Sunday, 15 April 2012

"Straw Hat And Old Dirty Hankies, Mopping The Face Like A Shoe"

posted on 4/15/2012 by the Salt City Sinner



Spring! Spring is here, and it's time to plant cold weather crops.

I garden for a living (more on that some other time), and this time of year I eat, sleep, breathe and dream gardening. In addition to refugee gardens at eight community garden sites throughout the Salt Lake City area - with our most far-flung garden located in the misty, legendary Kingdom of Magna - I have my own plot at the newly minted Sugar House Community Gardens, near my parents' place, located on what used to be a decrepit tennis court near Fairmont Park.

Yes sir, I am Loyal to my Soil:


That's after a light watering and a turning of the first six inches of topsoil. Despite what some garden guides say, and what some gardeners believe, I have heard frequently enough from enough Master Gardeners (yes, that's a technical title you have to earn) that only the top six inches of soil needs serious cultivation / tampering.

That soil right there is a mixture I've often heard referred to as Mills' Mix, but I can't find anything about it online. I know that it consists of one part Perlite, one part humus (finished compost) and one part "good black soil." I've made it from scratch in the greenhouses at Horizonte, and adding water at every stage of the mix is a good idea.

I, in fact, am a bit of a soil nut, and so even though my bed was built from scratch this year and contains rich, fertile Mills' Mix that I could practically eat a spoonful of, I happened upon a soil amendment that I thought would be worthwhile: "Coco - Grow," an organic mix of coconut husks and fibers, which sucks up and stores water, allowing root systems to thrive. Check this out:



The bag on the left had been watered thoroughly with hot water, and swelled to two to three times its original size just like a magic dinosaur sponge.

On my way to the garden, I collected my supplies:


After a thorough, six-inch deep tilling (ask your momma about that - HEY-OOOOOO) I added the coconut husks, now soaked and broken apart.


I planted onions, kale, radishes, beets, broccoli and turnips.



An enterprising gentleman named 'Jeremy B.' (no last names in Fight Club or Garden Club) is cooking something up that seems almost sinister:



(In all seriousness, see cold tenting)

It was surprisingly toasty today. Between heavy lifting at refugee garden sites and my efforts in Sugar House, I am a sore and tired son of a gun. But BEHOLD:


From this plot, much produce will emerge (forgive me for waxing Yoda-esque).

Warm weather crops and seedlings will go in in about a month, around Mother's Day. We'll see how my own little patch of paradise pans out.

NOTE: There are still plots available at Sugar House Community Gardens. Sign up - they don't have drip tape irrigation available (yet), but we're off to a good start. All water at the site is pumped directly from the stream outlet of Fairmont Park, which is pretty cool.

One more picture - this is YT (Yours Truly) wielding a twenty pound sledge at our show pony garden, the Holladay-Mt. Olympus site:


I used that bad son of a gun (the sledge) to drive six foot steel guides and eight foot wooden poles into the ground from atop a ladder to build a trellis for blackberries. What did YOU do with your week and weekend?


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