Update of Sullivan Garden

I haven’t updated the status of Sullivan Prek’s garden in some time so I thought this week I’d highlight the successes and challenges.

The garden is slowly but surely coming together since its genesis in September 2014. It’s been a lot of work for me but I have a trusty volunteer – Dee – who comes by around twice a month to help carry the load (she is my hero!). Last year my trouble was the plants growing very unhappily; turning up the irrigation helped but mushrooms loved growing in the moist beds instead, which forced me to lower the time. Adding micro spray heads to the irrigation line improved the happiness of the veggies, flowers and herbs significantly but then this brought upon us a weed catastrophe! So from summer until around October of 2015, Dee and I fought against endless nutsedge and crabgrass; consistent weeding and adjusting the time of the irrigation system once more improved this situation.

Still, my problem was harvest yield. To give you some perspective, this garden has fourteen 7 ft by 3 ft beds. You’d think with all this space I’d be harvesting by the tons! But not so. Thus, this year I endeavor to improve my techniques for planting crops and fertilizing accordingly!!

Step number one: Amending the Soil
This garden has yet to be amended since the beginning, so I took it upon myself to begin this month, fertilizing one bed at a time. Today, I mixed in Gro-Power and a new bag if potting mix to a half-bed and planted new lettuce plugs. I except happy returns as these plants finally flourish in healthy soil!!

Step number two: Planting Smart
I’ve begun to plant baby starts in a zigzag so as to increase use of space. I’m also keeping same varieties together (a salad bed, a strawberry bed, an herb bed, a tomato bed, etc) versus planting different crops in the same area. This method makes harvesting easier/quicker/more efficient because I don’t have to walk the entire garden to harvest the one thing that is ready to pick. It also increases yield because the same kinds of plants can be arranged closer together. I’ve had success at Foster and expect the same here at Sullivan.

a happy sunflower :)

a happy sunflower 🙂

This is what I mean by zig-zaggy - these lettuces are on BOTH sides of the irrigation hose...

This is what I mean by zig-zaggy – these lettuces are on BOTH sides of the irrigation hose…

I’ll be keepin’ y’all updated on the progress 🙂

– Ranger Hope

Hope Cox

Hope is an urban farmer, garden educator and foodie transplanted from Tennessee to SoCal in 2014. She hopes to move out of the big city one day to pursue the life of a sustainable farmer; but in the meantime loves to teach elementary kids about how food is grown, nutritious and tasty recipes and connecting with nature.