Mar 29th, 2016

Ready, set, grow!

I started five varieties of lettuce so far, and here are three of them.

Here are three of the five lettuce varieties I chose for this spring.  The varieties here are ‘Grandpa Admire’s’, ‘Starfighter’, and ‘New Red Flame’.

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.

The row on the right has cover crops of winter wheat and crimson clover. And the row on the left has already by turned by volunteers.

The row on the right was planted with rye grass in the fall and will be turned over soon, and the row on the left was turned by volunteers a few days ago.

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.

Today I made a trellis for blue-podded peas out of old bike wheels.

Check out the trellis I made out of old bike wheels for our blue-podded peas!

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!

About Laura Schumm

Laura is the Community Kitchen Garden Horticulturist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. When she's not working in vegetable garden, she enjoys spending her days at the river and checking out all of the new restaurants the Richmond food scene has to offer.

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