Finally, vegetables are starting to bear their fruits! It has been challenging giving the soil the right nutrient at the right time. Much like teaching, plants need care at certain times. Our rains two months ago put stress on Spring plants and as a result, has pushed back the Summer season’s harvest. We will have a rain barrel on-site in the next month to provide
Featured below are the corn, tomatoes, and peppers that are starting to produce. Also featured is our first pumpkin plant. Watermelons and cucumbers that were planted did not take off as expected, so they were snipped and their nutrients sent back into the ground to support other future plants.
Many gardeners pull their plants out of the ground when they are dying, yellowing, or show any sign of pest damage. This is not something practiced at the LIFE garden. According to Wayne Weisemen, Permaculture Design Educator and Director of Kinstone Academy it is so important to leave root structures in tact. “Snipping” them instead of pulling them allows soil structure to remain in tact. If two plants are competing for space, snipping actually gives the plant that is left a stronger root structure. It utilizes the precious work that the microbial organisms have worked so hard to complete. As seen below, the corn seems to be competing with these other plants, when in fact, the sorrel and wildflowers are sending nitrogen to the corn plant. If these plants were pulled, the corn would suffer.
Many Northern Virginia gardeners won’t let plants complete their natural cycles, this is not a good idea. Believe it or not, plants will actually exchange nutrients to create the most optimum balance. Just like our Mason LIFE students, they try to harmonize the nutrients available and create the best possible outcome for each other.