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by Janine Butler, garden volunteer

Planting day has been scheduled!  If you’d like to come witness the planting of the Community Kitchen Garden at Lewis Ginter,  mark your calendars for Thursday,  May 14 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  It promises to be a fun event, with local schoolchildren stopping by to help plant as well as staff and volunteers from Lewis Ginter and FeedMore.

I’ve been anxious to start planting —  when I first found out about this project I wanted to get my hands dirty in the soil the very next day!  That probably would have ended up a disaster because as all successful, and not so successful gardeners know, a good garden requires lots of planning and lots of patience.

Tom Brinda, assistant executive director for horticulture and education at Lewis Ginter, wrote a great article that was featured in last Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch where he gives out some really good advice on how to get started with your own vegetable garden. One of the most important pieces of advice is to till and amend the soil, and this was carried out this week here at Lewis Ginter. Pete Rose Inc supplied us with 30 dump truck loads of compost at half price, and delivered it for free.  Good job guys!

One truck load down, 29 more to go!

One truck load down, 29 more to go!

If you are planting your own garden at home, make sure you don’t skip this step – good veggies grow from good soil!

The fifth of an acre that has been prepared will produce the bulk of the 10,000 pounds of vegetables that we are striving for.  However, another aspect of this project is education and so there will be two other smaller beds that will be used for demonstrations and teaching purposes.  These will be staged as residential-sized, intensive gardens that will show how to maximize planting in a smaller space.  The demonstration gardens located near the Conservatory will be a bit more accessible than the main planting area, and visitors to Lewis Ginter will be able to stop by and see what’s growing.  I will make sure to keep you updated on the demonstration garden and related activities and events.

I can’t wait to start planting.  Are you as anxious as I am to see things growing and producing?  I want to start reaping the rewards NOW and get that food into the hands, and mouths, of those that need it most!  But gardening and growing reminds us that usually the best results come from solid planning and preparation.  So if you are planting a garden at home then take the time to pick the right site, dig the beds, add the compost, and select good plants – I am sure that it will pay off in the long run!

Enjoy the rain that is forecasted this week – it’s good for the plants!

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