Ready, set, grow!
It’s that time again! It’s time to come out of winter hibernation and get the garden ready for spring planting! If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for the warmer weather and are itching to get outside again. The winter months give us the opportunity to rest a bit and plan for the next year, but I always look forward to seeing the daffodils blooms and tulips, signaling that spring is finally here.
We began seeding in the Massey Greenhouse a few weeks ago, and now I have a few hundred baby seedlings just waiting to be planted outside. So far we’ve started mostly cool weather crops including broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, Swiss chard, spinach, mizuna and some warm weather crops like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. We’re also growing herbs, annuals, and flowering perennials to attract beneficial insects and provide food sources for pollinators, including the bees that will inhabit our bee hives in the new apiary exhibit. We hope to have our bees buzzing around by mid to late April.
We are also preparing our planting beds by turning over and tilling in cover crops. These green manure crops like winter wheat, crimson clover, and rye grass will add organic matter to the soil and provide a good source of nitrogen. We add a few inches of compost to the soil during this time too. You can also try to get ahead of the weeds by putting down mulch in your walkways; in the Community Kitchen Garden we use wood chips.
Crops, like spring peas, will need some kind of trellis to climb,and now is a great time to get your trellises up. In the Community Kitchen Garden, I like to look around and find objects that I can repurpose and use in a different way. This season I’m using bicycle wheels to create a do it yourself — DIY — found object trellis. This trellis will support blue-podded Capucijner (cap-ou-SIGH-nah) peas, an heirloom variety from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello.
Come visit us soon to see the bees, the peas, and all the other amazing things we’ll have growing!