Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring at the Derwood Demo Garden

We're a few weeks into the 2013 season at the Montgomery County MG Derwood Demo Garden, and here's what we've been up to:

  • Starting new projects
  • Moving things around
  • Dealing with spring's crazy temperature shifts
Oh, and weeding, and sifting and hauling compost, and other stuff too.  Let me start with the weather, though: there's been one workday I wore shorts, and a couple more (before and after) when I shivered the whole morning.  And the plants don't have clothing choices, so who knows what they think of it.  Well, I know what my summer seedlings at home think: brr, boo, hiss.  Everything we've already dared to plant is doing fine, but I don't anticipate getting huge harvests of these greens:


We've got a whole leafy greens bed under one tunnel made with bent metal conduit (thanks to the Baltimore County MGs for the loan of the pipe bender!) and Enviromesh:


which is a lovely material we acquired last year from the UK (I have been unable to find an American source, so please tell me if you know of one, and encourage retailers to carry it).  It's more durable than floating row cover and lets more light in (it's also, naturally, more expensive).

This year we're planting two salad tables:


one of which has salad greens and the other small root crops (radishes, round Parisian carrots, cipollini onions, and small turnips).  A bit of a late start here, but I'm hoping everything will grow for us.

We've also planted plenty of root crops elsewhere in the garden; more on those along the way!

A group is working on an intensively planted 100-square-foot garden as a trial to see how much can be grown in a small space.  You'll be seeing lots more pictures of this; here's how it starts out:


And we've been moving things around!  Our poor blueberries have been through several moves already, but we moved them again, to a bed on the edge of the vegetable garden where we can easily acidify the soil, and where they get full sun; they already look happier.  To accommodate the blueberries, we had to move the strawberries already in that space; they went into an area cleared of Jerusalem artichokes last fall.  (Well, we thought we'd cleared it.  You would not believe how many tubers our indefatigable workers have dug up this spring already.  Bucketfuls.  What amazing plants, she said gritting her teeth.)  We also divided the rhubarb and put some in the same area, so now we can make strawberry-rhubarb pie out of one section of the garden.  (And we now have rhubarb in three places.  I think we need more recipes.)

We've also moved a few structures and will be building some new ones next week.  It's all starting to come together!

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