This past Saturday we were grateful for a reprieve from the showers of April because it allowed students from UVA’s Big Event to volunteer in the garden. Seven students showed up and man, they worked! We planted two rows of freshly dug up raspberries. I’m so excited about this, because just in the last few weeks we’ve planted raspberries and thornless blackberries, a great, long-lasting addition to the community garden that we’ve been looking forward to for years!
We also took down all last season’s brush from the native plant borders and cut down a lot of twining plants that had been working their way up the fence border. It looks so much cleaner in the garden and created a lot of room for new spring growth to flourish. We worked two beds to get them ready for planting, weeded, divided iris and planted some by the roadside sign and rehung the other sign, rolled up the sides of the hoophouse to welcome the air in, etc.
Amazing. Thank you to all the hardworking students who came to join us for a few hours before heading back to their studies and perhaps, to join in the celebration of UVA’s national basketball championship.
Madison House’s Sunday shift came in and made even more rock labels. These beauties are going to grace the grounds of the community garden for many years to come!
Our Madison House volunteers have returned to the PVCC Community garden for spring semester, coming in one group on Friday 3-5 and another shift on Sunday 2-4. What a lovely group they are, so full of positive energy, conviviality, and laughter. Over the last two visits we’ve been making rock labels for the vegetable beds. What do you think?
We have had two visits from UVA’s Phi Sigma Pi this fall. Led by Elin and Bobby, these knowledgeable, fun, and hardworking students are continuing a relationship that goes back many years. On this most recent visit they worked with community volunteer Mary Beth Perry and did some heavy work getting one of the garden’s eight raised beds weeded, turned over, pathed, mulched, and cover cropped so that by spring it will be ready to put into production again. They also did some very nice organizing and cleaning up of garden related materials. Thank you so very much!
It was about two weeks ago, but we were visited by angels. I’m just getting caught up enough to write about it.
The United Way Day of Caring is the largest volunteer day in our service region. Literally thousands of people go out and volunteer time at local schools and nonprofits. We had a whole host of people show up to work at the community garden. Two teams from UVA, faculty, staff, and students from PVCC, community members, two people from the Little Keswick School, etc.
Lots of action happening in the community garden these days! A few notes:
1. Twenty-five people have signed up to come to the community garden for the United Way Day of Caring from 9-12 on Sept. 26th. All PVCC students are also welcome.
2. UVA’s Phi Sigma Pi came out to the garden and worked 3-5 last Friday along with four member of the PVCC club, then UVA’s Project SERVE came out from 10-12 and were joined by one PVCC student and club member. I was able to be there with both groups.
3. A young man interested in horticulture, Ben, has begun working in the garden on Wednesdays and Fridays for a few hours each day. Please come and join him. We still have over a dozen community members who are participating in the garden at various days/times and would love to show you around. Erin Hughey-Commers dropped off onions and potatoes harvested this weekend to the food bank today.
4. UVA’s Madison House had 17 people sign up to work in the garden this year and will be beginning in the garden starting as early as next week.
We’re still working through upgrades to the irrigation system and trying to get the fall crop planted. Stay tuned!
Getting back to the garden today after vacation, I hoed up some potatoes and red onions. That felt great, and I was able to turn over the soil at the same time, serving both the purpose of weeding and beginning the readying of the bed for fall planting. Got a bunch of cherry tomatoes too, along with some basil and a few squashes that Denise handed over from her plot. In the lessons learned section, some of the potatoes were green. White, yellow, red, and purple potatoes are good. Green ones are not. Potatoes that are tinged greenish have been exposed to sun and the green is actually chlorophyll. They also contain solanine and are bitter to the taste and can induce nausea. Lesson? Plant you potatoes deeper and hill them up a bit more as you go.
Still, it will be a nice donation to the Food Bank tomorrow (Thanks, Erin).
One of our volunteers took some harvest to our friends at The Haven today. Thank you, Allyson!
Last week we were visited by 36 campers aged 12-14 who, as part of their summer experience, visit schools and non-profit locations and provide help with projects. At the community garden these young men and women helped with weeding and planting, keeping the beds in good working order and helping us grow more food for the hungry in our community. It was very hot and thankfully they had brought plenty of water, because many of them worked hard! We had a number of good conversations and laughter all around. Well done, and thanks for coming to the community garden.
We have had an influx of new volunteers to the garden recently and they’re bringing great energy and enthusiasm to the team. Not that our existing volunteers aren’t passionate, it’s simply that new people bring a certain something special to the place. With all this rain – and all this enthusiasm – the garden is really starting to shape up for summer!
I also want to take note of the iris blooming around the hoop house. This was Ella’s idea, one of many, and it really beautifies the space. Eventually we hope to have plants rimming the entire structure. I’ve also included a picture of the recently planted Jane Austen bed.
We have only a few weeks before Japanese beetle season arrives and I thought that people who garden without insecticides would enjoy this article from the website Growveg.com. https://www.growveg.com/guides/japanese-beetle-control-for-organic-gardeners/