Friday, May 15, 2009

First post of summer 2009!

I have been really excited with all the activity the Cultivating Community team have been up these past two weeks. We have already had the first Ginsberg workday of the summer and three volunteers showed up!

The volunteers and interns roused the garden from its winter slumber by removing the Rye Grass cover crop and weeding out several maple saplings that had taken root in the garden beds and herb spiral. The purpose of the cover crop is to prevent soil erosion as the beds overwinter, to prevent the establishment of hardy weeds, and to provide nutrient rich plants that can be composted when the summer begins. Rye grass is a very good choice as a cover crop because it is regularly used for erosion control programs.

Through clearing of the straw and rye grass we discovered several plants from last year: dill, Russian kale, turnip, cilantro, and parsley. Many of the perennials planted last year are coming back as well like the raspberries, chives, mint, and flowers.

In late April, we planted potatoes, spinach, onions, radishes, and carrots. They have all started to sprout especially the radishes which needed to be thinned on the workday.
The healthy cover crop of Rye grass that we pulled went straight into our compost bins. We turned the newly formed piles and watered them down to aid in the establishment of the microbial community that will break down the plant matter into humus-rich compost.

Composting closes the loop between growth and decay. The remains of dead and unwanted plants decompose into a black soil that serves as a great growth medium for future plants. There are many sources on how to compost online and in print. Some sources: The Rodale Book of Composting, Compost Guide (

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