AVON LAKE — The folks who tend plots in the Avon Lake Community Garden are always on the lookout for pertinent programs to better educate residents in all phases of gardening.
The organization will sponsor its first-ever program on organic methods of pest control 7 p.m. Tuesday at the garden site at Troy Intermediate School where the half-acre, 150-plot garden was recently dedicated.
“Bugs are a year-round problem, but we know they are particularly troublesome in the summer,” said Dale Cracas, the garden’s co-chairman.
“This subject was one of the things we knew we had to present for gardeners who had questions about what’s wrong with their plants and why they may not be growing,” Cracas said.
The workshop will be led by Debbie Dean, owner of Dean’s Greenhouse in Westlake, who also will offer tips on proper times to thin plants, harvesting, watering and when to tie plants.
Given the brutal heat hitting the area in recent weeks, getting gardeners to recognize heat stress in their plants was deemed a top priority.
“Since we focus on organic gardening, we have to get people to be able to recognize heat stress and know what to do,” Cracas said.
Withered, yellowing leaves are often key signs of heat stress, which can be lessened for varieties of plants by moving them to shadier, cooler spots.
Insects that affect plants vary widely, from aphids and spider mites to whiteflies and chinch bugs.
Another issue to be covered during Tuesday’s program is the proper time to harvest vegetable plants, including tomatoes, peppers, beans, radishes, watermelons and cantaloupe.
“With a hot summer we knew we were going to be harvesting vegetables sooner than expected, and people would need to know when the right time to harvest these would be,” Cracas said.
Despite having been around plants a large part of his life, Cracas said he is still learning about them.
“There’s always one more thing to learn,” Cracas said.
Now that the community garden is up and running, the garden group can devote more time to educational programming.
“Every expectation for the garden has been exceeded,” Cracas said. “Not all of the plots have been taken, but we have a very happy situation there. Everything is growing so well.
“Now that we’re going full-speed ahead, I’d love to get master gardeners to come in and talk about all phases of gardening,” said Cracas, who is a member of the Avon Lake school board.
Master gardeners are individuals who earn certification through a series of classes.
Troy Intermediate School is at 237 Belmar Blvd., a short distance south of Redwood Boulevard.
Send your Avon and Avon Lake news to Steve Fogarty, 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.