Thursday, April 15, 2021

April 2021

 Plant Sale - Warm Season Crops



May 1, 2021 at the Gate of the Community Garden


Save room in your garden for the wonderful plants you will find on Saturday, May 1st at the front gate of the Garden! The public is invited from 10-12 to choose from 50 different varieties, almost 1,000 plants - tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and herbs-  grown from seed in our basements and in the greenhouse.

 

We have a wonderful selection of heirloom and specialty plants you can't find at the store and at better prices!  Support our garden and  the Williamsburg Community Growers mission to provide food to our local community by purchasing your plants from us on May 1st. Check out the Plant Description document below for thumbnail pictures and descriptions of our products.

 

We will be trying out our new Square device for credit card sales, but cash or checks are preferred.

 

Please bring a box or tray - or a wagon! - to carry your purchases away. 

 

We would love to recycle our pots once you have planted. Just leave them in the shelter.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all!


Click here for Plant Descriptions

 


What do I Plant When?

 

The Extension at Virginia Tech advises that the average last killing frost for our area, Hardiness Zone 7b, is April 5 - April 15. This is an average based on past history. Please remember that we had a late frost last year in our Garden, which is quite exposed. So plant your crops but keep an eye on the weather and protect your tender crops if a frost is forecast.

 

The following crops can be planted by mid- to late-April, early May:

 

Bush and pole bean seeds 

Cucumber, seeds or transplants 

Eggplant transplants

Muskmelon seeds

Okra

Pepper transplants

Potatoes

Pumpkins, seeds or transplants

Summer squash, seeds or transplants

Winter squash, seeds or transplants

Sweet potatoes

Tomatoes, transplants

Watermelon, seeds or transplants

Sweet corn seeds

 

***Warning - Basil should not be planted outside until low nightly temperatures are reliably above 50 degrees.

 

As the weather warms, several crops have reached the point where they will not prosper if planted now. So it is almost too late to plant: cabbage, beets, broccoli, carrots, chard, collards, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radish, spinach, and turnips. Consider planting these again later for a fall harvest. See article on Succession Planting from Elvin Clapp below.

 

 

 

 

 

Succession Planting 

by Master Gardener Elvin Clapp

Often, we are tempted by those early flashy tomato plants displayed in colorful pots at the store or garden center.  Who can pass by and not purchase beautiful 20 inch tomato plants bearing fruit and just begging to be placed in our plots in March? Those tender plants probably will not survive Jack Frost and may be too mature to adapt to a new location in the great outdoors. So how can we get the best bang for our buck with a 10’ x10’ or 10’ x 20’ plot? One key is succession planting.

Succession planting is part of an intensive strategy for getting the most produce for our plots. Basically, it’s planning and planting according to our garden seasons, and planting something new in the place where previous plants have been harvested. Keep in mind that we are in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7B, so read the labels and consult planting guides published by local universities such as Virginia Tech (ext.vt.edu), N.C. State University, or the University of Maryland. For Zone 7, the average last killing frost is April 15. Keep in mind that this is just an average and Mother Nature will decide the actual date.

Spring Season: We can get an early spring start with cold hardy annuals such as carrots, onions, lettuce, broccoli, and peas. Consider planting a row or two of your favorites, then wait 2 weeks and plant another row to have a continuous harvest to enjoy. Plants like lettuce will bolt in the early summer as the temperatures rise. Once you have harvested this crop, you have a new space for warm season plants. February and early March is a good time to start seeds indoors to be transplanted later.

Late Spring and Early Summer Season:  Follow up with warm season crops such as tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplant, okra, etc. I like to wait until a couple of weeks after the last projected frost before planting sets or plants. You can plant earlier than the last heavy frost, but be prepared to cover your plants if a frost or freeze is predicted. Our community plots are exposed to wind and an open environment, so your space may get temperatures a few degrees colder than what you record at home.

Fall: This is an excellent time to plant cold season crops such as lettuce, turnip greens, kale, collards, etc. in the space where your warm season plants are no longer productive. Plant in the late summer and add two weeks to the maturity date. If the seed packet specifies 50 days to maturity, the actual maturity date is 64 days as the amount of sunlight and temperature declines throughout the fall. 

Winter: Kale, collards, turnip greens, etc., can survive throughout a mild winter like the one we have just experienced. However, many gardeners opt to plant a cover crop to reduce soil erosion, reduce soil compaction, and provide organic matter. For more information on cover crops, consult the Piedmont Master Gardner’s article listed below.

Finally, keep a log or record of your gardening experience. Which did better, direct seeding or transplants? What varieties survived and thrived? Keep account of your watering schedule, rate and type of fertilizer, plant rotation schedule, weed control, and what you harvested. Also, walk around other plots and chat with the member who have several seasons of experience. Remember, the most productive garden is the one not only provides a “flavorable” harvest, but one where you derive pleasure in visiting and working in every week.


References:

https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-335/426-335.pdf

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/home-vegetable-gardening-a-quick-reference-guide

https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2012/03/07/how-to-succeed-at-succession/

https://piedmontmastergardeners.org/article/the-missed-opportunity-cover-crops/



Garden Etiquette/Rules


  • The Garden Agreement states that Gardeners agree to “Maintain/tend (their) plot from the time of assignment and/or start planting by May 1st.  Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of the plot fee and reassignment of the plot to someone on the waiting list. 


  • Just another reminder that the water at the Garden is a valuable resource, even though it comes from the retention ponds nearby. We are quite lucky that the irrigation system at the sports complex was turned on in time to refill our cisterns after the recent spill of over 1,000 gallons of water. Please be careful to turn the water off at the valve near your plot. As a refresher, when the toggle is aligned with the pipe, the water is on; when it is across the pipe, it is off. 



Garden Growers

People in the Garden



Meet Farm Manager Liz Callan


I am the WCG Farm Manager, and I love getting people involved in growing their own food! I'm an agronomist (I received my Masters from LSU) and I was also a Hillside Agriculture Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, and a Community Supported Agriculture farmer in Troy, NY. I also work with the WJCC Schools School Health Initiative Program (SHIP) as the Culinary Educator. Besides gardening, I love Irish step dancing, crocheting and making soap (I have a small Etsy shop called Mountain Mermaids)!


Last April WCG received a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts which funded my part-time position for one year. This is the first time WCG has had a paid employee! I work mainly with the Teaching Farm. I love working with our volunteers, showing them how to grow veggies, and fostering their love of local food and life-long gardening skills. Our volunteers are service-learners, and we donate most of our harvest to local food pantries. You all are welcome to join us any Tuesday (5:30 - 7 pm,) or Saturday (7:30 am - 12:30 pm), or any time I'm out at the farm working! :)


To bring a bit of financial stability to WCG, last year we opened our Farm Stand (open 9 - 11 am Saturday mornings, once we have produce to pick).  


Come and visit with me any time you see me in the garden. I look forward to getting to know you all!

Liz



What's Happening!

April 2021

  Plant Sale - Warm Season Crops May 1, 2021 at the Gate of the Community Garden Save room in your garden for the wonderful plants you will ...