Garden Maintenance

Late March always signals a big shift in the work happening around here at SUFCo.  After months of lying on the couch eating cheez-its, we have to actually go outside and work!  What a jip.  That’s not entirely true…we actually spend the winter drawing garden designs and building the framework of new gardens: wood-framed raised beds, retaining walls and fences…and eating organic cheez-its.

After months of working in these new gardens spaces, most of which are devoid of plant matter, it is finally time to get out and start planting.  We do grow some crops year-round and have been starting seeds indoors for months, but now the gardens become a little more active.  It is time to start planting new perennials like fruit tress and berries and the early season annual crops like peas, potatoes, onions and salad greens.  Each spring, we get to head back out to many of the gardens that we have built over the years and help people get things going.  One of the best things about this job is that we get to work in dozens of different gardens, all over town.  Each garden has its own microclimate, its own soil structure, sun exposure, pest issues, and endless other variables.  It is an amazing opportunity to learn, watching how the same crops behave differently in so many different sites.  Of course, there are also challenges since it is our responsibility to keep all of the crops healthy and anticipate what problems may arise in each garden and take whatever preventative measures we can to ensure a productive harvest. Oftentimes other gardeners and landscapers question the logic behind our edible garden maintenance service…and its true that it might not be the easiest way to make a buck, but I know for sure that it has taught us all an incredible amount.  Managing dozens of different garden sites is about as intensive of a garden education that you could ask for.  You plant different crop combinations in each garden, the crops are planted on a different day in each location and each garden has its own unique attributes.  Since we keep good, dated records of the gardens, each season provides us with an unbelievable amount “data” and helps us make huge improvements each year (provided we get a little help from the sun…).

I’m not sure what my point is, except that I am glad that maintenance season is starting…