Let's Get Dirty

A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.

Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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Garden news from the town of Palisade

By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 31, 2012

This press release came from Sarah Brooks with the town of Palisade. Since it's garden-related, I figured it needed to be on Let's Get Dirty.

Building a Healthy Community

In April, the Town of Palisade was awarded $500 from the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association for the provision of a new community garden. With matching funds from the Palisade Sunrise Rotary, Palisade Co-Op, local resident Bud Lofvenborg, and generous contributions from the Rock Shop, the Town of Palisade is officially welcoming citizens to the community garden on West Fourth Street.




The garden site is still very basic, but through a community effort the garden will blossom and grow into something that will bring great pride to the citizens of Palisade. On May 30th, Palisade Town staff worked diligently to place and fill garden boxes with soil, and there are now ten completed raised beds in varying sizes that are available for lease. More boxes will be available as the demand increases. Once the garden beds are purchased and citizens begin to plant and provide tender loving care to their plot, the Palisade Community Garden will come to look like a desert in bloom.




Garden plots are available for lease, on a first come first serve basis. All beds have been filled with mixed soil, and a water tap is on site for all garden users. Citizens interested in leasing a plot for the season should contact the Town of Palisade.




The garden rates are as follows:
 Plot Size       Regular Fee           Low Income Fee
4X8                $45                           $25
3X5                $35                           $15
2X3                $25                           $10


The dangerous season

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yes, we gardeners live dangerously. I thought everyone knew that. We create jungles in our garden spaces in August because we're incredibly impatient at the end of May. Plus, there's the aura of mystery inherent in every springtime garden when seeds are used.
Will it come up? Did it die? Did a critter chomp either the seeds or the seedlings?
I planted six sweet potato plants - only two look like they'll survive. Still not thriving, as you can see by the picture, but looking somewhat Gloria Gaynor-ish.






Here's the one that's got me living on the edge of danger. It looks dead, right? I gave it a huge space because my mom said sweet potatoes need it. So now that I've got the huge empty space with nothing growing in it but a maybe-dead sweet potato, I'll be tempted to plant even more seeds because an empty space in a garden is worse than a cookie jar with no cookies. It must be filled!
I will sow a jungle. My sweet potato plant will miraculously not die, but will compete with the squash, beans or tomatillos I plant in its place. Everything will grow and I'll need a machete to find whatever produce my jungle produces.

If that's not living dangerously, I don't know what is. 


Name that Squash!

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I should be putting the finishing touches on the 20+ stories I'm trying to write (that were due yesterday) for the Summer Music Festival. I am, however, going stir crazy and need a break. So due to popular demand, I'm going to host a quick episode of Name that Squash!, the always fun, interactive game in which I post a picture of a squash growing in my garden and you, dear blog reader, try to guess the variety.
Ready? Here goes...



Hint: I'm giving this one a lot of room. My mom gave me one last year that filled my entire oven when I cut it in two and baked it. 

If you guessed hubbard, give yourself five points. 










I bought a package that had five different kinds of pattypan squash seeds in it, so it's a scalloped squash of some kind. The seeds weren't marked or color-coded, so even if I was the kind of gardener who took notes or carefully marked everything (I'm not), I wouldn't know whether this is a moonbeam, a sunbeam, a total eclipse, a partial eclipse or a lunar eclipse. It could also be a hybrid scalloped called a G-Star. No, that wasn't G-string. It's a squash, not an adult toy. 


Ditto for these. Where do they get the names? Of course, these do look like little spaceships when they're grown, so maybe that's why they chose the extra-terrestrial names. 









OK, here's one I actually know, and you should, too, since I blogged about planting spaghetti squash in my straw bales. 




Last but not least, here are two mystery squashes that came up on their own. I don't know whether they're coming up because I spread my home compost on the ground or because I planted something in these spaces last year and they've been thinking about growing for a year. 

If you actually think you know what these mystery squash are, let me know. Your prize will be an actual squash from not one, but both plants!


OK, so no one really demanded it, but I'm sure you would have if you would have known how much fun it was or the fame and glory that could be yours if you guessed  them all correctly.  

Perhaps  the real question should be, why does anyone need to plant so many squash? 

Now I gotta get back to work...


More straw bale pics

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's amazing what you can find after you've had a decent night's sleep. Here is the picture of the battery-operated pump put together by one intrepid straw bale gardener.  The hose is connected right to it and they've attached a small sprinkler which can hit about half of their plants in one watering. It takes about 10 - 20 minutes to thoroughly soak everything. Pretty good solution to no electricity and low water pressure. 


I also included a photo of my straw bales at home. These are about 10 days ahead of the ones in the community plot. It took about a week for the seeds to sprout in this bale. I've got spaghetti squash in back and some sort of melon in front. I haven't been watering my bales at home daily now that I'm no longer conditioning or waiting on seeds to sprout. The bales seem to stay moist for a couple of days, which is what is supposed to happen. So far, this experiment gets a thumbs up. 


Preschoolers plant

By Penny Stine
Monday, May 21, 2012

As part of the community straw bale garden at Northeast Christian Church, I wanted to help the preschoolers at Kids of the Kingdom plant a few pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and melons in straw bales close to their perimeter fence.

They conditioned the bales by watering them faithfully twice a day for the last two weeks, so I went over on my lunch hour and helped them plant. I could tell the bales were ready because they were damp, they had started to turn brownish black  once we dug into them, and they'd started to sprout.





I had leftover tomatoes and pepper plants that I'd grown from seed to share with them, and we also planted pumpkins on the western edge of the bales and cucumber and Kazakh melons on the eastern side so they could climb up the fence.




Although almost the entire class wanted to come and help plant, most of them got bored and wanted to go back and play. These four are the Future Farmers of America - preschool edition. They stayed with me until every last seed was put in a hold and covered with dirt.













Here are a couple of the other straw bale plots at the garden. Most of us planted a combination of plants and seeds. Although most of us are using a drip system (we took skewers and poked holes in hoses - very fancy), one couple rigged together a cool battery-operated pump that they use to run a sprinkler over their bales. I took a photo of it, but now I can't find it. 


We're all feeling optimistic that this will work and we'll have lovely melons, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. 


Forget about growing another row, I'm growing a whole 'nother garden to share!

Page 78 of 137


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