Sunday, June 8, 2014

Garden Shaping Up Nicely

This year we have a very lush, full garden with tons of committed gardeners. We have just finished up our second work party of the season. Everyone came out on this bright Sunday morning and we got rid of our compost and mulch piles, painted some garden signs to identify plots, and tended to the communal food bank plots. Enjoy the pictures of some of our plots, our resident garden snake (don't worry not venomous!), and everyone hard at work this morning!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Building up the Guard: How to care for our spiny sentries (ie. the raspberries)

Raspberry bushes form our garden's naturalized fence line. We are always trying to extend this fence line and fill in the gaps.  Here is a 'How To' for transplanting the raspberries written by fellow gardener: Winston Gamache.

Raspberries generally fruit once in their second summer and then die the next winter (Figure 1). That means if there are only large, flowering plants in your section of the fence and they are not producing many new shoots, there will be a hole in the fence there next season. If you are  moving raspberries to help build up the fence, it is better to move the smaller shoots at this stage as the larger ones will probably not survive moving now they are fully leaved. They will lose too much water.

 Figure 1: Raspberry Plant Life Cycle

Transplanting Steps:
1.   Prep the Site à Soften the soil where you are planting the younger shoots to a depth of at least six inches to allow some room for the roots to grow in. Mix in some compost at this stage if available.
2.   Get Some Shoots àGet some with good leaves and roots, don’t waste your time with damaged or weak shoots. There are lots in the communal/water conservation plot.
Figure 2: Uprooted raspberry plant
3.   Plant ‘EmàPlant them back at the depth they were taken from. You can usually see that the stem has a white or brown part on it which was previously below the soil line (Figure 2).
4.   Water ‘Em Inà To help settle the soil and remove air that will dry the roots and kill them.
**They should also be checked for water every two or so weeks to ensure they get a good start this year. It is likely that we will get enough rain for them to be healthy though. With proper care, these smaller shoots will reach their full height this summer and help keep out the dogs. 
Mulching and Adding Compost
Another task that would help strengthen our herbaceous helpers, and something everybody can work at, is adding compost and mulch to the raspberry row. The compost can simply be put on top of the soil and mulch be placed over top.
Figure 3: Straw mulch
Ideas for mulch
-Broken up dead sticks/twigs bark scavenged from the bush
-Dead leaves
-Weeds pulled from your plot
-Grass from the path
-Extra wood chips
-Extra straw