Sunday, 9 April 2017

Our 'All About Seeds' Weekend

April 8–9 2017

The weekend of April 8th and 9th was our two-part All About Seeds event. On Saturday, we hosted a screening of the documentary Seed: The Untold Story. It's sobering to learn more about the toll major companies like Monsanto are taking on the earth and on the people who live near their testing sites, but we were also inspired by people like Dr. Vandana Shiva, who is fighting back with education and seed libraries in communities that were struggling under the debt and health issues that so often come with chemical farming. 

Sunday was our hands-on workshop, and we were delighted to have an all-ages group of attendees who were truly excited about planting seeds. In between my short informational speeches, we mixed up some custom potting mix, learned a good way to fill a pot without compacting the soil, planted some tomatoes and tomatillos for Garden@Kimbourne, and then had a planting party! 

I had selected six kinds of seed that are easy to grow indoors and are suitable for planting 4–6 weeks ahead of the last frost date. Some of our participants stuck to those six, while others explored our more extensive Garden@Kimbourne seed collection. We wrapped up with a tour of the garden, and our wonderful participants even volunteered to help clean the soil off the tables and floor.

By the end of the day, I ended up with two trays full of seeds to coddle for Garden@Kimbourne's use. Some of them I had pre-sprouted for three days between damp paper towels as a demonstration for the workshop, and others were planted straight from the packet:

  • Urban Harvest tomatillos (some pre-soaked, some not. The pre-soaked ones had not yet sprouted)
  • Burpee's Sweet Basil (pre-sprouted)
  • Cubit's Baby Heirloom Lettuce (pre-soaked. Three days was too long for some of the seeds—they had put out cotyledon leaves)
  • Burpee's Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes (I didn't get the chance to write down the variety but it was the rest of an envelope we had planted last year)
  • Dill harvested from Garden@Kimbourne in 2016 (pre-sprouted)
  • Arugula harvested from Garden@Kimbourne in 2016 (pre-sprouted)
We also planted our first spinach seeds outside, since they can handle being planted this early. We placed them in our nursery bed, which is sheltered by wooden sides and by floating row cover which we left there over the winter. Our parsley thrived under the row cover, so we will get a second year out of those plants and hopefully some seeds at the end of the season (parsley is a biennial and will flower in its second year).

Several of our perennials are already poking out of the soil or putting out leaves: rhubarb, chives, garlic, sorrel, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and currants. And of course the crocuses that have been here longer than Garden@Kimbourne has. Soon there will be daylilies and squills, too.

Liz gave the currants and fruit trees a pruning to make sure they grow in compact, healthy ways. All in all, spring 2017 has gotten off to a beautiful start!

—Erin Alladin
Coordinator, Garden@Kimbourne

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