Garden Update, Winter 2009

The building of the garden soil has continued, in an attempt to turn our sandy forest floor into rich, lovable humus. Many of our beds have been left fallow or planted with cover crops in the past garden runs, and currently, the beds in the back corner of the garden are being left to recover. Our compost is booming, with help from donated food waste from Brunswick produce sellers. Our neighbor Al continues to bless us with load upon load of horse manure, providing the bulk of our nutritional amendment. And our little hostel worm box strives on, providing us with happy worm gardeners, worms castings, and worm tea.

Sweet potatoes (our bumper crop) continue to emerge unexpectedly from the ground. The fruit trees are producing in impressive amounts, the sour orange and tangelo continue to be abundant with fruit, and our figs are starting to produce more and more yumminess! Gourds are trailing the fence line and playing with the elderberries that live there (they had to be reminded to play NICELY).

The garden is jam-packed with baby plants…many brasicas, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and beautiful romanesco broccoli. The hope is that these frost-tolerant beauties will survive the coming cold and keep us fed through the winter! Onions and garlic inhabit the outskirts of the garden, and drip line irrigation has been set up to ease the burden of our gardeners. Radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, and lettuce green are rounding out the garden, along with the love-it-or-hate-it mustard greens.

The last of the basil was harvested right before a bit of a cold snap, and its safe to say that anything not frost resistant and lacking a nice blanket won’t make it much longer. We’re in a bit of a maitenance stage, most of the beds are full or spoken for, leaving us to water, thin, mulch, and do all of the other tasks.

Bamboo planted long ago continues to plague each generation of hostel gardeners. A focused effort has been made, with a pull up of all bamboo around our lake shower, as well as a massive cutback of the bamboo near the main garden. Several cutbacks will be needed as it grows back every time until it eventually dies to actually remove this exotic invasive, so the fate of the garden rests in the hands of futures gardeners and their continued battles in the Bamboo Wars.

The lake orchard is somewhat of a mystery..some trees look great, others look mostly dead…and many we can’t tell. They have been haphazardly watered, mainly because we don’t all know which trees are baby fruit trees and which are non-fruiting natives. If anyone out there is knowledgeable about fruit trees, we would love your assistance in creating some hearty signs for us! The lake garden continues to produce yummy herbs for us all!

The garden crew has been a very transient bunch…many of the staff have played out there, there has been a few rounds of WWOOFer work exchangers, as well as magical hardworking guests doing their part. Thanks everyone!