We are FINALLY underway and both our community and home gardens are taking shape, thanks to huge efforts by Steve and Terry White! We had a significant amount of snow and rain over the last 5 weeks which just cleared up a day or so ago. Our fingers are crossed that the weather remains reasonable for the rest of the summer, though that may be a bit much to ask around here since there’s snow in the forecast this weekend. The soil in the garden has been draining quite well, but the field that we drive through to get to the garden is one big mud bog. After getting ourselves good and stuck (it only took 1 time) we have decided to recycle the rocks that we are “growing” in the garden to fill in the big, muddy ruts so we’re happy to have found a positive use for those!
We got very lucky buying lime for the garden – we needed 1200 lbs! The cheapest price I found was at our local Glades Ace Hardware store at $120…much more reasonable than the next cheapest, which was over $300. The store manager mentioned that, while he might be talking himself out of a sale, I should contact Appalachian Aggregates, a quarry not much farther away. I called them and found that they would sell us the 1200 lbs of lime for $12! Talk about a price that can’t be beat! So while Glades didn’t make that sale you can bet I’ll do all of my shopping there in the future!
Our season extension class was successful, and we currently have 5 low tunnels (3 in the community garden) erected with more to come. Some of us have trellising up and peas started, some have carrots, kohlrabi, beets and lettuce but most of us are waiting until the end of May to do any serious planting, since historically we tend to get surprise snow in May (coming this weekend!) and sometimes June. The whole garden has been plowed, tilled and marked, so we are just about really 100% ready to go. We will fertilize next weekend and look to having a planting party the weekend after that. We do expect a good turnout then, both with participants and additional volunteers who aren’t necessarily growing anything but enjoy coming out for the sense of community that these planting parties create.
The Linwood high tunnel is also underway! Jenny Totten from West Virginia State University Extension brought a crew and they, along with Terry and Steve, braved wet, cold and very muddy conditions to assemble the bones of the high tunnel. Unfortunately, there weren’t able to finish because of the weather. We are hoping to have it up by the end of May, weather-permitting. I was gone so I missed all the “fun” and I am looking forward to helping finish it. Our farmer’s market starts in 2 weeks and the high tunnel will help it GROW and become even more successful.
In the pictures you’ll see the community garden, lettuce, snapdragons, onions, kohlrabi and little itty bitty carrot sprouts! Next month look for a profile on one of our new participants who has been growing organically and selling at the farmer’s market for years…I’m sure you can imagine that we tap her for tons of information.