRAM OUTREACH Cooking and Gardening at Oliver House pages 8 and 9
MAGAZINE AND PHOTO CONTRIBUTORS David Callihan, Kyle Carlson, Roger Easley Imagery, Melanie Heckman, JC Hines, Nichole Lupo, Véronique Perrot (Editor), Monica Ponce, Dara Suchke, Bang Tran, Stephanie Van Parys (Editor), and Andrea Zoppo
RECIPE Baked Apples page 9 NEW STAFF page 9 CLASS SCHEDULE Animal Husbandry, Gardening, and Children Programs pages 10-14 Children’s Summer Programs page 15 SPROUT’S CORNER Garden Giggles page 16 MEMBERSHIP ROLL Gifts received Jan. 1 thru Feb. 28, 2014 page 17 GARDENING Growing Medicine pages 18 and 19 Q&A with JC page 20 Squash, Pumpkins, Gourds page 21 Moschata Squash pages 22 and 23 Attracting Good Bugs pages 24 and 25 FINAL WORDS page 26 SAVE THE DATE Beer Garden page 27
Dear Members, In the garden, in the classroom, and in the kitchen, we know that spring is here! The Wylde Center gardens are always lovely to visit and walk around, but I have to say, spring is especially stunning after the cold temperatures and snow(!) that we have had. Walking through Wylde Woods at the Oakhurst Garden, the spring ephemerals are blooming. Rue Anemone (pictured above) caught my eye as did the handsome clump of toadshade Trillium. The DeKalb Master Gardeners under the leadership of Kat Yntema and Frances Moriarty are taking good care of the Wylde Woods adding native piedmont species each month. Nichole Lupo, our Garden to Classroom educator has been working with several schools to plant their spring crops including Rocket (arugula) for the City Schools of Decatur’s system wide test taste. Our Garden Coach, JC Hines is busy leading workdays at a local middle school installing a new garden on their site to be used by students.
FRONT COVER AND PAGE 3 Blueberry in bloom at the Oakhurst Garden; Lily the Unicorn on the OX house at the Oakhurst Garden (photo by David Callihan). PURCHASE AN AD For advertising rates, please visit our website wyldecenter.org or call 404.371.1920 for more information. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Joy Provost (Chair), Rex Hamre (Vice-Chair), KC Boyce (Treasurer), Jennifer Weissman (Secretary), Josh Becker, Meg Boswell, Caroline Branch, Shelby Buso, Jeremy Jeffers, Lylia Lucio, Lynn Russell, Mike Sage, Kathryn Young STAFF Urban Garden Educator Sumayya Allen Greenspace Manager and Oakhurst Garden Site Coordinator JC Hines Education Program Manager Melanie Heckman
In the kitchen, we are excited to partner with the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier to lead cooking experiences for both youth and seniors as part of our program at the Decatur Housing Authority.
Executive Assistant Reagan Horack Koski
Thank you for being a part of this great work.
Edgewood Community Learning Garden Site Coordinator, Hawk Hollow Garden Site Coordinator Monica Ponce
Stephanie Van Parys Executive Director
THANK YOU TO OUR 2014 PRESENTING SPONSORS
Decatur Garden Tour
THE WC’S MEMBER MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY.
Plant Sale Festival
Garden to Classroom Educator Nichole Lupo
Sugar Creek Garden Site Coordinator Dara Suchke Assistant Educator Leslie Tunmore Executive Director Stephanie Van Parys Special Event Coordinator Sarah Werkheiser Public Programs Manager and Volunteer Coordinator Andrea Zoppo
COPYRIGHT 2014 WYLDE CENTER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING REPRINTING OF CONTENT, CONTACT 404.371.1920.
Cummin Landscape Supply cumminlandscapesupply.com
Interns Nina Brooks, Danielle Bartlett, Erin Dougherty, Marion Menard, Véronique Perrot, Bang Tran, and Tim Watts
“The Wylde Center does a fantastic job of educating and spreading the word! How could I NOT be so passionate and excited?!?!” -- Deanna Ford Kearns
Find Lily the Unicorn on the cob house in the children’s area at the Oakhurst Garden.
2ND ANNUAL SEED AND SCION SWAP
packed audience gathered on National Seed Swap Day, January 25, 2014, at the Decatur Recreation Center to learn about seed saving and to exchange a lovely assortment of seeds from across our region. Our 2nd annual Seed and Scion swap was brought to you by the Wylde Center, City of Decatur, Park Pride and Slow Food Atlanta. Tables were lined up and organized by type of vegetable, flower, or herb. Participants laid out their contributions and chose from packets brought by others. Naturally, there was so much to choose from! It was exciting to hear the stories about seeds and welcome seed savers from Alabama, North Georgia, and across the metro Atlanta area. Big thanks to Revolution Doughnuts for their generous and yummy support of the Seed Swap and Chicks in the City!
Roger Easley Imagery
SEED SWAP PHOTOS
TOP ROW: Chin from Truly Living Well brings his extra seeds to share. Attendees sift through the generous amount of shared seed saved from gardens. Frank Holzman with REAP shares details about how to save seed. SECOND ROW: Grant Olson, our key足note speaker from Seed Savers Exchange gives a presentation on how to plan your gar足den for seed saving to a packed audience.
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS
Roger Easley Imagery
SHARE YOUR SEEDS
ur keynote speaker was Grant Olson from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, one of the largest seed banks in the country. The non-profit organization has preserved thousands of heirloom garden varieties since its founding in 1975. Grant gave an engaging presentation on why seed saving plays a critical role in preserving rare, heirloom varieties and the garden heritage they represent. Please join us for our next free seed saving events on August. 23, 2014 and January 24, 2015. Below you see the creative ways our attendees packaged their seeds.
Roger Easley Imagery
SEED SAVER SPOTLIGHT
o our delight, students from the Saving Appalachian Gardens and Stories (a signature initiative of the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center on the campus of the University of North Georgia) joined us for the Seed Saver event. As part of this program, students collect, grow, bank, save, and share heirloom seeds of the Southern Appalachians as well as the related ethno cultural knowledge. Working with Dr. Chris Dockery, a UNG art professor, the students create visual and performance art based on the stories of the seed keepers, thus blurring the edges of
science and art. Examples of this work are shown below. We were amazed by the beautiful panels created by the students and called Rosann Kent, Director of the Appalachian Studies Center, to explain in more detail the process. “When students are sent into the field to ask an elder a question, they have two goals. One is to understand the cultural requirements of the seed. Is it drought tolerant? How is it planted? The other goal addresses how the seed was part of this person’s life. Was the food it produced eaten as part of a
celebration? How was it prepared? Once the students return, they share their story with a fellow peer. They also review photos that were taken during the interview. From both the verbal and visual, they identify one key message that stands out to them. None of these students are artists, but working with a resident artist, they create these beautiful panels, an example of art based research as part of the seed collection process.” For more information, like them on Facebook under: Saving Appalachian Gardens and Stories at University of North Georgia.
CHICKENS INVADE THE DECATUR RECREATION CENTER
Roger Easley Imagery
Roger Easley Imagery
he 6th annual Chicks in the City Symposium held March 1 was a clucked a success. Over 50 people gathered to learn about breeds of chickens, chicken health and wellness, coop design and predator proof ing, and what chickens can do for you! TOP ROW: Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener, explains what is inside a chicken egg. Marion Menard, a Wylde Center intern, holds a Silkie. Joey Zeigler’s chick poses for the camera. SECOND ROW: Andrea Zoppo, Wylde Center’s Public Programs Manager, holds a cute Silkie with volunteer Kate Phillips. A rooster roaming the floor? Don’t worry, we put down paper to avoid any messes.
Photos by Kyle Carlson and Roger Easley Imagery.
EARTH DAY TRADITIONS
By Stephanie Van Parys
t was during a conversation that I learned that Tara Smith and her family adopt a new earth friendly habit each year on Earth Day. Since it is the season for Earth Day, how appropriate to ask Tara about their adopted earth friendly habits and how they have changed their lives for the better. SVP: When did this Earth Day tradition start? TS: It all started when I had my first child. Before you have children, you never realize how many diapers they go through. Three months into it, we were shocked by how we were contributing to the landfill everyday by using disposables. We switched to cloth diapers to cut down on the waste right around Earth Day and thus, the tradition was started. We used cloth for both children. SVP: What came next? TS: Next came earth friendly cleaning supplies that I either made or purchased. My children spent a lot of time crawling on the floors and I started reading about harmful residues mainstream cleaners can leave. What is the impact on their health? SVP: Now you are on a roll. What next big change did you make? TS: I was drinking a lot of water while nursing. I purchased bottled water to stay hydrated. It was when the recycling bin was overflowing with water bottles that I figured there was probably a better way. I kicked the water bottle habit and purchased reusable metal water bottles for everyone in the family. As a result, we drink more water than ever.
Landon and Tara Smith standing next to their Oakhurst Garden plot with their children, Gabriel (10) and Oliver (7).
SVP: Ok, we are getting close to the current year. What new earth friendly habit was adopted in 2013? TS: We joined with two other families and adopted a garden plot at the Oakhurst Garden. Our best crop thus far has been lettuce. Last summer we grew peppers, zucchini, and a great batch of basil. We really enjoy volunteering at the Oakhurst Garden and being involved in the community through gardening. SVP: And what is your 2014 Earth Day goal? We all want to know! TS: We are going to join the Wylde Center as a member. We want to be a part of this organization where we have been able to make friends and be part of a larger community.
SVP: I have to ask. Before you had children, would you have labeled yourself earth conscious?
SVP: I love to hear that. Thank you. One last question. Was there anything from your childhood that influenced your earth conscious decisions? Your parents?
TS: No. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I realized I wanted to create good earth-friendly habits to pass onto our kids. We are definitely motivated by health-related habits, which is great because these habits also help the planet.
TS: Not really. Actually it is reverse influence! I gave my mom a set of cloth bags for Christmas and they too live in her car. It really was when I had my children that I realized I needed to make significant, everyday efforts to take care of the earth, to treat it well.
SVP: We are making good progress. So far everything you have mentioned sounds manageable. What came next?
SVP: Thank you, Tara, we appreciate all of the changes you have made.
TS: Plastic bags. When we stopped using plastic bags to scoop up kitty litter, we realized how many we brought home on a weekly basis. Piles of them. It was a visual reminder of wastefulness and a material that would never break down. To solve it, I bought a set of reusable cotton bags for each car. They go back to the car after each shopping trip so that I am never without them. It’s great because you always have a bag for just in case you need to them for a sudden collection of shells or a batch of muddy clothes.
