Winter has finally arrived and with it some much-needed snow cover. They are forecasting more on the way so that should give us the plant protection we need.
I have been spending a lot of time this week on the computer planning the seed starting schedule. Because we follow the four-year crop rotation plan, this is going to be a big tomato/pepper crop year. Growing to Give has expanded in some way every year since 2016. This makes it a bit more complicated in planning. Those of you who were with us in 2018, will remember the year of the zucchini! Beds of zucchini taller than our volunteers. Instead of Where’s Waldo?, it was Where’s Lisa? and we have photos to prove it! 4,478 pounds of zucchini were donated that year. I am hoping the year of the tomato will not be quite as difficult to navigate. We plant intensively in raised beds so our plants don’t need as much spacing. Using the basket weave method between stakes for support, these plants only need to be 9″ apart. With those calculations we will be planting, pruning, and picking 1,336 tomato plants. This “should” triple our production. We love giving away, fresh from the vine, the taste of summer, in a variety of colorful, organic tomatoes. Lucky for us, we have a team of volunteers, who have the knowledge and skills to handle the upcoming tasks.
Our volunteers are generous in so many ways. Just thinking about how much we learn and share with each other makes this upcoming season not only achievable but fun and exciting. This weeks’ mail brought us a new book, Plant Partners, for our Garden Shed Library. Thank you, Kathie. A companion planting book that promises to be more science-based. Good bug Bad bug was also gifted to us to be a resource. Thank you, Cathy. From the sweet note I received from a volunteer this week, and the new volunteer signups Cathy is seeing on our volunteer link at Growing to Give, I sense an eagerness to reconnect with our community. Hang in there, it won’t be long until we will be cold and muddy together again!