Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garden (re)Plan 2011

Earlier this week we had our first Community Garden meeting of the year. It was a great meeting, the members are really nice, and the perennial (har har) members were very informative. I found out that it is very heavy clay soil (surprise, surprise – the whole county is like that) and can be very wet. Purely by chance I chose a plot that is in the dryer section, so hopefully between that and digging some shallow trenches around my plot I won’t have too much trouble with drainage. Some of the members have been around long enough to build up their plots with a lot of compost and should have great gardens this year – but those of us with non-amended plots will have a lot of work to do.

Since there are extra plots available, I decided to use the entire 20’x20’ plot for myself and my friend can get a separate plot if she decides she wants to. On recommendation of the people who have been there for at least a season already, I’m increasing the amount of beans, leafy greens, and corn, as well as putting in potatoes. They said that root crops (besides potatoes, which do very well) are a failure until the soil is built up properly. With that in mind, as well as a few recalculations on my end, I changed around my plan:

  • I’m going to keep all of my Hungarian heart tomatoes in my home plot to preserve a true seed to save for next year
  • I’ll plant my beets and carrots in my home plot, inside of the Hungarian heart tomato hedge
  • I’ve moved around the Community Garden (CG) plot to accommodate the addition of spinach and potatoes
  • I put pumpkins and zucchini under the corn instead of the acorn squash since I won’t use as many pumpkins as acorn squash, and zucchini is so prolific that I don’t need many plants
  • I changed my layout of the CG plot to allow more room for the acorn squash and watermelon to spread out
  • I moved all of the tomato plants in the CG garden to the outside edge for ease of harvest

A CG member made the point that there was produce theft last year. That is so unfortunate. I only hope that the people that stole were only doing so because they were in great need. In light of that, I’m going to be using inexpensive (and undesirable for theft) methods for keeping my garden in check, and just hope that if people take my produce that they leave enough for me and mine.

I’ll get out the string (aka crochet thread) and make myself some stakes out of scrap wood. Those will become a few trellises for peas and cucumbers. Instead of purchasing more tomato cages I’ll use string (probably heavier than the crochet thread) and stakes to keep the tomatoes upright in the CG. At home I’ll use my existing tomato cages.

I already have a plan in place to get chicken poo this fall for my home garden. I asked if anyone had looked into getting manure from one of the many local farms to amend the soil. The CG Chair said that they had, and the farmers would be happy to provide the manure, but the problem is cost of transportation. I’m going to see what I can do on that front, if I can work something out for a heavy discount that would be great (we have a very small budget to work with). Or if I could even convince someone to lend me their pickup for a day I could transport quite a bit myself. I’ve done it before!


Uncle Tractor said...

I can't wait to see how well the Community Garden works. Maybe we'll try it. How do you water the garden?

Jessie said...

They have a hose all set up. I can send you the coordinator's info if you want, it'd be fun to see you this summer!