Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mar-Duke Farms Allotment: Day 1

About a week ago, the community garden opened up for planting!  I immediately drove to check it out and got very excited.  The amount of space I have rented is a nice size and the soil looks nice with minimal weeds.  This past weekend I spent about ten hours on getting it ready.  Looking at it above it sure doesn't look like it!

The first issue was the fencing.  I used green snow fence type netting attached to purchased plastic coated metal plant stakes.  It lasted all of about 45 minutes before our winds started, caught the fabric and bend the poles down to the ground.  Sigh.  Plan B it is.

After removing the above mangled poles I went and purchased some coated steel ones.  Then on the two sides of the garden where I was less concerned about human invasion I lowered the netting down a foot in a half in height.  Big winds again last night and it is still holding.  It took hours to do but will be worth it.  This community garden has a lot of geese traffic and I don't want them in their pooping and ripping out plants. I am also trying to minimize human theft as there is a public parking lot behind the bushes on the right.  I really do like my space though.  The grassy area off to the side gets shade and is a nice place to rest.  Most of the other plots have zero shade anywhere near them.  I do have to walk a bit to haul water but, its exercise!

Once I got the fencing up, I started getting  some plants in the ground.  It took a long time.  Mostly because my muscles and body were not ready for all that digging.  I completed 2 beds that were roughly 4x4 and 1 bed that is 4x6.  I did not til.  Rather I added some organic fertilizer and gypsum to the surface plus some compost.  Then dug up around the sides to mound it up and then wiggled the amendments in a bit.  I am seeing some worm traffic which was encouraging but virtually no organic material which was not.  So I am working to fix that.

In Bed one I planted Peppermint celery seedlings I started in February,  Chinese Kale, Beet seeds and two kinds of spinach (Monteux and one other I forgot the name of)  In bed 2 I planted red cabbage, purple peacock broccoli and I forgot what else.  In the big bed I planted fennel off by itself because all the plants hate fennel, watermelon radishes and two kinds of cuke (lemon and Poinsett). 

The day I planted was really warm 80's.  I was shocked how few people were actually out getting things ready.  I suspect many in this area follow the last anticipated frost date to the letter which in my opinion is silly.  There is plenty that does fine with chilly temps.  Of course the day after planting temps dropped to the 40's and it started raining.  Everything will be fine.  The cukes are in their wall of waters and everything else does not mind the chilly.  I have a lot of plants I need to get in the ground now from sprouted seedlings.  I'm happy for the 2" of rain we have gotten but fingers crossed it starts warming up.  I have strawberry popcorn to plant!  Goal tomorrow is get the pond filtration running so I can focus on my new allotment plantings all weekend.  Here is a close-up of the planted beds so far with their leaf mulch blanket.

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