Welcome to 2017!
While it may be cold outside and the possibility of snow is looming, I’d like to take just a moment to look back at the 2016 year and thank those who volunteered in the community garden.
Last year we added the local Salvation Army to those receiving food from us. The other recipients were Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and The Haven. Recent reports state that one in seven Americans is food insecure and rely on local food pantries, shelters, or aid in order to feed themselves or their family. As a part of the system of community gardens and school gardens in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, there is much that we can contribute in order to help those less fortunate around us. With a good effort this year, we can raise more food than ever before.
Led by community volunteer Ella, our hoop house now has a second plastic skin on the interior and insulated front and back sides, as well as a venting system designed to open when it begins to get too hot inside. The tables have been arranged for maximum usefulness and rocks, cinderblocks, and water barrels are adding thermal mass. Together, these actions and a few others unmentioned will help us begin spring growth earlier and get an excellent crop ready for transplant when the frost date passes.
Let by community volunteer Mary Beth, our compost bins and contents are in better shape than ever, and one of our large, raised beds is sheet mulching over the fall and winter. Come spring, that soil will be full of earthworm castings and decomposed into some gorgeous black gold. We are also attempting through multiple means to control the mugwort growth in some areas where it was rampant. Volunteer Hannah planted some winter grains that we will chop back into the soil where their decomposition will replenish that particular bed’s fertility.
Our native plant borders and beds have been in the process of being labeled by highly decorated and exotic rocks. If you haven’t seen them, they’re the best plant labels ever!