Thanks to *hopefully* the last snowfall of the year last Monday, our Composting and Soil Amendment Workshop here at ASPI had to be cancelled. We were hoping to discuss healthy soil and how to create it, distribute direct-sew spring seeds and hand tools, and check in with everyone about their progress starting seeds indoors. But, the weather had other plans with white-out conditions and slick roads.
However, in this bummer is a silver lining. During the super cold nights of the last few weeks, Suzi added a lovely little space heater to the greenhouse, which was full of flats seeded with both warm season and cool season veggie (already sprouted and growing) transplants. That heater kept it nice and toasty in there and so many of our warm-season seeds, such as tomatoes and peppers and some flowers, sprouted and are doing great!
We’ve begun planting into our office garden out front, which now sports a new hoop house, plastic-covering pending. Once we get the plastic on top, it looks like it will be warm enough to plant some warm season crops inside.
I spent several days over the past month pulling soil tests at participants’ gardens. Its amazing to see the difference in color, texture, and water-holding capacity of different soils just in Rockcastle alone. I think the most interesting soil I came across was a from a garden where the participant had allowed leaves to cover it from the trees nearby and added in ashes from wood burns. About an inch of her soil was dark black and fluffy at the top, but the rest of the core was hard orange clay. To me, this shows how important it is to build up your soil with mulching and adding of organic matter, how easily it can be done, and how over several years it can make a big difference!
We are also very excited to have 3 interns join us later in the spring. One is a Berea resident who graduated from Berea College in May and the other two attend Center College in Danville, KY. You’ll probably be seeing their thoughts on this blog a time or two.