Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's in the Trial Garden?

Why don't you grow.....? Our reply is  that we grow what will produce the crops requested by the food bank, crops that people enjoy eating for taste and nutrition. There are the regulars, such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, etc.   This year we are adding five different types of chili peppers as requested by the food bank.  We are also growing sweet potatoes again due to increased need and the high nutritional value of the produce.
We choose seed varieties that are available in bulk at the local Seed and Hardware Stores like Webster Brothers in  Walkertown.  We start everything we can from seeds.

Sometimes we want to grow a new variety or a new crop.  Last year we tried okra and it did so well we are growing a row this year. The Trial Garden is where we can try new things and expand into the main garden if we determine that people like to eat it and it grows well.  In the Trial Garden this year we are trying Tomatillos (see above)  which are good for making green Salsa.  We're also growing patty pan squash,  Swiss chard and a few new varieties of cucumbers, Yukon gold potatoes and onions.  So far with the onions, is that they probably take too much time and energy to be worthwhile for our purposes.  We planted them in October and probably won't harvest until July.  So, we learned.

We're also demonstrating some different growing methods.  In the Trial Garden we do not plant under plastic bed covers.  We raise the beds about 6 " and are recycling burlap coffee bags from Krankies as weed control between rows  (please bring us some if you go to Krankie's).  We are demonstrating the "Three Sisters" method of planting corn, cucumbers and pole beans together as the Native Americans did.  The beans fix nitrogen in the soil and they grow up supported by the corn; the cucumber (or squash) grows at the bottom and keeps the ground cool.

Herbs will go at the shed end of the Trial bed.  So far we have sage,oregano,thyme,basil, lemon balm and chives. The Triad Community Kitchen of the Food Bank requested we grow herbs for them.

So, next time you come to help with the harvest, check out what's going on in the Trial Garden.  We hope to have labels up soon.  Don't be surprised if you see some flowers too.

1 comment:

  1. We are hoping to get there next week! I've not heard of the "Three Sisters" method, so I'll be interested to see it.


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