Thursday, April 24, 2014

Garden Talk: Time to Plant!

By Kate Nagel, Food Bank Garden Coordinator, Hazardous Waste and Toxic Reduction Program, Washington Conservation Corps


Saturday, May 3rd Planting Event

A flowering winter squash plant
from last season's garden.
Come plant winter squash at the Ecology Food Bank Garden on Saturday, May 3 from 9am-2pm! Lunch and tools provided. All levels of gardening experience are encouraged to join! Bring your family and friends as well as gloves if you have them. Please RSVP.

Lunchtime and after-work gardening parties will also be starting soon. To get on the garden volunteer list or for more information, please contact Kate Nagel.

Need some incentive to get out to the garden? Read about why gardening is good for your health!

The Food Bank Garden is a great way to get volunteer hours and give back to the community. Last year, with the help of hard-working volunteers, the garden donated over 2,000 pounds of produce to the Thurston County Food Bank. The Food Bank hands these vegetables directly to our fellow community members in need!

Ecology's garden is located at the Washington Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Dr. SE, Lacey(garden located in the meadow near the far parking lot).

Newspaper pots: Tips for saving money and reusing

Because squash have fragile root systems, planting starts directly into the ground without disturbing their roots is helpful. Using peat pots is one option, or if you are interested in saving money and reusing too, newspaper pots are a great alternative.

During a recent lunchtime work party, volunteers made newspaper pots for the garden's winter squash starts. There are hundreds of tutorial videos online if you type "newspaper pots" or "newspaper pots origami" into your search engine. Any newspaper should work great, but don't use the glossy pages or pages that use a lot of color ink. Once created, put pots into a tray to contain water, but be sure to allow for airflow. Roots will begin to grow through the paper if they become too large. At this point (or a little before) you will want to begin hardening your plants; here is a good description of this process. Once hardening is complete, carefully place start into the hole, newspaper and all!

Students water their newly planted squash seeds.
Three classes at a local elementary school volunteered to host several trays of squash seeds. The students learned how to plant the seeds and are now responsible for watering them and watching them grow!

Ecology's garden is hoping to grow about 500 winter squash plants this season. This is the first year the garden is using the newspaper pot method to grow starts, and we are excited to see how they turn out!

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