Monday, April 20, 2009

The best-laid plans

A chilly, bright and blustery Easter Saturday, April 11th, saw an enthusiastic crew of Ginkgo volunteers making progress on a bunch of pre-planting tasks. Several beds were aerated with the huge soil lifting tool, and there was also much weeding and raking.

Looking forward to five consecutive weeks in which we will have big groups of volunteers, we also spent some time trying to identify projects big and small that we can engage people in before we're safely into the second half of May and the threat of frost has passed. Some immediate needs are wood chips to keep down the weeds along the paths (available free from the city, but on no particular schedule) and compost to improve the nutritive composition of our beds. We decided to take the recommendation of Kirsten Akre at Kilbourn Park and get a delivery of Organimix from Lake Street Landscape Supply. Unsure what 10 cubic yards might look like, we found a handy visual aid.

The thought of receiving a couple of deliveries by truck made us look at the sad hole in the ground that passes for our loading area. It's clear we need to to something drastic here, and we will probably have to start by seeking the services of a skilled professional. Other plans for the coming weeks include: installing a length of guttering along the back of the shed to feed a rainwater barrel; building and painting signs for the beds; stripping and sealing the beds in the front garden; planning and planting some native prairie plants out front; repairing and replacing some tools; rebuilding our compost bins, to a design as yet unselected; reinforcing the new potato bed; building some steps on the east side of the shed that don't require rock climbing skills; and levelling an area west of the shed for shady summer working (and maybe a pergola).

A look through 2008's garden log found that on April 12th we planted peas, broad beans, scallions, carrots, spinach. On April 19th, with the soil temperature in bed 15 at 58F, we planted radishes, onions, beets and potatoes. This year, it seemed way too cold to plant anything edible, and the soil temperature confirmed this, with measurements of 47F and 51F.