Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A helping hand.

Last week, I met with the Albemarle Middle School teachers who are using a $1000 grant they received from the state to start a new garden. We chose $400 worth of plants and another $200 worth of accoutrements for their space. Because they are trying to make a large impact this year with little funding, I chose a lot of annuals in six-pack containers. They'll get 216 plants for about $30. In addition, we chose some knockout roses, azaleas, some evergreen trees, and some groundcovers. Today I'll meet them at the store and use my truck to deliver everything to their school. I'm going to donate some of my extra wintersown plants in another couple weeks. From several containers, I hope to give them another dozen perennials that will help grow their garden and possibly encourage them to plant more seeds next year. Wintersowing is perfect for this group.

In my own yard, I plan to weed out some of the thousands of tiny oak trees that have sprouted all through the garden. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to do it, but it has to be done. Last spring, I simply mowed them over and that was that. This year, I have returning perennials and direct sown annuals in the way. I can't mow anything.

I've considered two options so far. The first includes using all those black plastic pots I've collected during the last year to cover each plant I want to keep. I could then use the weedwhacker to chop them off at ground level. Or, I could mix up a batch of RoundUp and spray them. I don't like the idea of using RoundUp in my flower beds. Nor am I sure that chopping them off at ground level will kill the tiny oaks. The other option is to hand pull each seedling making sure I get the root and acorn. Handpulling isn't really an option. There are thousands of them. Maybe I can get a hoe from the neighbor.

No frost last night. It's 41 degrees. Freeze warning in effect for tonight though. I've got the hoophouse closed up today. Any sunlight we get can be used to keep the tomatoes warm. This weekend, I hope to remove the hoophouse for good and start my corn for the cucumbers to climb. If I get a few edible ears, that'll be nice too.


Kris said...

Tom, what a wonderful way to share your WS plants. I've been reading how more and more schools are making flower and vegetable gardens to teach kids where their food comes from, how to take care of plants, environmental issues, etc. Bet you could convince the school that a WS demo next winter would be right up your alley... ;-D

Laura said...

You could try weed whacking the Oaks and use a paintbrush to apply Round-up to the stumps.

Just a suggestion.

Jill-O said...

What you've got in oaks, I've got in Maples. Same difficulty. I usually end up pulling them by hand. Gardening with kids is one of my specialties. Money is always tight, even with grants. It is so nice of you to donate your plants and time.

F Cameron said...

A great thing your doing to help the school.

If you can get by without Round-up, I would. I know it's frustrating. I dug up a whole section of garden and to dig deep down to pull out the crabgrass. I'm glad that I did as that area is now one of my best flower beds (to come, since I just did this in September).


Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks Cameron, Jill. I want to do this without chemicals. I'll start in the morning removing sections and replanting with wintersown containers.

The school needs all the help they can get. Next year, I want to convince them to add veggies if they do well with the flowers.

Jill-O said...

Kids and vegetable gardens go together like bacon and eggs. It's a great match.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I think helping the school is great! I wish my daughter's school would do something like that. It'll be fun to see how it looks all planted.

Unknown said...

As always, I love reading your blog :)
Have you ever heard you shouldn't 'thank' people for plants? That's an old mountain saying... you can trade or do something for the person giving them, but you can't 'thank them'.
Just wondering if you've heard.