Friday, April 25, 2014

Small but Mighty

Fellow gardeners, last Saturday I ordered Ginkgo's Volunteers to search and destroy rogue mint.

No gardener takes such action lightly.

This morning, I want to tell you what I did and why I did it.

... But seriously.  It was a big weeding and maintenance day.  A small but mighty group of volunteers, set to work pulling weeds.  Three distinct plants that we want in the rhubarb bed are rhubarb, sorrell, and  lovage.  Last year, mint completely overran this bed. This season, the mint pokes up already.  Mega-volunteer Chris carefully traced and extracted the roots of the mint growing in this bed while being careful not to disturb the rhubarb, lovage, or sorrel.

Mint typically and intentionally surrounds the north side of the garden's centerpiece, an ornamental cherry tree (pictured below).  This is mint's home.  Two time volunteer, and friend of the garden Bobby Lee, cut back last year's mint stalks and made room for this year's.  She also weeded the mint area which is super helpful because once the mint is full sized, it will be hard to get other plants out by the roots.  Unlike Chris' careful weeding, Bobby Lee was merciless because mint can take the abuse.

Evelyn organized the shed and cleaned and oiled the tools.  This task keeps our tools useful and rust free, but it also makes the shed more accessible.  There's nothing more frustrating that buying a roll of twine only to find out that there are three rolls hidden somewhere unexpected.

I went after stray garlic chives.  Garlic chives (a flat bladed, more pungent, relative of the more common round bladed chive) have overrun the raspberry bed. This bed should contain raspberries, strawberries, dill, and asparagus.  Ideally, I would live in there because it is heaven.  Unfortunately, bindweed and garlic chives also fill it. Garlic chives, similar to mint, are edible and delicious, but spread quickly and aggressively into other beds.  They make a great snack while weeding.  After the bed was cleared of all signs of garlic chives, Chris top dressed it with a layer of fresh house-made compost.

Probably the biggest step was to set up the rain barrels.  With all of the barrels set up to catch this week's rain, we will have water to plant on April 26th.  Drop by to get into radishes and lettuce!

Friday, April 18, 2014

With a Little Help from our Friends

This Earth Day (Tuesday April 22nd) the Whole Foods at 3640 N Halsted will donate 5% of their proceeds to Ginkgo Organic Gardens.

For 20 years Ginkgo has been out-growing hunger by donating our harvests to local hunger fighting organizations.  In recent years we have donated 1,000 – 1,500 pounds of produce annually to Vital Bridges GroceryLand, a food pantry that serves low-income persons living with HIV.  Donations secured through Whole Foods’ 5% Day on Tuesday, April 22nd, will go to help improve the garden through major infrastructure improvements.

Browse through the photos on the blog, so you can visualize the amazing work that you're doing simply by buying escarole, local brews, or bulk peanuts.  Share this post and spread the word like homemade peanut butter! (It's been a big peanut week at my place).

Also, if you just can't wait until Earth Day to start do-gooding for Mother Earth, drop by Ginkgo on Saturday for some beautiful weather and first of the year direct seeding!