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Urban Oasis

The Mexican Sour Gherkin Has Arrived!

We have our first tiny sour cucumber. It is the perfect size for a quick snack. Everything has really filled in and is doing great. Remember to keep your herb plants trimmed back because the new leaves have better flavor. If you let them get too big, they turn very bitter. Keep an eye on your produce too. Regular harvesting means more for you and less for the bugs. Don’t let your veggies get too big — harvesting them at a smaller size once ripe will give you more flavorful, tender produce.

The Garden is Exploding!

Nasturtiums keep on producing their peppery tasting blooms — they are perfect mixed in a salad.

The basil has really filled in, be sure to keep your flower stalks pinched off so that the plant will focus on producing the edible leaves instead.

Squash blossoms are a good sign! Not only does that mean we will have a good crop of squash, but the blooms are edible too. Try them stuffed with ricotta cheese, breaded, and fried, or cook them into a scrumptious squash blossom soup!

Happy Gardening!

A Time for Planting

It is a time of change in the Urban Oasis. We harvested radishes this week and made room for a squash plant in the front corner, where it will have room to spread out. Our onions are doing great, and we transplanted new tomato, basil and pepper plants into our square-foot bed. During all the recent storms, our squash in the vertical containers took a beating, and we lost several plants. So we replaced it with Melothria scabra, a vine that produces small cucumber-like fruit the size of grapes. The fruit looks like baby watermelon and is a hit with children. It is also called Mexican Sour Gherkin for its slightly sour/lemony taste. We can’t wait to report how these do in the garden!

Radish Babies

The rain keeps falling, and our plants keep growing. Our radishes are huge for how long they’ve been in the ground. Looks like we planted at the perfect time! The temperature has been just right and the weather is made for growing. By this time we expected our radish to be little more than thin red roots, but look! When we took a peek this morning, they were beautiful little spheres. Unfortunately, the rain has been growing everything…including weeds. Little sprouts that we did not plant have been showing up all over the square foot garden. This has been an everyday battle. Remember: if it’s not on the garden map, it’s fair to yank it out.

Storms and Our Sprouts

It has been a stormy couple of days, but that is exactly what our sprouts need! Our vertical garden of squash is thriving with the rainfall. The top sprouts took a bit of a beating, but they are still looking strong. The square foot garden has really started taking off. The radish has started to get quite big, and we’ll have to thin a bit sometime this week. Our edible flowers and onions have popped up as well! They are all looking healthy and getting bigger by the day. Unfortunately, the seedling tomato did not survive all the weather changes. We will be planting a replacement tomato when we transplant our pepper and basil. Are you seeing sprouts yet?

Sprouts Have Sprung!

Hello, gardeners! It has been a cold couple of weeks, but our urban garden is surviving. In fact, this morning we found radishes sprouting. It was the perfect way to bring in spring. So far these little radishes are the first of our direct sow plants to make an appearance. If you are planting along with us at home, we hope you find your root vegetables sprouting as well. The pepper and basil seedlings are still too small to be transplanted outside. With the radishes so small and close to the ground, we’re not worried about them yet. Still if we have another weekend of snow, they may need to be protected with plastic. In other news, the squash in our vertical garden also has begun sprouting. As we go into these next few weeks, our new garden will really start thriving!

Welcome Gardeners!

Welcome, gardeners, to Riverbanks’ Urban Oasis resource page. As you grow with us, we will be posting updates and answering questions. This week in Mrs. Pat’s Vegetable Garden at Waterfall Junction we started our Urban Oasis project. We installed an herbal tower garden, a strawberry bale garden, a vining vertical garden and 3'x3' square foot vegetable garden. We thank our Urban Gardening workshop participants for planting with us!

Although there are a lot of urban gardening options to be seen, we will be tracking and following the progress of our square foot garden as a tool specifically for the individuals who are growing gardens with us. We planted all our direct sow crops and started our seedlings that aren’t ready for the ground quite yet. It’s still very early in the planting season, so there’s not much to be seen yet. Be sure to continue to check back with us as your plants start growing.

Are you active on social media? If you are, tag your garden pictures with #RiverbanksUrbanOasis. We’d love to see your progress!

Riverbanks Responds

The weather has been wonderful this winter, but I’m worried about cold nights hurting my seedlings. What can I do to protect my plants if the weather drops?

When colder temperatures arrive, we recommend covering tender crops with a sheet of plastic. But remember, as the temperature rises back up the sheet will need to be removed so the sensitive seedlings don’t wilt away.

When planting in the square foot garden, how do I know how much space to give my plants?

When planting in a square foot garden you need to think about the size of the plants being used. Plants will either be small, medium, large or extra-large. Small plants can have 16 evenly spaced plants per square foot, medium plants can have 9 evenly spaced plants per square foot, large plants can have 4 evenly spaced plants per square foot, and extra-large plants have just one plant per square foot. If you are unsure which category your plant fits into, check the spacing needs on the back of the seed packet.