I mentioned in our last blog post that we followed up our first class on seed starting and planning a garden / best practices (which was held on March 14th) with a planting party, where we planted cabbage, parsley and several varieties of peppers. This was a huge success with everyone working in tandem to plant nearly 400 seeds! New acquaintances were formed and there was definitely a solid sense of community brought forth from the endeavor. We decided that this is a really great thing to do, and so we tried again on March 24th, and the turnout was awesome! I’m not sure exactly how many people we had but several of our home gardeners came out in addition to the community gardeners to plant another 500+ seeds: tomatoes, more cabbage, basil, flowers and broccoli. We even had community member volunteers show up who are unable to participate in the program but wanted to help in some way! Luckily this year we have access to a greenhouse because my dining room seed starting operation was absolutely at capacity! It is awfully exciting to watch the little guys sprout, and then of course they grow so fast you can almost see it happening. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the electric bill with all the grow lights going! We also engaged some of the other participants in seedling care, so there are several of us raising seedlings until we can get them into the ground.
I also met in late March with the family nutrition teacher from WVU Extension. Valley Head Elementary school, which is approximately 10 miles from Linwood is working on building their own garden, and we are helping with it! So far we have had a volunteer cut lumber for raised beds. The plan is to get the parents and children involved in actually building the beds and planting, and while they are a captive audience we will talk with them about Grow and how we can help the Valley Head community. Tracey (the WVU Extension teacher) also had a great idea to build a pizza garden! It’ll be an octagon (since round isn’t very practical) and in it will grow every veggie you would put on a pizza! That should go over very well with the kids! I observed her teach them about eating different parts of vegetables (the root, the stem, the leaves, the seeds or the fruit). She had great participation from the kids, who were shouting out things like “turnips!” when she asked about root vegetables. I would not have expect any 5 year old to know about turnips, so that was really cool.
Next up, we had planned a 3rd planting party for April 9th, where we were planning to build low tunnels for every participant and get radishes, spinach, carrots and onions into the ground. But then this happened (on the 9th):
So, that’s all for now! I meant to keep this short and sweet. Hopefully by the time the next blog due date rolls around spring will have sprung and I won’t have to post a recipe because there’s nothing to report (or worse, that our seedlings are all unhappy because they’ve been inside for 10+ weeks!).