Monday, May 11, 2015

Shoot(s)out at the MG Corral

Shoots, roots, and rhizomes, that is. Today began the annual battle against quackgrass and other villains at the Master-Gardener-run ‘corral’ behind the Barns. Here's one of the casualties, hanging from a post along with one of my trusty weapons, the other being my antique digging fork. We’re steadily weeding out the enemy!

As in the past, we’re off to a bit of a slow start at our demonstration garden at the Historic Barns Park, but in this our third year at this wonderfully located public site, good progress is evident. The weeds are getting fewer now, and this year’s planned expansion to 22 small raised beds will be much easier than installation of the first 15 thanks to a year of keeping much of the soil in the new area under a mulch of straw on brown cardboard. And we have a reliable water supply now thanks to superb leadership by the Traverse City/Garfield Township Recreational Authority and our great local nonprofit organization SEEDS. We’re especially excited because soon that water system will be driven by a solar array--energy independence at last!

Today we had a great surprise: one of our local gardening friends donated 20 like-new, heavy-duty tomato cages, some of which we’ll use at the Barns and some at the Leelanau Community Garden this year. Such a fine donation is especially appreciated since our basic garden operation is entirely volunteer-financed. Thank you, Chuck!

Next steps: assembling new raised bed frames, adding compost, loosening the soil with a digging fork or broadfork, adding organic soil amendments based on our soil test results expected this week, and planting. What great therapy! We welcome visitors of all ages and plan to offer informal seminars this summer, open to anyone interested in joining us as we garden and learn.

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