Readers, what earth conscious habits have you adopted? We would love to hear them! Simply email Stephanie@wyldecenter.org.
SVP: How about a change that proved to be a challenge? TS: Compost fits that category. We produced fresh food waste since we eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. It felt wrong to throw that material out when we knew we could close the circle through composting. The challenge was how to compost, what to include, what not to include. We did a lot of research online and my husband built a set of compost bins. We used the compost in our herb and vegetable garden. SVP: What was your biggest lifestyle change? TS: Moving from Stone Mountain to Decatur. Before we moved in 2012, we were spending $800 on fuel for our vehicles every month. We lived in our car. Going to the park, school, playdates, work all involved driving in the car. We were not living the life we envisioned for ourselves. So, we moved in town to Decatur. The first event we ever attended was the Decatur Earth Day Festival at the Oakhurst Garden. We parked at our rented house and walked to the Oakhurst Garden. It reinforced the reasons why we moved in town: more life – less emissions. Now we fill our cars maybe twice per month instead of twice per week.
TARA’S FAVORITE HOMEMADE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS A. General All-Purpose Awesomeness 1 Small spray bottle with filtered water 3-5 drops each (depending on size of bottle): lemon, sweet orange or blood orange, lime, and grapefruit essential oils. This blend can be used for so much, it is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. Uses: Spray mattresses and pillows to refresh after illnesses. Spritz into the air around the home (or burn in an oil diffuser) to deodorize and sanitize. Spray stinky kid shoes! Pour small amount into laundry to refresh from hard water deposit smells, or other stubborn funky odors. Countertop/kitchen spray. Spritz rugs, carpets, curtains, towels, throw pillows for general refreshing. B. Orange All-Purpose Cleaner Save those leftover orange peels and place them in a glass jar (mason/canning jars work great) and fill to cover the peels with distilled white vinegar. Let sit for two weeks, giving a good shake every day. Mix 2 parts water with one part of the orange vinegar mix in a spray bottle and use around the house. Mine usually gets used quickly but it should last a couple of months. Vinegar is reported to etch natural stone countertops (like granite) so if you have granite countertops, or the like, it might be wise to avoid them with this cleaner. Variations: any citrus peels will work, add vanilla, peppermint, almond extracts, fresh herbs from your garden, whole cinnamon sticks, or whole cloves.
WANT TO START A GARDEN?
HIRE THE WYLDE CENTER’S GARDEN COACH TEAM!
ardens build healthy minds, bodies, and communities. Gardens connect people to the environment, their food, and the people around them. When you start a garden and invite people in, you see greener futures unfold for everyone. This is especially true for school gardens, where students participate in hands-on outdoor learning that reinforces their classroom curriculum as they try new foods and garden techniques. Say you want to plant a garden at your school—but where do you start? Or maybe you already have a garden, but don’t know how exactly to take care of it. Or all of your plants are wilting—what’s wrong, and what do you do? School gardens can be daunting, especially for parents and teachers who don’t have horticultural training. To address this need and lend a hand to school gardens, the Wylde Center piloted its Garden Coach program in the City Schools of Decatur in 2013. Wylde Center staff consulted with schools on garden care, led parent and student work days, and helped restore struggling gardens. We were thrilled to work with Clairemont Elementary School parents as they installed their school’s new gardens!
More excited, though, were the Clairemont students who celebrated the grand opening of their garden on Earth Day 2013, by holding a school-wide celebration and giving their parents tours of the garden. Students are so attached to these new gardens the Garden Coach team helped install that they even spend their recess defending the garden from wayward dodge balls. After a great pilot year, the Wylde Center is excited to formally launch its Garden Coach program in 2014. We now offer Garden Coach services for schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations to help start gardens and keep them going: • Our experienced staff have studied agriculture, horticulture, sustainability, and school garden practices, as well as cultivated their knowledge through years of industry experience. • These Garden Coaches will come to you and help you answer the tough questions: Where should we build the garden beds? How should we build the garden beds? What do we put in the garden? How do we take care of it? Whether it’s seasonal growing, soil building, crop
rotation, watering, composting, or pest management, we help you find the solution that’s right for you. • Finally, hands-on garden work is who we are. Our Wylde Center staff lead workdays to help with all of your garden needs, from bed building to irrigation to planting—all while teaching you and your volunteers these same valuable techniques. • Even better, our highly trained Education staff can help you transform your garden into a hands-on learning experience for all ages! With the Garden Coach team’s helping horticultural hands on your side, new and old school gardens alike can look their best, produce the most high-quality organic food, and provide the best hands-on education experiences for children. It’s simply our mission —community, education, and greenspace— delivered to the metro-Atlanta community. For more information on Garden Coaching services and pricing, visit wyldecenter.org.
WYLDE CENTER’S TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM
hinking about planting an edible garden at your school? Have a school garden and don’t know how to care for it, or even what’s in it? Want to use the garden as part of your curriculum, but don’t know how? Let the garden and education experts from the Wylde Center teach you what to do! Our one-day training courses for educators open up the eyes and minds of teachers and staff to see edible school gardens as a versatile, hands-on teaching tool – and gives them the skills to use this green resource, too. Whether Language Arts or Math, Science or History, Agriculture or Art, school gardens are fertile ground for lessons and learning across all grade levels. Even better, these trainings are tailored to your needs. Curricular strategies are tailored to the grade levels of your students. Trainings are done on-site at your school garden, so you know how to take care of it, what’s
growing in it, and how to specifically use your garden to teach. Schools can even choose between three workshop options: • Teaching in Your Edible Garden • Installing and Maintaining Your Garden • Growing Green Futures: Teaching in and Maintaining Your School Garden (bargain priced!) No matter which option you choose, all materials are included – even a delicious, local, farm-fresh lunch. Anytime of the year is a great time for teacher trainings, giving teachers the chance to incorporate the garden into their curriculum plans for the year. So don’t wait – sign your school up for a teacher training today! For more information and pricing, visit www. wyldecenter.org or contact Melanie@wyldecenter.org. See you in the school garden!
GREEN THUMBS UP:
GARDENING AND COOKING CLASSES TAKE OFF WITH OLIVER HOUSE SENIORS
by Melanie Heckman Education Program Manager
“I’m having a very good time planting seeds in the garden. I did some canning since we’ve had the garden; I did cold pack with the green tomatoes, the okra…and the corn, tomatoes. It’s just very exciting to be outside and planting away!” -- Joan Norman, as she and other members of the “Thumbs Up” garden club were harvesting okra and tending the garden beds this past summer.
t 10:30 on a cold Wednesday morning, the room was filled with new faces, new perspectives, and new smells. Participants in the morning’s cooking class were up to their elbows in grated apples, juiced lemons, and shredded beets. As they grazed, squeezed, mixed, and chopped, they happily chatted away and shared some of their experiences with fresh foods and desires for healthier lives. This might seem like a typical scene from a room full of high school culinary students, environmentally-minded young adults, or Oakhurst families, but it wasn’t. Instead, the energetic and enthusiastic participants were residents of the Decatur Housing Authority’s new senior housing facility, Oliver House. The Wylde Center has a long-standing partnership with the Decatur Housing Authority to bring gardening and garden-based healthy living to DHA residents. For several years, they have worked together to bring community gardening to families at the Spring Pointe apartments. Wylde Center programming at the DHA’s community center continues to reach hundreds of young students, educating them about gardening, healthy food choices, and more. With this history of garden-based programming, the Wylde Center was thrilled when the plans for the newly-built Oliver House facility included resident gardens. Completed in September 2012, the award-winning Oliver House is now home for 80 senior residents. Oliver House was built not only to promote the activity, safety, and comfort of its residents, but also to set the bar for quality and green design in affordable senior housing. In November 2013, this facility that includes Section 8 housing was named an Allen Wilson Development of Excellence by the Atlanta Regional Commission, signifying its cutting-edge and resident-friendly design that positively impacts the surrounding community. Oliver House is also a certified EarthCraft Multifamily building, with its energy-efficient design, solar power generation, geothermal heating and air conditioning, rainwater harvesting for irrigation and toilets, and much more. In the center of this energy-efficient, green building are the Oliver House garden beds. Since 2013, the Wylde Center has been funded by generous grants from Kaiser Permanente and the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority to lead garden programming at Oliver House using these garden beds. The goal: increase physical activity, gardening knowledge, healthy cooking habits, access to fresh produce, and overall wellness for Oliver House seniors. Gardening was nothing new to the seniors in the garden club—over 75% had worked in a garden before! However, none of them had access to a garden over recent years, and they were all excited to get back in the garden. After voicing what they wanted to grow, seniors dug in with planting eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. As they
ABOVE: Seniors at Oliver House made applesauce as part of their November workshop on canning and preserving fresh foods for cold months.
BELOW: Raised beds in the courtyard of Oliver House, planted with okra, summer squash and watermelon for food, and with flowers for pleasure.
PROGRAM OUTREACH learned about pest management, weeding, soil amendment, and crop rotation, the crops flourished: corn, okra, cucumbers, broccoli, kale, garlic, kohlrabi and more were sprouting out of the garden beds and landing on the plates of Oliver House residents. Most participants said they wanted to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but they were too expensive to buy – now, 100% of participants are incorporating fresh veggies into their diets as they pick from the garden! Even better, they are sharing these veggies with their friends and neighbors. One resident (Ms. Phyllis) even hosted a tea party for thirty of her friends using the cucumbers, herbs, and tomatoes growing in the garden this past summer. As cooler weather set in this past fall, programming moved into the kitchen for healthy cooking classes. Across the board, the Oliver House seniors want to be healthier, live healthier, and eat healthier both for themselves and their families. As a result, they are particularly enthusiastic about the cooking classes, with new participants showing up for every class. Residents first attended a canning class in November to learn to preserve the fresh fruits and veggies they harvest. Through a series of subsequent healthy cooking classes, seniors have been learning to substitute healthier techniques and foods in their favorite recipes (see our baked apple recipe for an example). Many have tried foods for the first time, from baked sweet potatoes to raw beets. Whether it is kale chips, Caprese salad, sautéed spinach, or canned applesauce, seniors have devoured the new recipes and techniques and have committed to trying them at home. This spring, seniors will plant the garden with spring and summer crops that will easily make their way onto dinner plates. Healthy cooking classes will continue, with special monthly guest chefs from Les Dames D’Escoffier, a philanthropic society of leading female chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, farmers, food writers, and more. As part of their Green Tables initiative, Les Dames D’Escoffier is excited to connect food sources with urban communities through the Oliver House program. The Wylde Center is thrilled to be part of this garden-based programming at Oliver House, giving seniors access to more fresh veggies and better health. As the seniors have noted, however, it’s about so much more than fresh veggies and cooking techniques: being in the garden and classes makes them feel better physically and emotionally as they get outside, get active, and get connected with their community. Over the last few months, the seniors at Oliver House have been learning new, healthier substitutes for some of their favorite recipes. Our Healthy Holidays class in December featured roasted sweet potatoes to replace sweet potato casserole, sautéed spinach instead of creamed spinach, and more. But we all know that what makes a winter holiday is the apple pie with its buttery crust and hours upon hours of peeling apples – unless you’ve got this great baked apple recipe that brings the apple pie taste without the sugar, fat, and elbow grease.
