This year we have several big projects based on our experiences last year. While 2015 was an amazing year for growing, we had some huge barriers. These included:
- Canadian Thistle Invading the South-West side of the garden.
- 2016 Solution: We decided to pull up the border raised beds and till up as much of the Thistle rhizome as possible. We planted 7 Paw-Paw Trees along this border, which are supposed to be good native fruit trees, resistant to disease. We also planted a line of perennials between the trees to help out-compete weeds, and sprinkled a ground-cover mixture on the soil including hairy vetch, clover, and grain in order to add nitrogen and build the soil.
- Horsetail invading the Northeast side of the garden.
- 2016 Solution: We decided to minimize the aisle sizes by key-holing all the plots. This will also give people more planting space for their money, reducing the need for people to take double plots. This involves tilling up large portions of the aisles that contain the Horsetail rhizomes. We also hope to spread sulfur on the aisles as an organic method to keep the horsetail at bay.
- A large number of unoccupied plots filled with weeds.
- 2016 Solution: Increasing participation in the garden is the only way to keep up on weeds, so we decided to do a year of consolidation and reassessment. While it was a good idea to expand initially, we experienced some gardener turnover last year, and the empty plots became a task to keep up. We also decided to keep plots covered with plastic until they are rented to help keep out weeds.
- Uncoordinated Compost System – It was not getting regularly maintained or properly mixed.
- 2016 Solution: We need to eventually expand the compost area, but our initial plan is to place local weed collection bins in the spaces between each keyhole plot (Marked in yellow on the map). These can help gardeners control their weeds, and we can regularly empty those to cycle into the compost on more of a regimented schedule. We also hope to eventually have a worm compost area.
- Excessive mosquitoes
- 2016 Solution: Behind the compost area, we will be raising a bat house which should hold up to 2,000 bats when fully occupied. One bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour. This will also help with bat conservation in the area.
These are the main priorities for the year, and we be collectively working on them during our community work days. If you have any questions, thoughts or experiences to share, feel free to contact the Garden Coordinator, Peter Fowler at 517-512-2068 or at email@example.com.