Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's getting hot in here....

We had another Ginsberg Garden workday on the 15th because that is the USDA frost free date for southeastern Michigan and we had a lot of plants that needed transplanting. The plants we planted were:
Around eight volunteers helped with the workday. They watered, planted, and aided in the installation of a bean teepee.

Bean teepees are supportive structures that allow bean plants to vine upwards. The teepee we used is four wooden posts tied together at the top with string. The string was then tied around the teepee in a trellising pattern to give the plants more opportunites to vine. I have seen instructions on how to make a bean teepee so large that people can go inside it when the beans are at their peak of growth. Bean leaves are large and numerous so the teepee is very well shaded.

We mulched all of the plants with straw that we found on site. There are a myriad of reasons to mulch such as to prevent weeds, and to retain moisture in the soil for longer periods. Straw is an organic mulch so over time the straw will decompose which improves the quality of the soil. Also the mulch acts as a windbreak for the tiny new transplants keeping them warmer than if they were more exposed. The volunteers then watered the plants with buckets because we forgot to bring the hoses (we will bring them next time, promise!).
Tips about watering:
Be sure to water in gentle streams and have the water temperature be lukewarm to warm to not shock the plants. Another thing about watering is that you would want to focus on watering the plants low near the roots to prevent the water you are using from evaporating into the air. In order to avoid daily waterings make sure that when you water it is a deep soaking. Soil that contains a large amount of organic matter is like a sponge in that it can absorb large quantities of water at once without washing out. The soil will stay moist for longer so the plants can be watered less often.
We have an upcoming field trip to Agrarian Adventure, this is their website: http://agrarian.dreamhosters.com/agrarianadventure/

It is a great program that has tons of youth and community involvement in the Ann Arbor area. Also the garden they manage at Tappan Middle School has a huge strawberry patch! I hope the strawberries will have fruited by the time we head out there on May 26th.
Happy gardening!
References: Rodale's Complete Guide to Organic Gardening

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