Ingredients: 2 large apples cut in half (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith) 2 tbs melted butter 2 tbs brown sugar 2 tbs flour 4 tbs quick-cooking oats Pinch of cinnamon Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut apples in half; remove seeds and core with a paring knife or spoon. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up. Combine cinnamon, oats, flour, brown sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture onto the apples, making sure to fill the hole in the middle. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 4.
WELCOME TO THE WYLDE CENTER!
his year, the Wylde Center welcomed two new staff members to our urban gardening programs. Say hi when you see them and ask about the incredible work they do!
Sumayya Allen: Urban Garden Educator Sumayya joined the Wylde Center in January 2014 with years of experience engaging the public in organic gardening. After farming at the Organic Agricultural Cooperative in New Mexico, she dedicated herself to growing healthy soils, foods, and communities. Her commitment has immeasurably benefited the Atlanta community through her work at Gaia Gardens, Truly Living Well, Global Growers Network, and Risala Gardens. With a Bachelor of Science from Emory University in Environmental Sciences, she also coordinates Emory’s educational gardens. Sumayya expertly leads the Wylde Center’s educational programs at the Decatur Housing Authority and at the Edgewood Community Learning Garden. What spurs Sumayya’s dedication to organic gardening in urban communities? She says, “Our industrialized food systems take a toll on our planet and bodies alike. I’m excited to help others become aware of their food sources and empower them to make positive changes. I especially love to teach others to both grow healthy food in urban settings and restore the urban ecosystem. Through education, we can begin to heal the earth and ourselves.”
Leslie Tunmore: Assistant Educator After majoring in Communications and Asian studies at the University of Buffalo, Leslie spent two years with Americorps building financial literacy, better nutrition, garden knowledge, and physical activity with underserved youth across the country. Her passion to foster healthier communities brought her to the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University to focus on Behavioral Science and Health Education. Leslie’s energy and knowledge have been an invaluable asset to the Wylde Center’s programs at the Decatur Housing Authority since she joined us during the summer of 2013. When asked what motivates her, Leslie answered: “Understanding where our food comes from and knowing the importance of nutrition and physical activity brings happiness and health to our lives. Giving the kids and community the knowledge and skills to grow, choose, and talk about food gives them control over their health. It’s a beautiful thing.”
CLASSES FOR ADULTS AND YOUTH What is Growings On? Growings On is the name of our class series that focuses on sustainable life skills such as animal husbandry, gardening, cooking, and art. Brought to you by a talented group of teachers, you will have a great time adding new skills to your life.
As a Wylde Center member, do I receive discounts on classes? Yes, you do! As a thank you for supporting the Wylde Center, we hope you will take advantage of the discounts we offer on classes, event rentals, and birthday parties.
How do I register?
a. Register online at wyldecenter.org and click on classes b. Email Andrea@wyldecenter.org for assistance or questions about classes. c. You may mail check a week or more in advance to 435 Oakview Rd. Decatur, GA 30030 Attention Andrea Zoppo with name of classes, email and phone number. Make your check out to Wylde Center.
Who may take classes?
Everyone! We offer classes for ages 2 up to 102!
Thank you to our Greater Decatur Garden Tour Presenting Sponsor Simmons | Fouts | Fichtel Architecture and Design for supporting this great event. Interested in attending? Check out DecaturGardenTour.com. Tour takes place April 26 and 27, 2014.
SFFAD has discovered an Amazing New Community on Lake Hartwell With Mountain,
Lake, and Golf Course Views, a Community Garden and Plenty of Activities for the Whole Family to Enjoy!
Please Come See our Very First Show Home Opening Spring 2014! Visit www.Curraheeclub.com for more property information
5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED. REGISTER ONLINE AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Intro to having a Little Animal Farm in a Big City! Family Friendly Educational Tour Sunday, April 6, 2-4pm $25 Wylde Center Family Members, $30 Non Member Families Location: Social Goat Bed and Breakfast, 548 Robinson Avenue Atlanta, Georgia 30315 Join Kristy at the Social Goat Bed and Breakfast and learn the how her and her husband care for their urban funky pets! See the coop, interact with the animals, check out the mini barn and be inspired by their “little farm in a big city”. Kristy has Nigerian dwarf goats, cats, turkeys, chickens, bees, and fish! They also have an olive grove! The last 30 min of the class is q/a. The Inn is available to stay at and you may just fall in love with this urban treasure. Families welcome. This is an educational class. If you have young children, be sure 2 adults are present. Their website is thesocialgoatbandb. com. 5 families max.
BEEKEEPING & ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Chickens are Easy! Intro to Keeping Chickens Saturday, May 3, 10am-12pm $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 non member Join The Celtic Gardener, Anne-Marie Anderson, for our popular chicken crash course. This class will cover the basics of coop design, relevant ordinances, breed selection, care and feeding and outside resources. Anne-Marie is a local keeper of an “urban flock," Chair of the March 28-30, 2014 Urban Coop Tour, and enjoys spreading the word about sustainable gardening and urban farming. The last 30 min of the class is Q&A. Reserve your spot today!
Raising Chickens for Meat: How to Process Chickens Saturday, June 7, 10:30-12:30pm $30 for Wylde Center members, $35 for non-members Location: Darby Farms 2795 Nunnall Shoals Rd Good Hope, GA 30641 Join Daniel at Darby Farms and learn about how Daniel manages his successful poultry business and learn the hands on process. This class is for adults only. Participants will learn how to humanely process chickens and see why this method is superior. Chicken for sale after wards. Participants may camp out the night before for a small donation. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 days in advance if you want to camp.
Who grows there? Plant ID for gardeners Saturday, April 5, 10-12pm $15 Wylde Center Members, $20 Non Members Want to know what plants are calling your garden home? Join Wylde Center Instructor Véronique Perrot to learn to recognize major plant families and to ID common garden plants. Students will learn to use leaf, flower and root to recognize common weeds. They will also learn to spot possible problem plants. Bring mystery plants to ID. Handouts provided.
GARDENING NATURE & URBAN FARMING
Seasonal Vegetable Planting and Maintenance Saturday, April 26, 10:30-12:30pm $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 Non Member Join Wylde Center Instructor Anne-Marie Anderson, the Celtic Gardener, for a comprehensive look at growing edibles. This essential class will cover planting techniques and varieties for common annual and perennial vegetable groups, edible flowers and easy fruits. Pruning, supports, succession planting and mulches will also be discussed. This short yet in-depth class is specific to Atlanta’s climate zone, conditions and soils, and is a part of the Wylde Center Certification program. Limited spaces open to the general public.
Create Your Own Vertical Garden! Sunday, April 27, 2-4pm $50 Wylde Center Members, $55 Non Members From Martha Stewart to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, everybody is making Vertical Gardens and now you can too! Join Kurt Straudt of southeastsucculents.com and see how a simple frame is transformed into a beautiful vertical living garden that is a joy to view and share. You will decorate your own 12'' X 12'' wooden frame and fill it with colorful succulents for a one-of-kind piece of living art that will grow and change for years to come. A variety of succulents will be provided. This is a material intensive class AND you must register 1 week in advance so we can get frames built.
5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED. REGISTER ONLINE AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Wild and Woolly Oasis: Food Gardening as an Ecological Experiment Saturday, May 3, 2-4pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 non member Location: Off Site (location will be emailed to you 2 days before class) Join Véronique Perrot in her Lake Claire garden to learn about integrating chickens, bees, water catchment, composting and more to produce abundant food while re-cycling nutrients and reducing work. We will cover various elements of a garden as an ecological system, look at their interactions, and see how these elements play out in Véronique's garden. We will specially look at the Black Soldier Fly and her larvae, and how this indigenous insect can be put to work in the garden. Handouts will be provided. Pest and Disease Management (limited space available) Saturday, May 17, 10:30-12pm $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 Non Member Join JC Hines, Wylde Center Urban Greenspace Manager, and learn how to identify common home garden pest and disease with a focus on vegetables, and traditional and nontraditional ways to treat them. In this essential class, JC will cover how to design an at home pest and disease management plan as well as in the field identification in our very own mini-farm. This is a short yet in-depth class and it is a part of the Wylde Center Certification program. Limited spaces open to the general public. Principles of Permaculture; Work Where is Counts Saturday, May 17, 1-3pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 Non Member Location: Oakhurst Garden 435 Oakview Rd. Decatur, GA 30030 Join Garden Designer Brandy Hall and explore the ethics, attitudes, and principles of a growing movement called Permaculture in this intensive 2 hr class. Permaculture is an approach to designing our settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. Brandy Hall passionately engages communities through education, design, and installation of food forests and perennial farms and gardens through her small ecological design firm, Shades of Green at shadesofgreeninc.org The Magic of Mushrooms Sunday, May 18, 2-4pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 Non Member Join Duane Marcus, of the Funny Farm, at the Oakhurst Garden and we will explore the many ways in which fungi enrich our lives. Fungi provide us with food, fiber and medicine. They assist us in growing our own food, fiber, craft materials and medicines. They are nature's internet allowing plants to communicate and nurture one another. Creating an Abundant Garden Paradise with an In-depth Tour of an English Garden Saturday, May 31, 10:30am -12:30pm $20 Wylde Center Members, $25 Non Members Location: 215 Clarion Ave Decatur, GA 30030 Learn to make use every inch of your yard for beauty, food and relaxation during a personal tour of the abundant garden of Anne-Marie Anderson, The Celtic Gardener. Graze on food plants while exploring how to make nature your partner and ally: using materials generated on site, incorporating chickens for waste disposal and compost, and bees for pollination and honey. More details about this class are online.
