As the semester comes to a close and I begin to take stock of what I have learned and of all the work that we've put into the garden, I realize that the work has only begun! Spring is finally upon us and the tenuous period of nurturing seedlings in the greenhouse through a ridiculously wet winter is over. Now we have begun to harvest some exceptionally spicy radishes ad the odd, succulent strawberry or two; and this is only a hint of the bountiful summer to come.
Along with our soil amendments of potash, green sand, micro-nutrients and others that we ordered through the mail, we also received some coconut fiber hanging baskets. We plan to hang these on the fence surrounding the garden and fill them with a panoply of flowers both beautiful and functional, such as marigolds, which have a certain insect repellent quality about them.
Although we have managed to give some of our tomato plants to students hoping to grow their own at home, we will still have an overabundance of tomatoes this summer. So in order to maximize space, we utilized some local bamboo that was going to be discarded to the local landfill to build some ladders and trellises for added strength and support for the tomatoes, whose productivity is maximized with a high amount of vertical growth.
(Here is a close-up of a freshly planted glacier tomato seedling next to one of our bamboo trellises, which have been left open to later modification to suit each tomato's growing needs.)
Last week, we continued the expansion of the second half of the vegetable garden with a double-digging picnic/garden party. All the help was deeply appreciated and highly productive; as the saying goes: "many hands make light work." These photos show independent studier Nicole Ortega preparing a freshly dug bed for the planting of okra, jalapeno pepper and sweet bell pepper seedlings, and the placement of the plants on rows in the bed to maximize water retention. The okra were all placed on the lower row to prevent later shading out of the pepper plants.