Thursday, July 18, 2013


The weather was quite nice on the morning of Saturday 7/13/13, and we accomplished a good bit.  We unloaded and spread the last of a total of 2.5 (cubic) yards of compost, about 2.5 inches deep on the 11 beds.  We added 4 lb of kelp meal and a little leftover greensand to each of the larger beds, a little less to the smaller ones, corresponding closely to the recommended 1/2 lb of potassium per 100 sq ft.  We've decided not to add more nitrogen (1/4 lb per 100 sq ft recommended)--we'll  just rely on the high-quality compost to provide that.  We further loosened the compacted soil as deep as we could get our digging forks and smoothed out the soil.  On Monday the 15th, we planted Sienna peas in one bed and a row each of Lutz Green Leaf, Detroit Dark Red, and Red Ace F1 beets in another.

Then on Wednesday the 17th, we planted 30 Golden Acre cabbage plants, gifts from Harbor View Farm & Nursery. Golden Acre is a good, early-maturing heirloom variety that usually produces heads up to 3 lb in early spring plantings...which this clearly isn't. Naturally, this late in the year, the plants were somewhat rootbound, but their condition was remarkably good considering their age. Whether they can thrive in this heat remains to be seen. Temperature is now 89 and rising at 11:30 AM.

We're continuing to water every morning, as we've still had only one good rain since June 16. We're planning another work bee this coming Saturday morning, July 20, at 9-11 AM, weather permitting.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but I for one would not be terribly disappointed if we were to be rained out!

Monday, July 1, 2013


Some progress!  On Saturday 6/29, four of us volunteers made some progress toward getting our demonstration garden going.  We decided on 5 ½ inch wide lightweight red cedar deck boards and some leftover white cedar boards for our 3 x 12 and 3 x 8 foot growing beds.  Why only 3 feet wide?  For kids and “vertically challenged” adults like me to reach easily to the centers.  Why only 5 ½ inches high? For economic purposes, and because we want to nurture the existing soil rather than hauling in “topsoil.”  Here are the first 6 of our planned 11 growing beds.  Still lots to be done!
Thanks to the generosity of one of our “neighbor” gardeners from the community garden near ours, we now have our first plants growing—we were gifted with several trays of bush bean plants (upper right, above)!  I’ve never started beans indoors for transplanting, but if these do well, I might try a few next spring to get an early start.  Today I watered them well and worked a little kelp meal in around them, hoping to start improving our soil’s low potassium level and add some other much-needed nutrients.

Picked peas in my small home garden this morning.  The good news: just over a gallon (~3 ½ lb) in the shells from about 10 square feet, and very sweet and tender.  The bad news: this is the main picking, as there are few new blooms and the plants are showing the effects of the warm dry weather of the last couple weeks.

Another item I find of continuing interest:  If you haven’t heard of “Carter’s Compost,” please see Carter’s latest update at:  It’s not often that adults can look to kids as great role models, but here’s a worthy one.  My wife and I were privileged to meet Carter while visiting one of Traverse City’s new school garden projects earlier this year; this kid is for real!