Create a Living Wreath with Succulents Sunday May 25, 2-4 pm $50 Wylde Center Members, $55 Non Members Join one of our favorite teachers, Kurt Straudt, of Southeast Succulents, for a fun hour and a half of creating a living wreath to put on display at your house. Each person will leave with a simple, yet elegant creation that can last for years!! All materials provided. You must register several days in advance for us to order supplies.
Compost: Heart of Gardening, Soul of Waste Reduction Sunday, June 8, 2-4 p.m. $10 Wylde Center Member, $15 Non-member Join UGA Master Composter/Master Gardener, Michael McLane for a complete introduction to composting. There is a compost method for everyone. This workshop will include theory and handson methods for composting the materials in your yard and kitchen.
Vermiculture: Build and Take Home a Worm Bin Saturday, June 21, 3-5 p.m. $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non-Member Join UGA Master Composter/Master Gardener, Michael McLane for a complete introduction to using red wigglers castings to grow stronger seedlings, enrich soils and reduce kitchen waste. Class participants will learn an easy, low maintenance way to turn waste into a useful amendment. This method is particularly appropriate for people living in small spaces. Students will build their own "condo-style" worm bin in class and learn to make casting “teas”.
5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED. REGISTER ONLINE AT WYLDECENTER.ORG
Simply Delicious Series at the Decatur Recreation Center
FOOD HEALTH, ART & WELLNESS
n August of 2013 the Wylde Center, in partnership with the Decatur Recreation Center, began a new series of cooking classes called Simply Delicious! Focusing on seasonal produce and pallets, local chefs guide participants through easy scrumptious recipes in a beautiful newly renovated kitchen in downtown Decatur. The Wylde Center chefs Jennifer Weissman, Jerilynn Bedingfield, and Charli Vogt are passionate about health and flavor. Their backgrounds are based in this love and the belief that food is not just a necessity but can bring people together in celebration of the season and the body. Weissman is a health educator, a school food advocate, and a baker while Bedingfield, avid gardener, loves cooking what she grows as well as being an herbal enthusiast. Vogt is a registered nurse, health coach, long time Wylde Center teacher and believes that food can be a key healing force. All of our Simply Delicious classes have received wonderful reviews.
Simply Delicious: Spring Greens and Wild Things Tuesday, April 1, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Enjoy the spring explosion of lettuce, and eat your weeds too! Join Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfeild and weâ€™ll make dishes featuring peas, dandelion, arugula, asparagus, wild violet, and other greens sprouting up in our gardens. Jennifer is a health educator, school food advocate, home cook and baker. Jerilynn is a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast.
Simply Delicious: Foraging and Medicine Making Tuesday, April 29, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Weeds are weeds only in the eye of the beholder. Learn how to find weeds (herbs) that are good medicine and process some into medicine. Know what to pick, where to pick, what part to pick, and when to pick. We will make a tea, tincture, powder, and perhaps some oils. The medicines we make depends on what we find in our foraging. More info online.
Drop in Free Chakra Toning in the Garden Saturday, April 5, 8:30am-9:30am Free for all Join Sarah Werkheiser at the Oakhurst Garden for a Chakra Toning Meditation. Together we will pull our intentions and voices together to balance our chakras while being surrounded and embraced by the balance of mother nature. You may pre-register of just show up!
Simply Delicious : Late Spring Harvest â€“ Asian Style Tuesday, May 6, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Spring greens take on new flavors as we make lettuce wraps, raw spring rolls, and tasty dipping sauces. Join Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfeild as we get deliciously creative with our local spring bounty. Jennifer is a health educator, school food advocate, home cook and baker. Jerilynn is a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast.
5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED. REGISTER ONLINE AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Simply Delicious: Know Your Herbs and Spices Tuesday, June 3, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Cooking with herbs and spices will liven up your recipes and decrease your reliance on salt. Join Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfeild and we’ll sample a variety of herbs and spices, then we’ll make recipes like pesto and za’atar which can be staples in your everyday cooking. Jennifer is a health educator, school food advocate, home cook and baker. Jerilynn is a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast.
DROP IN FAMILY & CHILDREN CLASSES
Simply Delicious: Summer Harvest Salads Tuesday, July 1, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Summer salads are the best! Join Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfeild and we’ll use the summer harvest of fruits and vegetables to create spectacular summer salads. Jennifer is a health educator, school food advocate, home cook and baker. Jerilynn is a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast.
Simply Delicious: All about Tomatoes Tuesday, August 5, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Better Boy, Brandywine, Black Cherry, Green Zebra, Speckled Roman, Wapsipinicon Peach, Sungold, Moskovich, and Cherokee Purple. Curious? Sliced and diced, sauces and salsas. Join Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfeild and we’ll taste, cook and experience all things tomato. Jennifer is a health educator, school food advocate, home cook and baker. Jerilynn is a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast.
DROP IN WYLDE CENTER KIDS CLASSES AT THE OAKHURST GARDEN ARE THE 1ST THURS OF THE MONTH. Spring Gardening with Miss Lady Bug Thursday, April 3, 4:30-5:15pm $7 Wylde Center Members, $12 Non Member Families Lettuce plan and plant our garden beds together! As a team, we will pick out veggies from our plant sale and put them in the ground. Each child will have the option to decorate a pot and take home a veggie plant as well. Parents may drop off kids ages 6+. Younger children need supervision. We will serve organic apples with Oakhurst Garden honey for snack. You may pre-register of just show up!! Limited space available, so signing up is a good idea.
Faerie House Playtime Thursday, May 1, 4:30-5:30pm $7 Wylde Center Members, $12 Non Member Families It’s time to decorate and rebuild the faerie homes of the garden with Miss Lady Bug! We will weave vines, collect sticks, and construct spaces for the little ones to dance. Each child will have the option to decorate a fae stone with glitter to take home. Parents may drop off kids ages 6+. Younger children need supervision. We will serve organic apples with Oakhurst Garden honey for snack. . You may pre-register of just show up!! Limited space available, so signing up is a good idea. Summer Gardening with Miss Lady Bug Thursday, June 5, 4:30-5:15pm $10 Wylde Center Members, $15 Non Members Families We will harvest spring goodies to take home and as a team, we will pick out summer veggies from our plant sale and put them in the ground. Each child will have the option to decorate a pot and take home a plant as well. Parents may drop off kids ages 6+. Younger children need supervision. We will serve organic apples with Oakhurst Garden honey for snack. You may pre-register of just show up!! Limited space available so signing up is a good idea. 14
CHILDREN’S SUMMER PROGRAMS
IT’S GOING TO BE ONE WYLDE SUMMER! T
he Wylde Center will be hosting its first One Wylde Summer programs for kids ages 5-12. Our One Wylde Summer programs let kids dig into the garden and go wild in our woodlands through hands-on learning that makes science fun. From birds to bugs, seeds to stories, and grubs to gardening, children will explore the hidden lives of the plants and animals right here in Oakhurst. Grab a friend, and sign up today for One Wylde Summer! Cost: $7 per 1.5-hour experience. Includes all program materials. Super Summer Package: Sign up your children for 4+ experiences, and each one only costs $5! Whether it’s one child attending four programs, or four children attending one, it’s still only $5 per experience. Number of Students: Max 15 students per program—sign up while there’s still room! Want to sign up? Contact email@example.com.
GROWING WILD WEEK
Intro to the Garden Tuesday, June 10, 9:00-10:30 (5-9 years) Location: Oakhurst Garden Get a glimpse of what it’s all about! Tour the Oakhurst Garden and get hands-on with our star players: the chickens, compost, and garden!
Down to Earth Tuesday, June 17, 9:00-10:30 (5-9 years) Location: Oakhurst Garden Dig into the fascinating world of wriggly worms and delightful dirt! Venture to the garden to learn about soil, compost, worms, decomposition, and more.
Garden Folklore Wednesday, June 11, 9:00-10:30 (7-12 years) Location: Sugar Creek Garden The garden has so many stories to tell, and so do its gardeners! Learn some common gardening myths and hear stories from around the world about where our food comes from, how we use it, and what it does to us when we eat it.
Insect Investigations Wednesday, June 18, 9:00-10:30 (7-12 years) Location: Sugar Creek Garden It’s time to meet the six-legged members of the garden! Learn all about where they live, what they eat, and the cool things they do. You’ll even learn how to collect and ID some common and crazy garden insects!
Seed Stories Tuesday, June 24, 9:00-10:30 (5-9 years) Location: Oakhurst Garden Journey from seed to sprout to silver maple as we explore the lives of plants. Learn how seeds are made to travel far, grow tall, and survive attack. Not only will you get to design your own seed, but you’ll get to plant some seeds of your own to take home!
It’s Not Easy Being Green Thursday, June 12, 9:00-10:30 (10-15 years) Location: Sugar Creek Garden Imagine trying to live in a world where everyone’s out to eat you, but you don’t have legs to run away with! Learn who’s trying to eat our plants and how they defend themselves with everything from thorns to poisons, and how these defenses make some of our favorite plants taste the way they do.
What’s the Buzz? Thursday, June 19, 9:00-10:30 (7-12 years) Location: Oakhurst Garden Get the buzz on bees: learn how they live together in a hive, and why they matter so much to us humans. You’ll even get a taste of what it takes to make honey as you learn about beekeeping and how the bees make such sweet treats.
