Wednesday, 13 May 2015

DID IT JUST SPRING UP REXDALE?

THISTLETOWN IS GROWING UP AND GROWING OUT 

Sprouting garden plants are a reassuring symbol of the closing of winter and the inevitable arrival of spring! Warmer temperatures and longer periods of sunlight characteristic of April have been followed by signs of life at the Thistletown Collegiate Institute Schoolyard Garden.  

Perennial crops like rhubarb, chives, garden sorrel, are early spring risers, as are crops set out in the late fall like garlic.  These are some of the first crops GROWING UP and initiating the garden's transformation from it's cool winter appearance to a lush green vegetable patch.  Annual vegetable crops including peas and onions and spinach are quite hardy, and can be seeded in early spring, several weeks before the average frost free day.  Direct seeding cold weather crops in April helps ensure early spring harvests.  Spring is also an important season for setting out bare root and potted trees to ensure they are in place and readied for setting strong roots as the cool weather and short days give way to the increasingly summery weather.  The Schoolyard Garden at Thistletown is GROWING OUT, expanding beyond the existing garden boundaries outward to encompass the entire lawn space up to Fordwich Crescent, with an initial planting of various fruit trees, to be followed by the establishment of additional raised beds for cultivation of vegetable crops.  

RHUBARB STALKS EXPOSED FROM BELOW A WINTER LEAF MULCH SHOW VARIOUS STAGES IN THE CONVERSION OF LEAVES FROM SUNLIGHT DEPRIVED ORANGEY-YELLOW COLOURS INTO PHOTOSYNTHETICALLY ACTIVE GREEN  

CHIVES GROWING STEADILY IN EARLY SPRING DESPITE WIDE FLUCTUATIONS BETWEEN TEMPERATURE HIGHS AND LOWS, AND CONSISTENTLY COOL, WET SRING WEATHER

GARLIC PLANTED IN OCTOBER 2014 BY GRADE 3 ELMLEA JUNIOR SCHOOL STUDENTS LOOKS HEALTHY IN EARLY SPRING UNDER A LOOSE MAT OF STRAW MULCH APPLIED IN A LAYER 6-12" DEEP 

GARLIC SPROUTING EARLY SPRING IN COMPANION PLANTING SCHEME WITH NEIGHBOURING STRAWBERRY PATCH, DESIGNED TO DISSUADE INSECT PEST DAMAGE TO FRUIT CROP
FRUIT TREES (APPLE, PEAR, CHERRY, PLUM)
READY FOR PLANTING IN
 CELEBRATION OF
THISTLETOWN COLLEGIATE'S EARTH DAY, APRIL 22ND, 2015

 
EARLY SPRING PEA IN BEDS WITH TRELLISES, INTERCROPPED WITH SPINACH AND RADISHES MAXIMIZE GROWING SPACE POTENTIAL BY SELECTING PLANTS CHARACTERIZED BY DIVERSE GROWTH HABITS (CLIMBING PEAS, ROOT CROPS, AND LOW GROWING LEAF CROPS), SUPPORT SOIL AMENDMENT (NITROGREN FIXING LEGUMINOUS PEA CROPS), AND INCORPORATE PEST MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES (RADISH LEAF PROVIDES TRAP CROP FOR PESTS INCLUDING LEAF MINERS THAT ATTACK LEAFY SPINACH CROPS
NEW SIGNAGE IMPROVES COMMUNICATION WITH VOLUNTEERS AND ADMIRERS OF THE GARDEN'S CROPPING SCHEME

THE RAISED GARDEN BEDS SEEN HERE HELP SOIL WARM QUICKER IN SPRING, FACILITATING EARLIER PLANTING AND INCREASED GERMINATION RATES FOR DIRECT SEEDING.  DRIP IRRIGATION TAPES IMPROVE PLANT GROWTH BY FACILITATING CONSISTENT WATERING SCHEDULES WHILE ALSO MAXIMIZING WATER EFFICIENCY BY REDUCING EVAPORATION AND ENSURING WATER APPLIED PRECISELY TO PLANT ROOT SYSTEMS
THE INITIAL PHASE OF THE TCI GARDEN EXPANSION: FRUIT TREES AND SHRUBS ARE PLACED AND PREPARED FOR PLANTING IN THE LAWN ADJACENT TO THE EXISTING GARDEN SPACE
APPLE TREES PLANTED BY MR. H'S CULINARY ARTS STUDENTS AND PARTICIPANTS IN THE BRAEBURN NEIGHBORHOOD PLACE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM 

STAKES ON NORTH WEST SIDE OF FRUIT TREES PROTECT FROM DANGER OF DAMAGING GUSTING WINDS; WHITE PLASTIC TREE COLLARS PROTECT FROM POTENTIALLY FATAL DAMAGE CAUSED BY RABBITS BROWSING ON YOUNG TENDER TREE BARK; WOOD CHIP MULCH SUPPORTS WATER EFFICIENCY BY REDUCING EVAPORATION RATES, PROMOTES NUTRIENT RICH AND BIOLOGICALLY DIVERSE AND ACTIVE SOILS AND SOIL ECOSYSTEMS THROUGH NATURAL COMPOSTING PROCESSES, AND MINIMIZES GROWTH OF AGGRESSIVE AND COMPETITIVE WEED PLANT GROWTH   

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