April was packed! We had our Garden Maintenance meeting on the 17th, where our gardeners learned about insect and plant disease management. At this meeting, they received all of their seeds, plant starts, and a stirrup hoe. During our garden visits, we talked about how to translate a garden map into their physical space (where to trellis, finding North.) As we continue to set T-Posts and trellis netting during our May visits, I’ve really seen them recognize that everything is coming together and that their plans are coming to fruition! It is a renewed excitement as we welcome the warmer weather, the absence of a chance of frost, and the opportunities to plant, grow, and learn. 

Several weeks ago now, one of our program participants led a workshop called Art in The Garden, where we used recycled and reclaimed materials to make garden signs and plant markers. I loved this activity for program members, as we worked together, chatted, and learned more about each other, and built community (also resulting in some fun garden signs!). Christina, who led our Art in the Garden workshop, welcomed spring and reflected on her time getting her garden prepared and planted, and the magic that takes place when solving a garden challenge using creativity. These same ideas influenced how she taught our workshop, and I wanted to share this with others as they might tackle new challenges in their gardens! 

Christina’s reflection: 

“Hello all, the time of year is upon us where all of the planning and prepping for your spring & summer gardens comes to life, and the magic happens. Seeds are sprouting, transplants are thriving, pollinators are coming out more and more each day – Spring is HERE! One thing I am excited to do is learn and grow along with my gardens. Each area requires just a little something different, and getting to know your space is very important. The requirements of each plant are determined by an array of factors, but one is, if it climbs – it needs upper support like a trellis, some netting, stake or cage. For example, this year in my garden I had a need for a structure that my pole beans could climb, last year they were abundant and I wanted to see the same outcome. A simple trellis came together and all I needed was some tree branches and twine! Using resources that are both readily available and sustainable helps save money and is a small contribution to your planet 🙂 There is no “right” or “wrong” way to build your garden, it will be a lifetime of trial and error – but you will learn and grow your own along the way. Do you need somewhere to plant something but have no pot? Another fun project that uses both availability and sustainability for me is taking leftover or old feed bags (chicken, livestock, dog food as long as they are breathable), flip it inside out, fill with dirt and voila- a pot! The thing I love the most about gardening is, there are no limits – you can be as creative or as precise as you desire. Plus, finding new ways to reuse “stuff” or make garden art with “junk” is rewarding! I hope there was a tiny bit of inspiration in here to get out and make something cool for your garden!”

Shown in the gallery below are photos from Christina’s garden, her trellis, her garden fence made from bamboo, and her solar light chandelier!

I also wanted to highlight an example of one of the raised beds that some of our gardeners have built this year and a trellis using an old swing set. Photo below.