Birds Take Flight Wednesday, June 25, 9:00-10:30 (10-15 years) Location: Hawk Hollow From chickens to chickadees, birds are an important part of life in the garden. Discover how an egg becomes a chick, what it’s like to be a bird, and the anatomy, habits, and ecology of birds. At the end of class, go on a search to identify local birds by sight and sound. Wild Habitats Thursday, June 26, 9:00-10:30 (7-12 years) Location: Hawk Hollow Explore our newest greenspace and discover its treasure trove of different habitats! From the stream, to trees, to grassland, to thicket, to the insides of logs, get up close and personal with the plants and animals of Hawk Hollow.
ven the seeds sprouting up this spring have a funny bone, so give your friends a laugh with these celery-rib-tickling garden jokes!
by Melanie Heckman Education Program Manager
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE WYLDE CENTER GIFTS RECEIVED JANUARY 1 - FEBRUARY 28, 2014 GROWING CIRCLE MEMBERS ($500-$5,000) Karen Allin Josh and Sara Becker KC Boyce and Michelle Frost Caroline and Dan Branch Marc and Shelby Brennan Patricia and Adele Gipson Rex Hamre Jeremy Jeffers Mike and Elizabeth Sage Jennifer Weissman and Stephen Kay IN MEMORY OF Jake and Kathe Swint, by Dr. Diana Lynn Farmer Sally Wylde, by Woody and Carol Bartlett Sally Wylde, by Elizabeth Dean Sally Wylde, by Carlotta Marie Morris IN HONOR OF Kristin Allin, by Karen Allin BUSINESS MEMBERSHIPS AND CONTRIBUTIONS Leslie Erickson, At Home with Leslie Seven Hens Your Cause, LLC MEMBERSHIPS RECEIVED Michelle Adkins Karine Alleyne Lewis and Kimberly Amos Debra Ann Armstrong Alan and Margaret Ashe Jennifer Aultman and Michelle Abel
Julie Austin Steven Bales Mike and Tiffany Barcik Steve and Darlene Barrett Linda Bell Lachlan Brown and Jennifer Denning Emilie and Chuck Bryant Katie Chapman Gene and Elzbieta Clower Rachel Cochran Simon Coffin and Kira Zender Debi Copeland Julia Cordero Bob and Lydia Dalton Elizabeth and Richard Davey Patty Decraene Kevin Delaney & Robin Lee-Delaney Diane Despard Melissa Dunn Dr. Paula Edwards Nicole and Brandon Forde William Funk and and Gayle Gellerstedt Ardath Grills Cara Guri Nancy and John Hamilton Kristen Hampton Ellen Herbert Lindsay Hodgson Jacquelyn Howard Elizabeth Iffrig Tamara Jones and Lynne Huffer Wyn Jones and Lisa Maxwell Susan Keith Karl and Cheryl Kortemeier Julia Kortrey Judy Lampert Denyse Levesque and Yoland Smith Amy Lovell and David Smith
Christina Lu Brittany Mackey Nancy and Allen Manley Claire Miller Maurie Mintz and Markus Porkert Carmen Venketasubrayan Mohan Lori Montgomery Robert Morrison Angelique Murr Megan and Darin Olson Bob and Joanne Pemberton Benjamin and Meredith Perlman Barbara Petit Kate Marie Phillips Kevin and Tara Redd J. Pargen and Lesley Robertson Cindy and Mark Sanders Christopher Sidor and Bobbi Kay Benjamin Silk Kirsten Simmons Chrissy Spencer Mary Anona Stoops Caroline Stubbs Shawne Taylor Fritz and Rianne Taylor Yolanda Thompson Anna Varela and James Salzer Ann Walter and Derek Economy Roger A. Walton Stephanie and Jay Wansley Christina Warburton Robert Watkins Tim Watts Rebecca and Jonathan Watts Hull Marisa Wheatley Margie Willbanks Lyman and Leisa Wray Susan M. Wright
design • installation • maintenance 404.373.0023 firstname.lastname@example.org www.inbloomlandscaping.com 17
7 PLANTS TO NOURISH YOU AND YOUR GARDEN by Dara Suchke Sugar Creek Garden Coordinator
t Sugar Creek Garden, a Wylde Center greenspace, we focus on growing plants that nourish both the human body and the garden’s ecosystem. This focus has directed me, as the garden manager, to not only grow familiar fruits and vegetables to provide fresh, organically grown produce, but also medicinal plants. After taking the year-long BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies Certification Program last year, I learned about growing and sustainably harvesting plants for medicinal and healing purposes; this learning experience has expanded my focus at Sugar Creek to incorporate a variety of medicinal plants, many of which are native to the southeast. I also want to share what I have begun to learn about sustainable harvesting practices and making medicine with our plant allies.
ally observed, studied, grown, harvested, and made medicine with. These plants grow easily in your home garden, and many of them are perennials, meaning that after you plant them once, they will live in your garden for many years to come, producing their foliage in the spring and summer and going dormant for the winter months. Another wonderful aspect of these plants is that they nourish you and your garden on many levels since they attract a multitude of pollinators, and their flowers provide aesthetic beauty in your garden; therefore, you’re healing and feeding not only yourself, but also your entire garden ecosystem.
the part of the plant that is harvested for medicinal use, the form of herbal preparation (tea, tincture, or salve), and the specific ways in which it offers healing potential to the person taking it. In the green box you will find some basic plant medicine terms defined, and some additional resources to further your understanding of growing, harvesting, and making plant medicine.
Using plants medicinally connects us to ancient healing arts – time-tested and proven homemade remedies that empower a home gardener to reach into the garden for plants that heal and soothe the body, mind, and soul. In this article, it is my intention to introduce you to seven plants that I have person-
The seven plant profiles that follow briefly introduce you to each plant. You will see the familiar plant name as well as the botanical Latin name; when using plants medicinally, it is important to know the Latin name so that you can be certain you’re using the preferred medicinal species of the plant. You will also learn if the plant is an annual (growing only one year) or a perennial (growing multiple years), its preferred growing conditions,
Throughout the year at Sugar Creek Garden, I will be hosting monthly herb harvesting and medicine-making gatherings that will allow us to experience the medicine making process as a community; email me, Dara Suchke, at email@example.com to be added to the Sugar Creek Garden notification list and/or keep an eye on the Wylde Center listing of Upcoming Classes & Events to find out about the monthly date and time.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
*Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Perennial, easy to grow in all soils; may be divided from an already existing plant.
Perennial that thrives in partial or full sun with fertile, well-watered soil.
Leaf and root, fresh or dried, used to make a salve (external application).
Stems, leaves, and flowers used fresh to make a tincture of fresh plant (best), or in tea.
Comfrey quickly seals and heals minor skin abrasions, wounds, burns, bruises; it does an amazing job of smoothing out rough, dry skin and it’s quite the gardener’s friend, both as a skin salve for rough, dry hands, and the fact that it makes an amazing mulch and/or foliar spray that nourishes all the other plants around the garden.
Skullcap is one of the best herbs to use if you are stressed out and need help calming down. It relieves anxiety and nervous tension. It is also an antispasmodic that can relieve muscle spasms and cramps, including those associated with PMS, restless leg syndrome, and TMJ. It can also offer relief to headaches, even migraines, and can bring relaxation and rest if you’re suffering from insomnia. Because skullcap’s medicinal properties are best captured fresh, this is a valuable plant to grow in order to have access to the most potent form of its medicinal properties.
CAUTION: Do not use comfrey salve on deep wounds because it stimulates the outer skin layer to heal so quickly that it will heal the outer layer before the deeper tissues can drain and heal.
Plants with an asterisk (*) are native to the southeast and are often found growing wild. To sustainably and ethically harvest plant roots, it’s respectful to harvest only part of the root if possible, leaving the rest to grow, or harvesting one root for every five plants.
Calendula, or pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) Annual, fast-growing plant that grows easily in the home garden, as well as in containers Flower head and petals (dried or fresh) most often used externally as a salve, but may also be taken in tea or tincture form internally. Calendula is an amazing tissue healer, and it works very well in a salve combined with comfrey. Calendula also cleanses the tissues and prevents infection, as it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. If you have internal tissue trauma (e.g., following surgery), it speeds up the regeneration and healing of those internal tissues. This is a safer salve to use on deeper wounds as it heals the wound from the inside out. CAUTION: Do not use internally when pregnant.
GARDEN Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Perennial that grows in partial or full sun with fertile soil; it spreads easily, so you may want to grow it in a container. Leaves (pictured at right) are used dried or fresh intea or tincture. Lemon balm is a great assistant to the nervous system as it helps to relieve stress and anxiety, including stress-induced headaches. People with insomnia may find it helps them relax and fall asleep. It also has anti-depressant properties, and can help specifically with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
*Elder(berry) (Sambucus canadensis) Perennial that grows as a small tree, or coppiced as a large bush; grows well in partially sunny, wet areas of the garden; easy to take a cutting from an already established tree and stake it in the ground – it will grow! Flowers (top picture) (fresh or dried) and berries (above picture) used in tea and tincture. Elder flowers, and berries especially, are a powerful immune system stimulant that will readily protect you from the latest cold, flu, or virus circulating around; I personally took this almost daily while all of my friends were sick this winter, and it kept me healthy. If you are sick, it still stimulates the immune system to get to work and move the illness through; as a diaphoretic, it causes sweating, breaking fevers and relieving toxins from the body. Of course birds love the berries too, so consider growing a small grove of these understory trees so there is enough for everyone. Note: You may experience a laxative effect from Elder; berries should not be eaten raw.
*Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida) Perennial that grows well in full sun to partial shade with fertile, regularly watered soil; some species need to experience seed stratification, so sow these in the late fall/early winter. Once established, Echinacea spreads readily, creating a beautiful patch of coneflowers that pollinators will also love. Leaves and flowers may be used in teas or tinctures; the root in tincture form; fresh plant material is most potent; harvest the root while it is dormant in the winter. Echinacea is a powerful immune system stimulant, and since it can be used by people of all ages and is safe during pregnancy, it has become well-known as a go-to herb to prevent the common cold and flu, as well as to get the immune system moving at the onset of an illness. It has been over-harvested in the wild, so in order to sustainably use this herb, it’s a great idea to grow your own.
Herbal preparation terms defined and described simply Salve: Plants that are used topically, like comfrey and calendula, are infused in an oil base; olive oil is most commonly used. The fresh or dried plant part is chopped up and placed in a covered dish in the oven on the lowest setting (usually 175 degrees) for 3-5 hours; during this heating process, the oil absorbs the healing properties of the plant. After removing the oil and plant material from the oven, allow it to cool before straining out the plant material; the remaining oil is infused with the plant’s medicinal properties. Salves are often re-heated with beeswax, which thickens and preserves the oil into a salve that has a long shelf life.
Tincture: Some plants cannot release their healing potential in water, so they are not very effective taken as a tea; they need another medium, such as alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or apple cider vinegar to pull out their healing properties. When you undertake the 2-week long process of extracting the plant’s healing properties with an alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or apple cider vinegar medium, you make a tincture. Tea, or infusion: This is the best-known method for extracting a plant’s medicinal properties, and most plants that contain healing properties in their leaves are effectively taken as a tea, which is also called an infusion.
