by Janine Butler, Garden Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
The growing season may be over, but there’s still plenty to be done in the Community Kitchen Garden and a little bit of rain doesn’t stop the volunteers at Lewis Ginter!
Last week we had a good crew show up regardless of the rain and we picked the last of the tomatoes. We also pulled out many of the remaining plants, including the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants (by the way, did you know that where I come from we call eggplant ‘aubergines’?).
This week, again we started off in a slight drizzle and sheltered in the greenhouse while we did some general clean up by removing twine from the tomato cages and stacking them for storage over winter.
As the rain slackened off we ventured out to do a messy chore quite fitting for Halloween: we picked up all the tomatoes that were still on the ground to put in the compost pile. Some were hard and green, but many were rotten, slimy and stinky!
The rain picked up but we continued with our clean up by collecting all the irrigation hoses for storage. We also made sure the area was clean and free of any plastic plant labels and plant ties, as we will be tilling the area soon before planting a ground cover for winter. It is important to make sure that there is no plastic in the soil that won’t break down. Little chores like this are really important; and a keen gardener should try to keep on top of them!
The last chore of the day involved removing all the black plastic weedcover that we had laid down in the beginning of Spring. That was hard work, especially because the mulch was wet and heavy and the plastic kept tearing! Next year we think we might try and use a biodegradable kind that we won’t have to remove. Gardening can be hard work so if you can cheat a little then why not?!
The fall crops we planted are coming along nicely. The cabbages are growing well and will probably be picked this week.
The broccoli will stay in the ground a little longer. I have to admit, even though I have eaten plenty of broccoli and love it, I had no idea what it looked like when it is growing. This is another reason why I love volunteering at the garden; you always get to learn something!
Back in spring we set ourselves a huge goal of growing 10,000 pounds of vegetables for the Central Virginia Foodbank. Right now we are around 8,200. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that the cabbages, broccoli and greens get us to that goal. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!