A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Signs of Spring!

Well, it appears that spring is on its way, at least in our neck of the woods. The crocuses have been blooming for a few weeks now, willows are leafing out, and the robins have returned. There's a beautiful soft "blush" when you look to the hills as all the deciduous trees' buds slowly begin to swell. And the moist wakening earth just smells so fine on a sunny day. With the arrival of spring, we gardeners get itchy to be working the soil again and yearn to start the cycle of planting, cultivation and harvest once again.

We're happy to announce that we've received permission for a second year of gardening at Alpine's Food-Sharing garden. Chris has painted a beautiful sign to display at the park. The sign is made almost entirely from recycled materials. It provided a welcome diversion to get us through the damp, dark days here in Alpine. He also built several bird houses to attract bluebirds, and woodpeckers to the park. We'll let you know when the birds move in!

We'll be expanding the garden program for 2010. With the help of Evelyn Lee (thanks Evelyn!), we submitted an extensive grant proposal which includes funding to expand the program in the following ways:
  • We've been given permission by Chester Crowson (of the Crowson School-bus Company in Monroe) to expand our garden to a second, additional garden plot on his property between the Food Bank (where we've been taking our surplus produce) and the elementary school in Monroe. He made it clear to us that he is one hundred percent supportive of the program and will "help us in any way" he can. Be sure to thank him next time you see him.
  • We're creating a pilot project to involve young people ages 9-18 in serving their community by raising food especially for the Monroe Food Bank and others in need while they learn valuable gardening skills.
  • And we intend to expand and structure our volunteer program to involve more people in the project. (email us if you want to be on our volunteer list: alpinecogarden@gmail.com )

Pea Planting Tips: Fortunately in our area, there are a few things that can be started now with a cloche (unheated greenhouse) or cold frame. Though some gardeners can sow peas directly in the ground now, the Alpine garden site is still too soggy so we've started ours indoors. We've planted four seeds in the four corners of four-inch pots, about one finger-knuckle deep. The four-inch pots are deep enough that the plants won’t exhaust the nutrients or become root bound before they're transplanted. When its time to transplant, we'll put each clump of four into the soil without teasing them apart. Each clump will be planted eight inches apart. Other plants we've started in the cloche are: spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley, onions and lettuce.

We'll keep you informed about how you can get involved in the existing Alpine garden, the Monroe garden expansion as well as the youth program.

Llyn and Chris - Garden Coordinators

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