Tulsi, or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) Annual, fast-growing plant that grows easily in the home garden, as well as in containers. Leaf and flower, harvested in the early flowering stage used dried or fresh for tea or tincture. Tulsi, or holy basil, is one of the most common herbs used throughout India. It is known as an adaptogen, which is an herb that enhances one’s ability to respond and adapt to stress. It is an herb that if taken regularly as a tea or tincture strengthens the immune system, heart, respiratory system, and adrenals. It can also help with your ability to concentrate and helps uplift a person from mild depression. An easy-to-grow, beautiful plant that pollinators love as well! After you plant your herbs, and you’re waiting for them to grow, explore these resources for deeper knowledge and inspiration: Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians (2009), by Patricia Kyritsi Howell Making Plant Medicine, 3rd ed. (2000) and The Medicinal Herb Grower (2009), by Richo Cech A Modern Herbal by Maude Grieve, available at botanical.com BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies wildhealingherbs.com Horizon Herbs: www.horizonherbs.com Georgia Herbalist Guild www.georgiaherbalistsguild.org Herbalista.org www.herbalista.org/Herbalista/Home.html
Q&A WITH JC: TRELLISING MELONS Dear JC, I have some great raised beds in my backyard with full sun and I’ve been happily gardening veggies for a few years. In the summer I grow all the normal goodies, but I am dying to grow watermelon and cantaloupe, and maybe a couple of pumpkins for Halloween. I’ve heard that it is impossible in raised beds. Is there a way for me to grow these wonderful summer fruits in my beds?
by JC Hines Greenspace Manager, Oakhurst Garden Site Coordinator
Choosing your melons will be the fun part. There are many varieties of melons, pumpkins, and watermelon that you can grow on a trellis. Here are some varieties that will help you get started:
These are some of my favorite crops, too. Not only to eat, but to grow! There is a lot of potential for these to grow in your raised beds, but before you get notions of 20 pound watermelons or carving pumpkins for the kids, there are a few caveats.
Tigger Melon, 1-2 pounds, 80 days Earli-Dew Honey Dew, 3 pounds, 80 days Charentais Cantaloupe, 2-3 pounds, 85 days Sekatas Sweet Melon, 1-2 pounds, 85-95 days Golden Midget Watermelon, 3 pounds, 70 days Pixie Watermelon, 6 pounds, 85 days Sugar Baby Watermelon, 8-10 pounds, 78 days Baby Pam Pumpkin, 4 pounds, 105 days Jack-be-Little Pumpkin, less than a pound, 95 days New England Pie Pumpkin, 4-6 pounds, 105 days Baby Boo Pumpkins, 4-6 pounds, 105 days Lil’ Pump-Ke-Mon Pumpkin, 1-2 pounds, 105 days
They love sun!
Now let’s plant!
First off, each raised bed situation is different, but one thing for sure is melons and pumpkins love full sun. If you consider the size of the leaves on pumpkin and melon vines, you can understand their needs. Those things are giant solar panels that soak up the sun and help to feed the plant. Six hours is the minimum, but I find that eight hours or more gets you maximum potential.
Now that you have some trellis ideas and some varieties to get you started, the rest is easy. You can direct seed the plants according to packet directions or use transplants. When growing on a trellis, you can put the plants closer together at planting time because their vines are growing up instead of out. About a foot apart is a good rule of thumb on a trellis. You’ll likely end up with this beautiful mess of leaves, vines and fruit all growing together. Care for them as you normally would.
Sincerely, Melonless Melissa Dear Melissa,
To trellis or not to trellis…. There are two good ways to grow pumpkins, melons, gourds, cucumbers and all the good summer vines: with or without a trellis. The simplest way to grow vines is to let them roam on the ground without a trellis. Vines on some plants can get up to 15 feet long! If you have lots of space, this is no problem. Since we are focusing on small spaces and raised beds, we will focus on trellising these vines. As many of us city dwellers are aware, growing space can sometimes be limited, either because of lack of square footage available, or because it is difficult to find a space where the sun squeaks through the treetops for 6+ hours a day. This is what makes trellis growing great. You may already be growing some cucumbers on a trellis; the same rules apply to growing melons and pumpkins. You will want a strong trellis to hold the weight of the vines. You will want the type of trellis that fits your space.
Attaching the vines Once the vine starts to get longer and the tendrils are ready to attach themselves to something, you will want to help them along. You can very loosely tie the vines to the trellis with garden tape until they take hold on their own. Supporting the fruit As the fruits begin to mature, you will want to support them so they do not break off the vine as they hang. There are many tricks to do this, but the two most common are old pantyhose and old t-shirts. Attaching one side of the material to the trellis, you will want to cradle the melon and attach the sling to the other side of the trellis. Keep track of time Mark your calendar with the planting date as well as fruit set. Knowing this date will help you determine when the fruit is ripe and ready to harvest. You will be able to enjoy melons in the summer and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (which I will happily let you share with me)! TOP LEFT: For a bit larger space this is a great homemade trellis. It is sturdy and can by done with some spare wood scraps. TOP MIDDLE: A bamboo trellis can be built with help of a friend. Use strong, thick bamboo for the base and small bamboo for what the vines will climb. BOTTOM LEFT: Get creative with a trellis. TOP RIGHT: Growing melons in pantyhose slings on a beautiful wood frame trellis tunnel. BOTTOM RIGHT: An old t-shirt from your closet or the thrift store cut in to large strips will help with support.
WHAT’S IN THE NAME: SQUASH, PUMPKIN, GOURD? I
s a pumpkin different from a squash? Is winter squash actually grown in winter? There is a fair amount of confusion around what is what in these crops. I will give you some pointers to navigate the seed catalogs so you can better decide what you want to grow. First off, squash, pumpkins and gourds, along with melons and cucumbers, all belong to the Cucurbitaceae plant family, which gets its name from the Latin word for gourd. In common American parlance, gourds are ornamental, like bottle gourds and various small gourds that decorate the Thanksgiving table. In much of tropical Asia however, gourds of various species are grown as vegetables, and they are beginning to appear in farmers markets. You will find them under “edible gourds” in classic seed catalogs. Now for squash and pumpkins. Squash and pumpkins For most vegetables, the precise species of a variety doesn’t really matter unless you want to save your seed or breed your own varieties. Varieties of squash and pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita, but not all to the same species. For these vegetables, knowing who’s who can help you grow the right ones for your garden, because different species have different growing requirements. Different types of squash don’t fall neatly in different species, so I illustrated where a sample of varieties belong in the diagram below. The color bubbles indicate the four species of squash; the black lines indicate which ones are summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins. The varieties of Cucurbita pepo and C. maxima, in the green bubbles, tend to do better in cooler conditions. The varieties of C. moschata and C. argyrosperma (formerly known as C. mixta), in the orange bubbles, do better in very warm conditions like our Georgia summers.
by Véronique Perrot Wylde Center Intern
Summer squash and winter squash Both summer squash and winter squash are actually grown in summer, as all cucurbits grown for food have tropical or subtropical origins: they grow only in warm weather. The season in their names refers to when they are eaten, not when they are grown. Summer squash, and its sisters yellow crookneck, zucchini, pattypan, and scallop, are harvested while small and tender. They don’t store for very long. Before the advent of the fridge and long distance shipping, they were only available in summer. On the other hand, winter squash and pumpkins are harvested when ripe at the end of summer. Their skin is hard, and they keep for months at room temperature—unless you carve them for Halloween. Winter squash and pumpkins can be eaten all winter long; they actually need to cure after harvesting to finish ripening and become sweet. Most varieties have been bred to be harvested either as summer squash or as winter squash. However, there are a couple of varieties that can be grown for both use (Tatume and Tromboncino). Winter squash and pumpkins For many, pumpkins are carved while winter squash are eaten. Actually, all pumpkins are winter squash, but not all winter squash are pumpkins. Many pumpkins are excellent to eat, in addition to being beautiful. If you want to grow squash for your winter pantry, check the seed catalogs under both winter squash and pumpkin. Some seed catalogs have a separate category for pumpkins, while others lump them together with winter squash. Browse a seed catalog like Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. (rareseeds.com), and you can start planning your summer garden to include some of these beauties.
For a lot more information about C. moschata squash, turn the page! LEFT: This diagram shows a sample of squash varieties grouped by species (in the colored bubbles), and by type (black lines). Notice that there are winter squash in all four species, pumpkins in three species, and summer squash in two species. Pepos, maximas and moschatas are widely grown in the US. The fourth species is more widely grown in Mexico, especially for its seed. Indeed, the scientific name for C. argyrosperma means “silver seed.” Varieties of the same species will cross freely, but crosses between varieties of different species are rare. If you want to save seed from your squash, plant only one variety of that species. For example, if you want to save seed from your spaghetti squash, don’t plant zucchini, pattypans, delicata or Jack Be Littles (all pepos) in the same garden, but you can plant Butternut (moschata) and Candy Roaster (maxima).
A SQUASH FOR THE SOUTH: CUCURBITA MOSCHATA M
y interest for moschata squash was triggered by a pest. Early in my gardening years in Atlanta, I planted four hills of zucchini. Soon I had four green leafy mounds, and I began rubbing my hands in anticipation, counting the ways I was going to use the bounty of summer squash, and how to sneak them into family meals (my children were small at the time…). Then one morning I came to check on the status of some promising female flowers. I found four wilted, sorrylooking shadows of their previous glory. Total yield for four plants: 2 small zucchini. I had just encountered the squash vine borer (see box at right for more details on this pest and a few others). Since pesticides are out of the question in my garden, I started reading up on squash. I came across this nugget of information: there is a species of squash resistant to squash vine borers! So here is part of the solution to the squash vine borer problem: grow varieties that can survive its attacks. In addition, varieties of this species need heat to do well, especially warm nights, and can take humid conditions. This species was first domesticated in the lowlands of northern South America, more than 6,000 years ago. These guys should be happy here! This squash species is Cucurbita moschata. Most likely you have already seen it, cooked it and eaten it as butternut squash. Not surprisingly, it grows well around here, so much so that butternuts have become the classic winter squash. There are, however, many more varieties of moschata squash. In particular, there are moschata varieties grown for fresh eating as summer squash.
Growing moschatas Vines and spacing. Most moschata varieties grow into vigorous vines. The Seminole pumpkin vines can reach 25 ft, and will climb up trees if trees are in their path. Larger fruited varieties (check the list below) are best left to roam on the ground. You can also bury the vines at intervals to encourage the development of extra root systems. Plant in hills 2-4 ft apart, one or two plants per hill.
A moschata gallery
Most moschatas are winter squash (see at right), but a few varieties have been bred fo be harvested as summer squash (see below). Here are a few exciting moschata varieties worth trying. Moschata summer squash. If you have trouble growing zucchini, try these varieties. Like classic summer squash, check the plants often for harmful insects (see green sidebar on page 23); unlike the summer squash bush varieties, these grow as long vines. Avocado: A Korean variety named for its shape (like a green Florida avocado); pick when squash is about 6 inches long, starting 65-70 days after sowing.
