Saturday, July 7, 2012

Heroes of the Day: Franklin County Master Gardeners – The Sequel

This morning, five more Franklin County Master Gardener interns (including their fearless leader) returned to the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden to help us prepare for tomorrow’s FREE Growing-To-Green Open Hub Garden Tour (from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.). They continued to weed our food pantry plots, around the fence line and in the annex. They also planted and watered in a lot of pansies and dusty millers (donated by Strader’s Garden Centers) in our front flower beds. Finally, I sent them across the street to deadhead flowers in the Block Watch flower gardens. You cannot imagine how much help they have been.

We started extra early this morning. Cathy and I got there around 7:45 a.m. in a feeble attempt to beat the heat. We spent the first couple of hours watering the food pantry, neighbor, flower plots and my plot. I also weeded my plot a little bit. I’m afraid my potatoes have all died from insufficient watering on my part. Sigh.

Hope came and watered her garden. Kelly and her mother stopped by to water and weed for a few minutes. New neighbor Jacquelin stopped by to introduce herself, offer her assistance and watered our corn and Ms. Gladys’ raised bed. Jen stopped by to water Keyante’s bed and the cherry trees. Mr. McClure stopped by to say hello and comment on the gaping hole next door.

Finally, as I started to wilt myself, I picked greens, kale, turnips/greens, a cucumber and our first red tomato for the food pantry and kicked everyone out by 11 a.m. (when it was already 93 degrees). It was too hot to build a compost bin. I had hoped to get in some fertilizing (in the hope of spurting flowers on the plants so that they could turn to fruit during next week’s expected seasonal temperatures), but it got too hot to stay in the Garden one second more. Maybe tomorrow. . . . .

On my way back from the food pantry, I stopped by Four Seasons City Farm to see how they were doing at “the big garden” at Mound and Carpenter in their preparation for tomorrow’s garden tour. That garden is enormous. There were still four or five people there working. Craziness. They would have liked to have help from Master Gardeners this morning . . . . . Bless their hearts, they gave me a slice of watermelon, which was much appreciated.

The importance of fertilizer during a drought. I learned on the OSU website this week how important it is to fertilize during a drought. First, the very controversial phosphorus helps the roots to develop sufficiently to grow deeper than usual. Second, the plants only take up nutrients when the ground is damp. As the top layers dry out (with evaporation from the extraordinary heat and lack of rain), the plant is unable to absorb the nutrients typically found in the top couple of inches of soil. Thus, it is not just the lack of water that stunts their growth during a drought, it is the inability to absorb nutrients in the most fertile part of the soil. I’ll write more about this later.

 Sunday’s Garden Tour. Twelve of the best community gardens in Central Ohio have been working their butts off in the past ten days to put their best faces forward during tomorrow's garden tour despite this very frustrating drought and heat wave. This community garden tour is free and is open to the public.  Very few people are likely to visit all twelve gardens Sunday, but you can always visit a few to get a sense of the diversity of efforts. I will have information to distribute about the SACG and information about the other eleven gardens (including a map of the tour) available for free to the first thirty people who visit the SACG tomorrow. We will also have some water and lemonade for sale in case you forget to bring your own, as well as items for your own fairy garden. Luckily, it will not be anywhere near as hot as today. It might even rain. (A girl can dream).   I'll be at the SACG between 1 and 3 p.m.

You can print out your own copy of the map of the garden tour here.

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