Monday, May 19, 2014

Transplants Begin!

I arrived at the garden on Saturday morning to find these beauties inside the fence.  Such a lovely treat.  These kale, collards, broccoli and tomatoes are the first transplants that Ginkgo has planted this season.

A special shout out is in order for the awesome team from the Palmer House Hilton.  These transplant gurus snapped to work by divvying up the labor.  One person to place the plants evenly on the soil, one to dig a hole, one to loosen the roots and pop the transplant in.  I've never seen such a coordinated effort at Ginkgo and I tried to assure them that we weren't task masters, but the team indicated that tight deadlines were their specialty.  Hard working, efficient, and you couldn't ask for a friendlier bunch.  Thanks and thanks!

We missed Chris on round 1 of the group photo, but his efforts shouldn't go unmentioned.  Before embarking on back to back trips around the country to split sides with his improv and responsibly celebrate, Chris added to his track record as a weed annihilation machine and helped to get those transplants in and fences up.

Bobbi-Lee cleaned out our earth machine which was full of the lightest fluffiest compost I've ever handled.  We usually just ignore the bins and focus more on our managed 3 bin systems, but this passive approach broke some high quality trimmings down into the definition of loamy.

Here we are using kale as a border crop to maximize output per bed.  There should be plenty of space to reach in and handle the tomatoes and all we need now are some marigolds to ward off flea beetles.  I can't wait to see these beds all grown up. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Salt ‘N’ Pepa put it best when they said:

Yeah, yeah (Oooo)
Uh, hey hey
All right, yeah

What a man, what a man, what a man
What a mighty good man.

Safe travels Al.  After six years of working your butt off at Ginkgo and Vital bridges we know that we've been fortunate enough and can share you with Partners in Health and the people of Haiti.  You've been an essential volunteer and it will take a lot to step up and fill this gap, but your presence is perennial in daffodils, ethic, and Persephone.  Keep us up to date and learn everything so you can share it with us.

Remember to move around during the flight to avoid clots.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Late Start

Gardens across Chicago are off to a late start because of the rough winter and cold spring.  Ginkgo is in the same boat.  By now the garden should have 5-6 inch pea sprouts, should be harvesting radishes, should be ready for transplants this weekend, and every bed should be seeded.  Instead, we have just a few rows of radishes, potato and sweet potato starts, and the start of a lettuce crop.  We will be transplanting this weekend, but our crops will be chilly.  We have some major catching up to do and we can use every hand that we can get to transplant and seed beds.

One thing that this spring has offered plenty of is water.  Unfortunately, we didn't get our rain barrels up as early as we should have because there was a constant threat of frost, so all of that rain water was inaccessible to us.  When we did get them in place, we learned that most of them couldn't hold water because they had been damaged during the winter despite our efforts to protect them.  By the time we got them all patched up, the city water had already been connected (as shown in the buffalo box above).  Without water it was hard to begin seeding.
Despite this, we seeded radishes with the little water we could get.  These gems are such a bright spot in the spring.  They really are the first proof that one can fill a plate with something toothsome by one's own hands.

The rhubarb takes care of itself although we could probably pamper it a little with some fresh compost and and a little division to let it multiply and get some better circulation. 

Right on time for the spring are the fruit blossoms.  The ornamental cherry blossoms have all dropped, succeeded by the apples, which are followed by Ginkgo's pears.  We had beautiful weather on Saturday and warm breezes carried the heady perfume of our white lilacs into the garden. 

The big show of course was the exhumation of our fig trees.  Normally, we would do this around Easter, but sudden random snow flurries through April made us nervous about taking them up too early.

The one so curiously shaped like a body, came up first.  Ginkgo's volunteers swiftly and with finesse to bring the tree back to the waking world.  The trees have new growth on them, which is a good sign, but we still have to wait and see how they coped with the stresses of our unusual procedure and the oppressive winter.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Eat For Equity

Continuing the 20th anniversary season, our friends at Eat for Equity are throwing a dinner party for us.  This Monday, May 12th, at 7:00pm we'll be cooking up a pile of tasty local food.  Proceeds go to help Ginkgo continue to outgrow hunger.  Our old pal Dave Snyder will be hosting at his place: 3530 W Fulton Blvd.  You can find out more and RSVP here:

Come by, rub elbows with gardeners, and raise a fork to help support Ginkgo!