Tromboncino, Zuccheta rampicante: pick when squash is small, less than 15 inches or so to eat as a summer squash; can also be harvested as winter squash similar to butternut.
by Véronique Perrot Wylde Center Intern
Butternuts and smaller fruited varieties, as well as summer squash varieties like Tromboncino or avocado squash, can be trellised (check JC’s Q&A on page 20 for more about trellising cucurbits). Trellising will allow you to keep an eye on the young squash and make harvest easier. Space trellised plants 2 ft apart. There are a few varieties of butternut (like Burpee’s Butterbush and Metro PMR) that have been bred for short vines (about 3 feet), allowing you to grow butternuts in tight quarters. Soil and location. Like all squash, moschatas need full sun, and they really like a lot of organic matter in the soil (they often grow right out of the compost heap!). Prepare hills with a couple of buckets of well rotted compost and leaf mulch, and mix it well with some garden soil. Form a shallow depression at the top, about 6 inches across and 2 inches deep, to make watering easier. Sowing. You can start the plants in deep pots under strong lights, no more than 2 to 3 weeks before planting them out as they will grow vigorously. However, it is easier to sow directly in place after the last chance of frost and the soil has warmed up, usually by mid to late April in Atlanta. Sow 4-6 seeds per hill, 1 inch deep, and keep the strongest one or two plants. Keep the seedlings free of bugs as much as you can by handpicking the bugs. Once the plants are growing vigorously, they can take some damage from squash beetles and cucumber beetles. Timing for growing moschatas as summer squash. The immature fruit harvested as summer squash is ready to pick in a couple of months after sowing. You can start new plants as late as mid July for a fresh crop of summer squash in late September. Timing for growing moschatats as winter squash. Winter squash need 3 to 4 months of warm weather to reach maturity. To make sure your squash will have all the time it needs to mature properly, plan on planting winter squash no later than mid- to late June. You could use the space vacated by garlic and spring plantings of snap peas. Moschata winter squash. Moschata winter squash range between 1.5 lb to 15 lbs, with a few varieties reaching 40 lbs. Mature moschatas have dark orange flesh that is dense, sweet and fragrant, in keeping with their scientific name. They need about 95 days for smaller varieties, up to 120 days for the larger varieties, to reach maturity. Squash with a neck: butternuts, crooknecks, etc. These are the best known of the moschatas. The squash is elongated, with a small seed cavity at the base of the squash. Waltham Butternut: 3-4 lb squash, with a thick neck. Burpee’s Butterbush: a bush variety of butternut; make small but tasty squash (1.5 lbs) in the shortest time of the winter squash (86 days).
Tahitian Melon, Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck: very long neck, and big squash (10-20 lbs). Canada Crookneck: same shape in a smaller version (2-4 lbs).
GARDEN Cucurbit insect pests
Fresh harvest Blossoms. The squash blossoms are a delicacy in Italy and Mexico (excellent fried, sauteed, stuffed, etc.). You may harvest male blossoms after the bees have visited them, and the extra female blossoms with the tiny squash attached. Greens. The top 6 inches of young shoots can be pinched off the vines, and cooked like kale or spinach. Summer squash. Some varieties, like Tromboncino and avocado squash, are grown specifically for harvest as summer squash. In addition, the young and tender fruit from all varieties can be picked as summer squash. Once the female flowers start to appear (the flowers with the baby squash attached to it), check the vines every day and pick the squash as small as you like them.
For the winter: harvesting, curing, and storing moschata winter squash Patience is the name of the game for really tasty winter squash. If you harvest before the squash is really mature, you will end up with bland and watery squash, and it may not keep for long. Eat them before they are fully cured, and they will taste starchy instead of sweet. Harvest when the vines dry out or frost threatens. If you want to clear your garden earlier, wait at least until the squash skin is too hard to dent with a fingernail, and the fruit lose their shine and become dull. The skin of many varieties is tan at harvest, while other varieties are green at harvest and will turn tan in storage. Clip the stem a couple of inches from the squash, and carry them carefully to a sheltered place (like a porch). If the fruit pulls from the stem, eat those first as they won’t keep as long. Try not to bruise the squash during transport. Let them be for a couple of weeks while they finish drying out and hardening. Move them inside earlier if cold weather threatens. This curing time will allow the sugars to develop, and this needs some warmth. The largest squash need longer to cure than the small ones, so be patient! Store them at room temperature in a dry place (on bookshelves, as decoration on the mantelpiece, on the kitchen counter, etc.) until you want to eat them. They will keep until next spring or summer.
Moschata pumpkins: seminole, cheese, etc. These squash have the upright, more or less flattened pumpkin shape. They look beautiful, but don’t forget that they are also excellent to eat in pies, soups, and more. Tan Cheese, Long Island Cheese: shaped like a wheel of cheese; up to 10-12 lbs. Seminole: grown in Florida by Seminole Indians; particularly resistant to squash vine borer; smallest of this group (4-9 lbs)
Japanese and Thai varieties. These are the weird cousins from Asia. These varieties are usually dark green at harvest, and sport bumps, warts and ribs galore. Yokohama (RIGHT) has a flattened, pumpkin shape with thick ribs in solid green.
Musquée de Provence, Fairytale (BELOW): traditional French variety in the shape of Cinderella’s carriage, deeply lobed and mahogany skin; up to 20 lbs.
Gardeners growing cucurbits around here have to contend with a fairly long list of insect pests. To keep these insects under control: • Grow resistant varieties (like moschatas) that can deal with some damage without dying on the spot. • Keep an eye on your plants and handpick the pests as adults, juveniles and eggs when you see them, and drop them in a jar of soapy water. This is particularly important when the plants are young and small; larger vines can take more insect damage. Handpicking early in the season will delay the population boom and give a head start to your vines. You may also use floating row covers on young plants. • Use kaolin clay spay (Surround) to protect the plants from insect attack. Kaolin is a purified form of Georgia’s red clay that is mixed with soap and sprayed on various crops. The kaolin forms a film that make the leaves and fruit unpalatable to pests; it has to be reapplied after heavy rains. • Reduce the buildup of the pest populations from year to year by removing the old vines at the end of the season; either compost them thoroughly in a hot compost pile, or give them to your chickens and have them pick out the insects. Squash borer. If your squash vines suddenly wilt and are not revived by a deep watering, they have fallen prey to the caterpillar of the squash borer (Melittia cucurbitae). The squash borer is a moth with clear wings, whose female lays eggs at the base of the stem of squash vines. Once they hatch from the eggs, the caterpillars burrow into the stem and munch on its inside as they grow. By the time the vine wilts, it is usually too late to save your plant. If you notice the poop of the caterpillars (frass) coming out of their entry hole, you can try to slit the stem open, remove the caterpillars, and mound soil on the stem. As a preventative measure, you can bury the stem of the vine at intervals to encourage the plant to root. If the original root system is compromised by squash borers, the new ones can take over. Squash beetle. At some point during the summer, you may notice that the leaves of your cucurbit plants become lacy, then wither out and die. You may also notice the sausage-like yellow pincushions (¼ to ½ inch long) underneath the leaves that are responsible for the damage. These pincushions are the larvae of the squash beetle (Epilachna borealis), a close relative of the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis). The adult resembles a ladybug, but is orange rather than red, and about 1.5 times larger than standard ladybugs. Handpicking adults and larvae as soon as you notice them is your best option. Adult (FAR LEFT) and larva (LEFT) of the squash beetle, with the lacy appearance of the squash leaves
Cucumber beetles. These beetles are small (¼ inch), and come in striped (Acalymma vittatum) or spotted (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) versions. Adults of both species feed on petals and young shoots of cucurbits, and transmit the cucumber mosaic virus and the agent of the bacterial wilt. The larvae live underground and feed on roots. The larval stage of the spotted cucumber beetle is known as the southern corn rootworm. Squash bug. The squash bug (Anasa tristis) usually appears later in the season, but it can destroy your plants if you don’t at least try to control it. As all true bugs, the squash bug sucks plant juices with its rostrum. Unfortunately, the saliva of the squash bug is toxic to the plant, and the leaves wilt and die after the squash bugs feed on them. The adults are ½ to ⅔ inch long dark grey bugs; the juveniles hatch light green, and become light grey, then darker grey, as they molt. Adult (highlighted in yellow) and juvenile squash bugs on the underside of a squash plant leaf. Notice the size of the different juveniles.
ATTRACTING BENEFICIAL AND POLLINATING INSECTS
by Stephanie Van Parys, Véronique Perrot, JC Hines, Monica Ponce
wo frequent questions we receive when teaching vegetable gardening classes are: “How do you get your squash plants to bear fruit?”, and “How do you manage insect pests?” The answer to both is good bugs! Good bugs can be pollinators, the ones that will transport pollen to make squash, okra, watermelon, cucumber, plums, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, eggplant, and more, bear fruit. The bulk of the pollination work is done by many species of bees, helped by butterflies, moths, and flies. Good bugs can also be beneficial insects that eat the bad bugs. We are often less familiar with them than we are with pollinators, but their role is crucial to a healthy garden. Meet four of many beneficial
insects on the opposite page (right-hand side). To attract pollinators and beneficials, include flowers in your vegetable and fruit garden. Choose a wide range of colorful, bountiful, and native varieties that bloom across the seasons to provide a consistent source of food for your pollinators. Many species of beneficial insects are carnivorous at some stage of their life, but they feed on nectar at another stage, so they too need flowers. Leave some places a little wild for the good bugs to nest and overwinter. Brush piles under the shrubs, dead wood out of sight, and some bare dirt patches are all many pollinators and beneficials need to make a home in your garden.
Let your bees know your garden is a source of food when you allow a patch of Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) to grow. In the mint family, henbit is certainly considered an annual winter weed. However, it is one of the first to bloom in the late winter garden (February and March). Allow a patch to bloom in your garden to produce an important source of nectar and pollen for bumble and honeybees as they start to build up their stores. Annual.
Arugula (Eruca sativa) is a tasty vegetable for fresh eating, but did you know that the flowers are loved by bees? Sow the seeds in your garden in September and again in March. In April/May, your plants will bolt, which is what happens when the stalks elongate and flowers start blooming. The flowers are lovely with creamy white petals veined with purple, and yellow stamens. Once the flower stalks are dry, the seeds will drop in your garden for next season’s crop.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a cover crop that is loved by honeybees, ladybugs, tachnid and hover flies. Seeds are planted April through September directly in the ground. Buckwheat grows quickly and starts to bloom 6 weeks from seed. In addition to attracting beneficial insects to your garden, the plants keep the soil covered and adds organic matter to your soil. After the plants are done blooming, cut down and leave on the surface to decompose. Annual.
