Garden preparation at First Presbyterian started last fall with soil building through “lasagna” layering and the sowing of cover crops like vetch, crimson clover, and rye, according to head gardener Audrey Morris. Beds were enhanced in the spring with more mulch and compost. Audrey notes that the vetch has added the beauty of its purple flowers to pepper and tomato beds, blooming early to attract pollinators.
Although the pea crop has been disappointing so far, Audrey reports good success with romaine lettuce, sown from seed. Early seeded spinach also did well until the recent heat wave. The garden was gifted with lots of kale seedlings (dinosaur and curly) and some collard seedlings from Ballston Farmers Market vendor Gail of Rainbow Hill Farm.
As of mid-July, Swiss chard is growing happily in a border around the kale crop, and pole beans are climbing their trellis. Zinnias and marigolds are adding color and luring pollinators. Sorrel seedlings from the children’s garden at the National Arboretum have thrived. Following the lead of Joan Horwitt, who runs the Lawns2Lettuce2Lunch program at Reevesland Learning Center, Audrey packages the sorrel as “lemon lettuce” for AFAC clients.
As summer continues, First Presbyterian gardeners look forward to harvesting from their thriving Juliet tomato plants and their fish and New Mexico pepper plants. Next up will be delicata squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Audrey has her fingers crossed for continued good gardening weather to support the August harvest.