photo by Angelo Jiordano
This week began with a workshop hosted by our partners at the Good Earth Garden, a community garden at the birthplace of author Pearl S Buck.  Gardener Cad Tyler stepped in at the last minute when the originally scheduled speaker cancelled.  He showed participants his seed starting methods using a soil blocker and home-made, temperature-controlled light box.  Other experts were on hand to talk about building soil through mulching and cover crops—the original topic of the workshop.   We shared knowledge gleaned from the writings of Elliot Coleman and from personal experiences about intercropping and green mulches.    
photo by A. Jiordano
We toured the Good Earth Garden and sampled some fresh peas and greens.  The volunteers there keep the garden looking old-timey to reflect the heritage of this century-old garden site as well as the history of even older gardens.  Tomato stakes and bean poles are cut from the nearby woods.  A portion of the garden is planted on mounds of soil in the manner of the Native Americans who preceded the settlers.  The mounds are suited to the wood and stone tools used by the Natives—making a productive plot without having to clear as much land.  The “three sisters:” beans, corn and squash are planted together in each mound, further maximizing the productivity of the land.
The “three sisters” planted on mounds.
At the end of the school year, Hillsboro Elementary students planted parts of the garden and will return in the fall to see what became of their seeds.  The produce grown at the Good Earth Garden is donated to two local food pantries.