Basil is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and loved by insects. Basil flowers attract all types of bees that in turn pollinate your vegetables. We are taught to pinch, pinch, pinch those flower buds off so that the plant puts its energy into the edible leaves. For the bees, allow one plant to fulfill its blooming dream. Any basil will do, including Cinnamon Basil (picture above) that will grow into a beautiful specimen and fill your senses with its spicy fragrance. Annual.
Plant cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) in your fall garden and eat the leaves through the fall and winter. In the spring (April), your cilantro will bolt and produce many tiny flowers that pollinators love! On a sunny day, watch bees, lady bugs, parasitic wasps, lacewings, and tachnid flies sipping nectar from the flowers. Don’t worry, these are hardworking insects that will feast on insects you don’t want in your garden. Allow the flowers stalks to dry and produce their coriander seeds that will ultimately drop to the ground and germinate as cilantro in the fall. Annual.
In September, plant your fallow garden beds with crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) seed. The clover is a cover crop that adds nitrogen to your soil all winter long when nothing else is growing. In the late spring (April), the flowers will attract hordes of pollinators to your garden. And this is good. Georgia research shows that when crimson clover is planted with pecans, the clover sustains populations of two types of aphids. These species are not pests of pecans, but provide alternative food for beneficial predators such as lady beetles, which later attack pecan aphids. Annual.
Butterfly weed or milkweed (Asclepia tuberosa) grows in over 50 states and Canadian provinces. No wonder it is such an important food source for migrating butterflies such as the Monarch. However, in 2013, it was noted that the Monarch butterfly population is 1/50th of what it was in 1997. Due to development, butterflies are losing their source of food, including butterfly weed. Though adult butterflies can feed on a number of nectar sources, it is their caterpillars that need to feed on milkweeds. Let’s all include this drought tolerant perennial in our full sun garden. Blooms May and June.
In the fall, it is glorious to watch birds hanging upside down on your bent sunflower heads, pecking away at the seeds. Bees are crucial to the success of sunflowers producing seeds. The yellow petals attract the bees to the flower head which contains many smaller tubular disc flowers, each with its own supply of nectar and pollen. Stand under a Mammoth sunflower in midsummer to watch the fat bees cover themselves in pollen as they fly from flower to flower. One researcher observed 32 species of native bees visiting a sunflower. Avoid seed listed as pollen-free. Full sun. Annual.
GARDEN Think twice before using chemicals in your garden. Bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects are valuable in our gardens to control pests, ensure pollination, and increase biological diversity. If you notice pests in your garden, try to limit or avoid the use of insecticides. Insecticides, even organic ones, kill good bugs as well as bad ones. When you kill predatory insects like the ones described below, you risk a population explosion of their preys.
Planting thyme, oregano, and marjoram is certainly delicious for your kitchen, but did you know that both native and honey bees love the tiny, two-lipped flowers that bloom during the summer? Plant these drought tolerant perennials in a sunny location. The low growing foliage is also a great habitat for beetles who hunt at night patrolling the surface eating slugs(!) and cutworms.
Small purple flowers cover upright stalks of the aromatic anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). Bees and butterflies will visit this herbaceous perennial in mid-summer. Allow the flower stalks to dry out in the fall so that they may drop seeds to the ground and self-sow. Try threadleaf giant hyssop (Agastache rupestris) which features apricot colored flowers loved by hummingbirds!
If you are considering using an insecticide, choose it very carefully: • stay away from neonicotinoid insecticides like imidacloprid. Neonicotinoids are absorbed by plants and show up in the nectar and pollen for months after treatment. For more information, read www. xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/NeonicsInYourGarden.pdf • pick a less toxic and rapidly degradable pesticide, such as an organic or OMRI listed brand. Find out how to use them best and how toxic they are by reading about them (www.xerces.org/wp-content/ uploads/2009/12/xerces-organic-approved-pesticides-factsheet.pdf) If your pest has reached a threshold and you need to use a pesticide, follow these guidlelines to minimise the impact on pollinators: • spray when your plants (and nearby weeds) are not in bloom; • choose a pesticide applied as a solution, an emulsifiable concentrate, or granules, as these formulations leave less residue or rarely come in contact with bees and other pollinators.
UNDER THE RADAR—
BENEFICIALS WORKING HARD IN YOUR GARDEN
Cosmos (shown here) and Zinnias are fun summer annuals planted as part of a cutting garden for vase blossoms. Cosmos’ dusty yellow pollen will docorate bodies of visiting bees and will bloom through the frost. The many branches of these two annuals also make a great habitat for the beautiul garden spider, Argiope aurantia, a predator with a big appetite.
Pink coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) add a striking component to any full sun garden. While you are admiring how the prominent orange cone contrasts with the pink petals, the bees and butterflies are making their way to sip abundant nectar. In the fall, when the flower heads are dry, gold finches swoop down to eat the dried seeds. Perennial.
Attracted by buckwheat, dill, and cilantro flowers, these syrphid flies (aka hover flies) lay their eggs near aphid colonies. Once hatched, their larvae consume hundreds of aphids each. That is good pest control!
Though it has an elegant name, the lacewing has a voracious appetite for all the insects you don’t want in your garden, like aphids, small caterpillars, small flies, thrips, leafhoppers, and scale insects. Yum!
Ever seen these larvae in your garden and wondered what kind of crazy insect it is? Guess what, it is a sweet ladybug baby. Except it isn’t sweet. It is busy eating up all of the aphids it can find. Which is a good thing.
There are so many good things happening in this photo—where to begin? A non-stinging parasitic wasp has emerged from an egg sac after it spent its larval time eating the innards of this tomato hornworm. Whoa.
Resources Blooming late summer until frost, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is a handsome addition to your garden. Give it room. When full grown, this annual will be 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The structure of the plant creates nice hideaways for spiders. The blossoms attract native bees, honey bees, and hordes of butterflies. Tithonias are very drought tolerant and will self-sow if flower heads are allowed to overwinter.
To provide a food source for your beneficial insects all the way into October, include asters in your garden. The purple blossoms will provide color when all other summer blossoms have long faded and the bees are still looking for food to stock up for the winter. A perennial, these flowers prefer a full sun situation with well-drained soil. On a sunny fall day, put your ear close to the flowers and listen to the buzzing of the fat bees.
1. Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership is working to create and restore viable pollinator habitats around Atlanta for butterflies, bees, moths, bats, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects and animals. gapp.org 2. Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin has been providing native plants since 1972 that beneficial and pollinating insects love. prairienursery.com 3. Monarchs across Georgia’s mission is to inspire future caretakers of the natural environment by educating about monarch butterflies and other pollinators. eealliance.org/monarchs-across-ga 4. A book full of information to manage insects in your garden: Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control, 2013, by Jessica Walliser.
Do you like to write? Want to see your articles published in the Wylde Center magazine?
Wylde Center is looking for volunteer writers who like to write about gardening techniques, garden topics, environmental lifestyles, or creating nature habitats. Writers also wanted for program spotlights. Submit your interest/article ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles ideas will be reviewed by the magazine editor.
WE HAVE A NEW WEBSITE!
Courtesy of Tim Watts CliftonFarm.org Tim@cliftonfarm.org Wylde Center staff worked with Tim Watts last fall to update our website and make it easier for the public to find out about our programs. Browse away! Need help with your website? Contact Tim Watts at Tim@cliftonfarm.org.
Golden Farms is a family farm near Athens devoted to raising free-range Heritage hens and providing non-GMO feed to like-minded individuals. We have over 250 chickens with plans to increase our flock with additional Heritage breeds. • Baby chicks from $5, and adult hens: Americaunas, Colored Orpingtons, Marans, Silkies, Bantams • Special order chicks and grow out services • Poultry supplies including Start-up Kits • Pastured eggs & processed whole Heritage chickens • Texas Natural non-GMO, no soy, no canola feeds: Starter, grower, broiler, layer & scratch • Scheduled deliveries to Atlanta
P.O. Box 94, Statham, GA 30666 • 770-906-6510 email@example.com 26
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SPRING AND SUMMER PLANT SALE
March 1- April 15: Spring herb, vegetable, and flower transplants April 1- June 15: Summer herb, vegetable, and flower transplants Hours: sunup to sundown. Plant sale is located at 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030, and is self-service.
DECATUR EARTH DAY FESTIVAL
April 19, Noon - 4 PM A Decatur tradition, the Wylde Center hosts the Earth Day festival at its Oakhurst Garden site. Children crafts, live music, parade, cake contest, and so much more!
STATE OF THE WYLDE CENTER
GREEN LIVING SERIES CLASS - FREE
The Hidden Chemical Ecology of the Garden: Why plants and animals sting, turn our tongues, and make us sick May 20, 10:30 -11:30 AM Presenter: Melanie Heckman, M.S. in Biology from Georgia Tech and Education Program Manager at the Wylde Center Location: Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St., Decatur, GA 30030 From humble tomatoes, bees, and thyme to exotic saddlebacks, milkweed, and fire ants, plants and animals use potent chemicals to subdue their prey, ward of competitors and predators, and stay alive. Discover the venomous, the poisonous, and the terrible-tasting plants and animals in the garden and their secret chemical lives. Learn how organisms make or obtain these chemicals, how they deploy them, and how it affects their victims. Weâ€™ll even address the age-old (and fascinating) question of why exactly onions make us cry.
THE BEER GARDEN
June 28, 5:30-8:30 PM Purchase your ticket starting May 1 for this great beer and foodie event. Last year it sold out! 21+ event. Includes a VIP hour.
SAVE YOUR SEEDS AND SHARE!
August 23, 10 AM -12 PM Join us for a free event in the garden and letâ€™s share tomatoes, celebrates their flavors, stories, and learn how to save seeds! We will gather at the Oakhurst Garden at 10am. At 10:30am the presentations and seed saving demos will commence. After we learn from our experts, we will taste and share our summer fruits. For more info visit Wyldecenter.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 15, 4 - 5:30 PM Growing Circle members*, community partners, and funders are invited to learn about program and garden updates as well as plans for the future. * Growing Circle events exclusive for current donors at the $500+ level. Further information for all of these events may be found at wyldecenter.org.