Saint Phocas Garden at Saint Titus is a shared project with Saint Luke’s, and part of the Good News Gardens Movement of the Episcopal Church. If you would like to receive their newsletters and/or start a Good News Garden of your own at home or with others, please visit the Good News Gardens website (linked above) for more information.
This month we harvested a fair number of peppers and tomatoes from the new bed.
However productivity in the older beds has suffered. We believe there are a few different reasons for that:
- We had problems with our soaker hoses springing leaks.
- Tree roots have made their way into the beds and formed a thick mat underneath the whole surface of each bed.
- It was a long summer with more hot days than ever before.
- There is almost no evidence of birds or pollinators in Delaney Park.
After pondering a bit, we’ve come up with the following ideas to help address our fertility issues:
- Install bird feeders and a bird bath to encourage more birds. Birds bring phosphorous, nitrogen and weed seeds that provide more green cover in the garden and more material for mulching.
- Install some pollinator plants to encourage more pollinators and other beneficial insects to find our garden.
- Continue improving our composting habits.
- Dig narrow trenches around all of the beds to help catch water runoff and provide a little bit of a barrier against more tree roots.
- Break up the soil in the beds between plantings. Normally it is better to disturb soil as little as possible to encourage microbial life to flourish, but in our case we think it’s more important to discourage the tree roots from getting too comfortable.
- Continue planting cover crops.
- Improve our irrigation system so that there is better coverage over the entire bed.
In addition to working on our plan to improve fertility in garden beds over the next few years, we also put together a budget proposal to present to Saint Luke’s as they continue to provide support.
The Saint Phocas gardeners meet every Friday at 9 AM through 10/7. On 10/14 we will begin meeting at 4:00 PM again to take advantage of warmer afternoons. We welcome anyone who would like to participate. No prior experience or knowledge required. Please come and join us!