We couldn’t let another month pass us by without wishing everyone a Happy Springtime, even though it’s only just beginning to seem like Spring could truly be upon us.
What a very slow start…and while the seedlings we are so all excited to see grow won’t take their chances yet, the cool weather does give us garden tenders a chance to prepare for a wonderful time ahead. And in the Bounty Garden we’ve been doing just that!
First, we welcomed two new Hive members to the Bounty Garden management team. They are Sandra and Mike MacDonald and we hope you’ll stop to say “hello” when you see them in the Garden!
(Welcome to the Hive, Sandra and Mike!)
Next, we welcomed our 2018 roster of Bounty Garden Volunteers to the Garden at one of our largest Opening Days yet.
They are as enthusiastic and committed a group of gardeners as you will see! The intermittent rains and sunshine we had this past Winter produced a very thin cover crop, but the new volunteers dug up, dried and tilled in these nutritious plants with great alacrity!
(Clipping the Cover Crops at the roots so they can dry before tilling them into the soil)
(Nitrogen-rich roots tilled into the beds make beautiful soil)
The newly amended and tilled beds were quickly filled with Cool Season Crops such as lettuces, beets, radishes, bok choi, kale and chards. This is the first time that almost every bed will be producing both Cool Season Crops and the longer Warm Season Crops. This group of volunteers is ready to plant!
(Cool Season Crops – such as radishes, lettuces, bok choi, beets, chard & kale)
In addition to the beds being readied for Spring, the Bounty Garden grounds are, too! On April 16th, a team of students from the Athenian School in Danville came to help in the Garden as part of their Tim Holm Day celebration. In honor of a student who passed, the entire student, teacher and staff population goes out into the community to do good and, wow, do they! On this particular Monday, the skies were gray and wet, but that did not dampen their spirits. Through rain and thunder, this intrepid team worked together to distribute a huge pile of donated mulch across our well-used paths. It was an inspiring sight!
(Athenian Tim Holm Day, Monday, April 16, 2018)
In addition, and apart from any school activity, a pair of Athenian students then later volunteered to come help the Garden on their own. It may not have been raining on them, but these two garden angels spent a good part of their holiday, pulling out an invasive weed on the Garden’s main path and perhaps keeping it at bay for many years to come. They and their fellow students are inspirations to us all on how to use your time well and for the benefit of others. Thank you!
We are hopeful that now the rains have passed. We feel confident that this time it may truly turn to Spring for two reasons…
First, our Cool Crops are starting to grow more quickly now; a race to mature before the sunshine makes them bloom!
(Cool Crops growing!)
Our second sign that warmer weather is just around the corner is the burgeoning populations of squirrels and other rodents who migrate into the Park as the creeks go drier. In the Garden, this means trouble…but this year these garden pests may have met their match! Below are some of the many creative ways our volunteers are protecting their young seedlings from the munching pests…and it seems to be helping! Large scale organic farmers “count” on losing 20% of their crops to garden pests, so we are doing great…for both the environment and the Food Bank!
(Wire cones around each seedling)
(Bird netting wrapped around or stretched over the seedlings)
(Full wire cover constructed over each seedling)
(Marigolds and bay leaves used to deter rodents)
(Some beds are testing a wide range of organic methods for pest remediation in the Bounty Garden)
It is such an exciting time in the Garden when Spring finally arrives! It means that Cool Crops can be harvested and donations can begin being made to the network of Food Bank supported programs. In our Summer newsletter, we will be introducing you to our new partnership with White Pony, who will be efficiently transporting our harvests into the food bank network. They are an incredible group of dedicated volunteers who are committed to getting even the smallest donations to the people who can use them and we very much look forward to working together towards this goal.
Until then, we hope you have a most wonderful Springtime in your gardens! Here are a few Warm Crops that are starting to fill the beds in the Garden in celebration of the coming growing season…