Oh boy, it’s Springtime at last and we are so excited to launch into our fourth year in The Bounty Garden with all 32 beds ready to produce bountiful harvests for the Food Bank. With the beautiful rains that have graced us this season, the Garden is humming with birds, bees, garden volunteers and ready soil.
In preparation for the Garden’s new and returning volunteers, Hive members rolled up their sleeves for an annual day of Barn Love…
Eric Schneider put final touches on our new deer barriers, while…
Janet Howes put her painting skills to use,
Kathy Torru gave the leaf bin a big boost of leaves, and
Kellee Reed raked just about everything in sight!
On February 27th, The Bounty Garden held its 2016 “Opening Day.” Volunteers met for the first time, learning about how the Garden works and picking their bed numbers for the season. Opening Day concluded with each gardener selecting which vegetable(s) they want to learn about and grow for the benefit of the many programs supported by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties.
And so we are off and running…
The following weekend, composting expert, Billi Haug from the Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, filled the Barn to capacity with both Bounty Garden volunteers and public visitors. Billi explained the basics and the not-so-basics of composting and fielded many interesting questions on topics ranging from “Can you compost with pine needles?” to “How do I best raise red wiggler worms?” And Billi’s sage advice for those anxious to get composting in the late Winter? “Go shopping and wait until Spring comes around.”
On Saturday, March 19th, the Garden hosted its Seedling Workshop. Our garden guru/instructor, Carol Rossi, had an eager group of gardeners ready to learn all that they could about how to best grow or purchase their specific seedlings. It was an information-packed two hours and everyone left with a burning desire to get their hands in the soil!
This month, we will see seedlings, both purchased and home-started, popping up everywhere in The Bounty Garden. Thanks to the green thumbs of our volunteers, the Garden beds are filling with vigorous organically-grown seedlings and visions of plentiful harvests.
Two such green-thumbed volunteers are Barbara and Ken Hazleton. Following the Seedling Seminar, they decided to put the advice they’d been given to the test. Not only did they grow their own cucumber and tomato starts, they even made the soil blocks in which the seedlings grew! How was the experience? “We are experimenting with starting in regular pots and soil blocks. The soil blocks are a little tricky to figure out at first since the ratio of ingredients needs to be more exact but they seem to be working. Soil blocks are popular especially in Europe.” Here is a photo of the beautiful set up they built in their garage in which to grow their healthy vegetable starts:
and one of their cucumbers starts grown in a soil block:
As the season progresses, “Fresh from the Garden” will stop by the Hazleton’s bed and show you how their homegrown vegetable starts are doing… or you might want to stop by Bed #4 and take a peek yourself!
And while you are in the Garden, please come take a look at Bed #11. In true community spirit, the Girl Scouts came in full force for their orientation on March 2nd. Bed #11 has nothing to worry about with the enthusiastic group of girls of Junior Girl Scout Troop #32568 and their troop leaders nurturing its harvests. Look for beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes later this summer.
We hope you are enjoying the start of what looks like a wonderful growing season ahead! With such a positive and energetic group of volunteers, we are excited to see and to show you the the fruits (well, actually ‘vegetables’) of their labor at The Bounty Garden.
Until then, we wish you the very best,