Monday, April 13, 2015

Seed Fair 2015

Hello all -

We had the Seed Fair this weekend at the Eagle Heights Community Center. Approximately 300 plots, represented by over 600 people, checked in to the Seed Fair. This means we gave away about 4500 seed packets (!!!) this year. We also sold over 100 sheets of row cover. I'm glad so many people were able to come out to get a jump on the gardening season. For more photos of the 2015 EHCG Seed Fair, go here.

This is a reminder that we will have a cool weather transplant sale this coming Sunday, 4/19/15, at the Eagle Heights garden site. Scott Williams from Garden to Be will join us, along with starts for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, rainbow chard, and more. If you are interested, bring cash; each set of transplants typically runs $2 - $5.

We are in the process of turning on the water in the gardens, now that the nights are warmer and the days longer. Such an exciting time of year!

Below is some seed planting advice excerpted from Will Waller, one of our Field Staff at EHCG. I've included this as some motivational reading to help you get in a gardening state of mind.

Top 2 Rules for Springtime Planting

1) Do not to put plants (except cole crops) into cold soil. 
                While many plants simply grow slowly before the soil has warmed, most don't grow at all, or even die. Check the planting guidelines on the back of your seed packets to get an idea of when to plant. At EHCG, the average last frost date is around May 1; use this as a reference for your timing. You can also follow Will's advice literally - watch the soil for when it is frost-free and warmed. An exception to this rule, as Will points out, is thBrassicaceae family, ie cole crops. This family includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
2) Do not to disturb soil more than necessary. 
                 The reason for this rule is that disturbed soil becomes compacted soil, which becomes a less welcoming environment for root growth. Imagine trying to plant seeds in clay. Could their delicate baby roots push through the clay? When you overwork the soil, you impart a clay-like texture to your plot. This can be amended by adding organic matter, and avoiding compacting the soil in the first place.

Examples of plants that grow without help:

1) The best is kale. Kale always germinates, is hardy, mostly insect free, and when picked young, is sweet and excellent in salads or lightly braised

2) Radishes are easy, kids love them, and the greens are great for deflecting flea beetles from salad greens. Flea beetles prefer radishes, so I recommend them as bait crop. 

3) Potatoes are easy to manage, have a good canopy that makes the bed essentially weed free. Hilling them is easy. Most folks have never had a really fresh potato. 

4) Peas are easy, and can be trellised up raspberry cane (there’s quite a bit in the weed pile every spring) . Secure the cane in the ground, plant peas. Quick, easy to do. And puts the waste cane to productive use. 

5) Zucchini or yellow squash are dead easy. The trick is to plant 1 hill. Only one. Else you’ll never eat it all. 

6) Carrots. Use a broad fork to loosen the soil so the carrots grow straight. Broadcast seed on surface, tamp with foot, cover with 1/4” of soil. Put plastic down (anything: old grocery bag plastic even) (or newspaper) for a week to keep the soil moist while waiting for germination. 

7) Bush beans are easy. One seed package, planted over 3-4 weeks is perfect. 


I have personally started spinach, fava beans, peas, radishes, beets, and carrots so far. I will wait until early May to start beans, corn, and squash, and finally tomatoes and other hot weather-loving crops later that month.

Happy gardening!

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