Ready For The Spring Kick-off!
Last Wednesday, despite the chilly weather, a group of SW neighbors worked with a volunteer group from Georgia, organized by Mercy Hill Church, to get the garden ready for the spring kick-off. We successfully fixed a couple of the wheelbarrows and the entrance to the garden, pulled up weeds, and turned over all our cover crops. We are now ready to start the gardening season!
Companion planting plan
At the kick-off, we’ll be trying our hand at companion planting for the first time. Companion planting is the intentional planting of mutually beneficial crops next to each other. This method maximizes space, deters pests, and encourages a healthy growing cycle. If you’ve attended one of our previous kick-offs, you’ll already know we follow a PIY tactic — plant-it-yourself! The combinations we’ll be planting this spring will be the following: onions/carrots, peas/spinach, and carrots/lettuce. If you’re interested in learning more, and trying out this strategy, come to the kick-off!
Pre-kick-off Work Day, March 22nd @ 5:30pm
In order to prepare for the spring kick-off, we’ve organized a pre-kick-off work day for Wednesday, March 22nd, starting at 5:30pm. During this time, we’ll be turning over our cover crops, pulling up weeds, fixing the wheelbarrows and the fence, organizing the tool shed, and preparing to build our new SW-inspired flower garden. We’ll be helped by a group of volunteers organized by Mercy Hill Church, which is a new church in the neighborhood that will have teams of people coming to town regularly between March and August with the sole goal of serving the community.
We visited the garden last weekend to see how it was doing, and, as you can see from the photos above, it’s looking great! The cover crops, garlic, kale, and collard greens are all doing well. A note about cover crops: cover crops are great for growing over the winter, as they prevent soil erosion, and help provide valuable nitrogen to the soil for future plants to consume.
It was especially exciting to see the success of the collard green experiment we tried last fall. To summarize, here’s what we tried: we noticed that the collard greens we planted last spring were becoming a popular hang-out spot for the aggravating harlequin beetles during the summer months. There are no natural predators for the beetles, so the only way to thwart their growth is to manually remove them. We decided that our approach would be to decrease their habitat — thus, we cut the collard greens down to about 2 inches above the soil. The hope was that the greens would grow back, but by the time they had, it would be too cold for the beetles. And now, we see the result — the collards are almost as bushy as before!
The SW Community Garden Beet 📝
If you’re new to the SW neighborhood, and even if you’re not, I recommend following, or picking up our local newspaper, The Southwester — it’ll keep you updated with all things SW. Including, of course, the garden. Our goal for this year is to submit an entry every month. The above photo is from our March entry regarding the spring kick-off. Speaking of which…
*Reminder* 4th Annual Spring Kick-off: April 8th
Just a reminder that our spring kick-off will be on Saturday, April 8th, from 11am to 3pm. You can RSVP via Facebook, if you like.
If you’d like to help with any of the planning, or have suggestions for additional activities, feel free to get in touch!