Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
30 April 2014
New Fire Ant Program
Reminder Wednesday May 7 Is Get Even Day
The team will treat the garden for Red Imported Fire Ants.
A few more volunteers are needed. Please contact Cedar Stevens to volunteer. Bait will put at flagged bait stations near the corners of your plot in the pathway. If you don't have a pathway, the bait will be in the corner of your garden but not broadcast. The Spinosad bait will only be served at those stations where fire ants are actively harvesting to avoid harming any other species.
The water will be shut off. If you DO NOT WANT A BAIT STATION PLACED IN YOUR PLOT, YOU MUST LET CEDAR KNOW at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please wish the SCG RIFA Bait and Switch team good luck! This is a pilot program that could help not just Sunshine but organic and community gardens all across the South that want to responsibly fight Red Imported Fire Ants.
It's getting hot fast so do not to let Service Hours sneak up on you! You need to do them before JUNE 30, 2014.
It has been proposed that the number of required hours go up. Here is a "Guide" that will be edited to reflect the Site Rule changes that are voted in. In the meanwhile you can still use it to see what tasks apply.
It also covers tasks that count for your TSVBI hour.
Changes to the Site Rules are part of the election on 5/31/14. Site Rule changes that pass will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.
Two changes of note are:
- The required number of service hours is proposed to go up (retroactive to Jan 2014.) EG. Full Plot goes up from 6 to 8 hours.
- It is also proposed that gardeners can now count ALL mowing, edging, beautification, improved-navigation, etc of "the common areas" as Service Hour time. This would apply to all of the pathways in the garden.
Keeping pathways safe for our members and the public, including the differently enabled, is part of our SCG non-profit charter.
It's the place for everything now and especially the new and exciting SCG FORUMS. Our webmaster Sharon has worked hard to get this info sharing center open and ready for all SCG members to use as a VIRTUAL COMMUNITY. Please do become "a regular" reader and contributor! For example, there are three new topics already "Ants", "ATTRACTING BEES and NO-TILL OR LOW-TILL GARDENING.
Fire Ant Identification
Harmless ants and other insects, such as bees, contribute to ecological balance at the garden and do not need to be eradicated. Be observant before you turn to ant poison. Sunshine Gardens is becoming more precise with fire ant abatement efforts. The board has selected a site wide strategy so that individual over-use of the Spinosad bait can wind down at SCG.
There are three cases that need action: 1) fire ants 2) tawny crazy ants and 3) a native-ant colony that has set up in your garden to guard and tend to aphids or other honey-dew producing pests on your plants. Watch the "ants" video on the website for further details.
Fire Ant ID
The acronym "FIRE-Up, Curl-Up" can be remembered as a check-list for
ID of fire ants:
F - For Fighter...when you disturb the mound they aggressively come toward the disturbance.
I - For Irregular SIZE...this is key! The ants vary in size among each other. This is easily seen with the naked eye.
R - For their Round hill-beds that form a high gopher or mole type mound of light, crumbly soil.
E - For the many Entries/Exits to their mounds which have a maze of underground tunnels; therefore there is NO center hole.
Up - Disturbed ants rapidly climb Up anything they can...up blades of grass, sticks, rocks...and human shoes and legs.
Curl-Up - When preparing to sting, a fire ant first latches on to skin or fabric with their mouths, with only a slight prick. They then curl-up their body into a C-shape before stinging with that fiery venom from their abdomen that we all dread.
Tawny Crazy Ants: Next week we will talk about ID of the dreaded Tawny Crazy Ant from southeast Texas. Sunshine members are asked to contact Travis County Extension Services immediately if these are detected at our site. Stay tuned...
Fire Ant Sting Remedies
Suggested remedies for fire ant stings...choose the level of response
that you personally need:
1) Immediately rinse the area with undiluted white vinegar, liquefied meat tenderizer or diluted chlorine bleach. Some people have found success using the "bleach pen", a stain treating device, to precisely dab each bite (rinse the bleach off as soon as it has done its job!)
2) Those prone to strong reactions to insect stings may want to immediately take an over-the counter anti-histamine (e.g., Benadryl.) Each person should confirm this option with your doctor.
3) Those with known insect allergies will need a doctor's prescription for an "epi pen" for self-injection. Keep the pen with you at all times in case systemic signs of anaphylactic shock arise, such as tongue swelling, throat-closing or a choking sensation. See more detail,
Events of Interest to Gardeners
Rebates for Compost, Mulch and
Great news! The City of Austin is offering rebates for things we should all be doing in our yards - mulching plants & trees, and aerating & topdressing our lawns. If you do all three things (according to their rules, of course) you can get as much as $180 back! Buy what you need, and be sure to keep your receipts. For rules and more details, visit the City of Austin's website.
A site with a multitude of links of interest to gardeners in Central Texas: http://gardeninglaunchpad.com/Aus.html"
Vegetables to plant in May
All month: Amaranth, Jerusalem Artichoke, Jicama, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Southern Pea, Peanut, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Water Spinach, Watermelon
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey email@example.com
- Vice-President - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary (acting) - Janet Adams email@example.com
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Michael Hall email@example.com
- Director - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 1, Jody Trendler email@example.com
- Zone 2, Katy Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 3, Ludmila Voskov email@example.com
- Zone 4, Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 5, Mary Gifford email@example.com
- Zone 6, Charlotte Jernigan firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 7, Jing Li email@example.com
- Zone 8, Irina Kaducova firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 9, Cheryl Hazeltine email@example.com
- Zone 10, Christopher Schroder firstname.lastname@example.org
- Weekly Weeder Newsletter - Margaret Powis email@example.com
- Plant Sale - Michael Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- TSBVI Liason & Volunteer Coordinator - Janet Adams jartdaht@gmailcom
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Water Leak Repairs - Stewart Nichols email@example.com
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert email@example.com
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder