Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning

In March and early April the Green LIONS Garden Group was busy preparing the garden for Spring by starting seeds, weeding and giving new plants and seeds homes in our garden beds.

We were excited to welcome Linkhorn Park parent Becky Devlin of Roost Flowers to a meeting in March. She talked with the students about the importance and benefit of having flowering plants in and around an edible garden. Not only do they attract pollinators to the garden helping the flowers of edible plants turn into vegetables and fruits, but they can also deter certain pests from invading the garden. Ms. Devlin helped the students start zinnias seeds in the courtyard greenhouse. Once the seedlings started to emerge, Ms. Manley’s 3rd grade class adopted the plants to grow stronger in the Grow Lab in their classroom. We look forward to planting them in the LIONS Garden when they’re ready.

Ms. Devlin raises beautiful flowers and herbs to beautify weddings and events using organic growing methods. You can learn more about her business at Roost Flowers.

Next we spent a meeting in the garden weeding the beds of residual plants and weeds from our fall planting. We removed the layer of leaf mulch that kept the beds warm over the winter and tucked it in around our blueberry bushes to help them grow stronger.

At this same meeting we made carrot seed tape to help plant our carrots without the need of thinning the plants later. We made a simple “glue” by boiling cornstarch with water and glued carrot seeds carefully spaced on paper towels. If the seeds germinate properly after planting the paper towel tape as a strip they will grow uncrowded and perfectly spaced, eliminating the usual task of thinning the carrot growth.

Now we were ready for a visit from Farmer John and to plant our garden beds with delicate spring vegetables and herbs. We amended our soil with compost giving it the equivalent of an energy drink with a huge vitamin boost. We planted some plants from seed and some as seedlings.

By seed, also known as direct sow, we planted sugar snap peas, turnips, potatoes, carrots, radishes, sunflowers, nasturtiums (edible flowers), mesclun mix (baby lettuces), spinach, one variety of lettuce, spring onions, cilantro and dill. As seedlings we planted lettuce, tatsoi, kale, arugula, chard, snapdragons, a variety of herbs including chervil, yarrow, thyme, lavender, mint, chives, and many more that I know I am forgetting. Visit the garden to see the wide variety of our vegetables, herbs, flowers, and our perennial strawberries already producing the white flowers that will soon become ripe, juicy strawberries. Yum!

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