What's Growing on in the Garden this week?
This week in the garden we had our best harvest yet! Over 159 pounds of produce were given away at the Fresh Food Thursday event bringing the total amount from the garden to 460 pounds. Much of that was summer squashes but also included tomatoes, tomatillos, Hungarian hot peppers, eggplant, and much more!
Our volunteers this week helped transplant seedlings that we will harvest this fall. The tomatoes in the garden are growing well, and we have already harvested 15 pounds of cherry tomatoes this week! Using trellises and pruning, we can produce large quantities of vining crops (tomatoes, cucumber, and eggplants) in a small space.
Although it is still hot out, we have already begun planning for the chilly days of fall. This week we transplanted broccoli, peas, and chard. These crops do not tolerate the summer heat and will turn bitter, however, these crops thrive when planted in the fall. We will also plant lettuce, cauliflower, and kale in a few weeks.
We will also plant an entire block of beds with a cover crop this fall. Cover crops are utilized to improve the soil structure and organic material and protect the soil from erosion during the winter. The cover crops we are using are a mix of peas and barley. Peas have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen (N) fixing bacteria, and they will increase the N content of the soil. These plants will grow for several months, then die when the ground freezes. When the ground thaws in the spring, we will till the crop residue into the beds and plant on top. The crop residue will break down, providing plants with nutrients. Read more about cover crops here.