Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Year of Gardening Interestingly

Winter has come to our upstate NY town, with a big (for this year, that is) 3 inch snowstorm in addition to the snow we picked up on Thursday.  I could sure use some more winters like this almost snow less one.  And now my hanging basket that had the black petunias in them this past summer, sleeps under a blanket of snow.

So it came to pass this week that a letter came from our community garden organization, with the annual registration form and a news update.
Our community garden has existed for many of the years we have lived in this community, but with the prospect of a regional farmers market being built a few hundred yards away, things are really taking off.  From a community garden of "do your own thing" some great (or not great, depending on your point of view) things are going to happen.

1.  Our community garden season will end September 16 this year.  In our zone 5 climate we would have a hopeful 4-5 more weeks of good gardening.  That will be used to plant a green manure crop, the first ever in the history of the community garden.

2.  The gardening committee is seriously thinking of going organic.  We are not  (I freely admit) organic in our garden plot:  we are guilty of an occasional use of chemical fertilizer (but we NEVER use synthetic sprays) They are thinking of a 3 year phase in period with an immediate ban on plastic mulches.  That is going to hurt us.  We do use plastic mulches for our tomatoes - the garden has a tremendous weed problem because people will buy a plot, plant it and then never be seen again - their plot grows up in weeds and the seeds spread easily.  But what has happened is that many people, apparently, are not cleaning up the mulches at the end of the season.

This year, the floods of September impacted a lot of people where they would not have had the time or mental energy to cope with closing out their gardens but apparently this has been happening in previous years, too.

The problem I see with the "all organic" is:  what exactly is organic?  Even some certifying organizations don't completely agree on what makes organic organic.  Well, the gardening committee is aware of that.  They are going to have some ground rules drawn up.  It will be interesting to see what the rules are.  And, they are going, at least, this year, to continue to allow synthetic row covers which we do use - extensively.

And last...and this may be a little controversal with some members - because of the increased visibility of the garden sites they are going to enforce weeding more strictly.  Not requiring every last one be pulled, but you have to keep them cut down.

That one is going to be interesting.

But what this all means is that our community garden is reaching maturity.  And because we are all members, we have the right to give feedback and work out the disagreements. 

This will be an interesting gardening year indeed.

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