Garden Marauders

As gardeners, we have to put up with marauding woodchucks, voles, squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and even human predation .  .  .  oh, but look at this cute little culprit!



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Benefit of No-Till Gardening

Jack is in his eighties and has been gardening for many years. When he started gardening at Canillas Community Garden last year, he was surprised by our minimal-till guidelines. Could farmers have been doing it wrong for centuries? He is an open-minded man and decided to do an experiment: The bottom two rows of lettuce in the photo above were planted with no-till. he dug a small hole for the lettuce starts and plugged them in. The top area was completely dug up and then planted. He conceded that the no-till plants in the bottom rows were larger and happier. Thanks Jack for this mini-demo of the benefits of minimizing disruption of the life and structure of the soil. Also glad to see that shredded leaf mulch around his plants – no bare soil!

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2019 New Gardener Orientation and Work Party

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Kathy, Lucinda, Paula, Nicole, and Maureen – great teamwork!


Carolyn, Kathy, Lucinda, Vishal, Maureen, Nicole – many hands making it work!


Paula, Helen, and Cherry mound the soil, preparing for placement of a new bed.

Great to meet the new gardeners and wonderful to see how quickly they became a team!  Thanks to all who pitched in and moved the new beds into place – so much was accomplished! Next step is to get compost on the beds and we are ready for planting.


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Kulkarni Family Garden



                                      Yuli and Polly                    Carolyn and Scott with sweet friends



Thanks to Liz and Cherry for donating these new beds.


Sorry we did not get a photo of Judith, Harriet, Allison, Megan and Jason – next time!






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Garden Bed Demolition Team

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Thanks to the team of demolition experts who showed up this morning, most of the rotted raised beds have been torn apart and are awaiting renewal. A carpenter has been hired to build six new beds, and then our garden season can be officially launched. There will be an orientation for new gardeners in early May.  Thanks to Cherry Angell and Liz Bickel for the donation of six new beds.

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Cindy’s Magnolia Tree

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A wonderful sight for winter weary eyes! This magnolia was planted at Canillas Community Garden to honor Cindy Heath, who had been the excellent and long-time director of Lebanon Recreation & Parks. Magnolias are an ancient genus; appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles.  Flowers bloom before the leaves develop.

We hope someday that Cindy’s tree will be as large and bountiful as the one in front of Alice Peck Day Hospital, currently in bloom.






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Earth Day 2019!





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‘Rollie Pollies’ Remove Heavy Metals from Soil


From Natural News, March 20, 2015 by: Lance Johnson

Turn over a brick or a board that has been lying in the yard for a while and underneath you may find a collection of pill bugs scurrying about. Also known as “rollie pollies” or woodlice, these grey-colored creatures can be found in many dark, moist environments feeding on decaying matter. What’s interesting about these critters is that they are not bugs at all. They are crustaceans and more closely resemble crabs and shrimp, not insects. They are characterized by their ability to roll up into a ball when they feel threatened. Another unique feature is that they have seven pairs of legs. They also act like kangaroos, toting their eggs around with them in a special pouch called a marsupium, located on the pillbug’s underside. Even stranger, they don’t urinate. Instead, they exchange gases through gill-like structures.

Pill bugs great for gardening, composting

Breeding or collecting pill bugs may be an important practice for homesteading and gardening. The guts of these pill bugs contain a number of microbes that help the critter feed on dead, organic matter. By releasing mass quantities of pill bugs into a mature garden, one can be assured that dead plant matter is being properly broken down and returned to healthy soil. Pill bugs literally speed up the process of decomposition. They circulate the soil. This can be very useful in composting. Treats for pill bugs include fungus and monocotyledonous leaves.

Pillbugs play an important role in the cycle of healthy plant life. They return organic matter to the soil so it can be digested further by fungi, protozoans and bacteria. This process produces a natural supply of nitrates, phosphates and other vital nutrients that plants need to thrive now and in future growing seasons. It is important not to introduce pill bugs into the garden too early, as they tend to munch on emerging plants. The grey soil workers often live up to three years.

Pill bugs clean up soil and protect ground water from heavy metal contamination

One very unique quality that these crustaceans possess is their ability to safely remove heavy metals from soil. For this reason, they are an important tool for cleaning up soil contaminated with pollutants like lead, cadmium and arsenic. In coal spoils and slag heaps, pill bugs come in handy. They take in heavy metals like lead and cadmium and crystallize these ions in their guts. The heavy metal toxins are then made into spherical deposits in the mid gut. With this special cleanup property, pill bugs survive where most creatures can’t, in the most contaminated sites.

The magic of the pill bugs helps reestablish healthy soil and prevents toxic metal ions from leaching into the groundwater. This means pill bugs are also protecting well water from becoming contaminated while stabilizing soils.


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