Garden Journal: Week of 8/8

Oh, how our garden has grown!

Erica here with the weekly garden update!  It has been an exciting one so far. If you haven’t checked out Hannah’s great write-up of our field trip to the Buckingham Slate Quarry last Tuesday, be sure to check it out – it was quite the highlight of the week!

We also had a lovely time at the Morven Kitchen Garden last Wednesday. A group of garden interns, volunteers, and professors involved in the Hereford gardens converged at Morven to meet the Morven Kitchen Garden’s founder, Michelle Rehme, a recent UVa grad.  We traded garden stories, took a tour of the well-kept and productive grounds, admired the chickens, and shared the amazing bounty of our combined harvests! For more information about Michelle’s work and the Morven Kitchen Garden, check out their blog here!

Michelle allows us to peek behind the shed curtain.

Nancy shows the group how to harvest okra.

Thanks for the wonderful food and an amazing celestial display, Mother Nature!

The Hereford Mini-Farm and the TJ Demo Garden made fast friends with the Morven Kitchen Garden.

In other garden news, this has been a week of bed and plant maintenance. The passionflower are really taking off on their new trellises, ever climbing, and producing a lot of new growth…

…and our cotton is also doing beautifully! The plants are producing hundreds of bolls, yet still continue to flower. A few of the plants have even reached 5′ tall! Most are very stable, but a few that were getting a little too big for their extensive branching were staked and supported over the course of the week.

Most cotton flowers drop off following the initial growth of the boll. A flower that remains on the boll is known as a "bloom tag."

We harvested a small amount of salsify, cow peas, and flax seed, and took note of the first appearance of maypops (the fruit of the passionflower plant).

Hannah inspects the strange and edible salsify root, also known as "poor man's oyster."

Lily transformed these cow peas into a delicious tortino for the Morven pot luck.

Beware these stinging cling-ons when harvesting cow peas!

She-bop-a-loo-bop, we've got maypops!

Other plants are also continuing to put on a beautiful show for everyone who happens by the garden.

The vibrant button-like flowers of Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Our milkweed plants (Asclepias syriaca) are pretty in pink.

Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) gives us a cheerful greeting each morning.



Lily and I taking stock of the lima beans - and just look at those healthy peanut plants!!!

As for the more challenging news: we’re battling critters again. Squirrels have come out in full force and are ravaging our corn!  They are climbing the stalks to get at the ripening corn and, when the stalks can’t support their weight, toppling both the stalk that they are on and often those surrounding them.

Whole mounds have been decimated as stalks are snapped and toppled.

The unsalvageable corn carnage

Measures have been taken to curb this senseless toppling. On Thursday, Joseph and I set up a containment and support system and were able to support many of the slightly damaged stalks. Hopefully this will prevent more toppling.

A set of bamboo stakes and heavy-duty ribbon around the perimeter should help to keep the corn upright!

A set of stakes was also driven into the interior of the bed in order to provide more tie-off points.

Joseph and I also harvested the ripe corn in order to discourage the intrepid and destructive climbers. This particular variety, Virginia White Gourdseed, was historically used to make cornmeal and not generally consumed directly off of the plant.  To our surprise, when we tasted it, we found it to be quite delicious! Now I really hope that we are able to keep the squirrels at bay!

Virginia White Gourdseed. Note the distinct separation of the kernel rows - very different from the sweet corn that we're accustomed to.

On that note – here’s to another successful growing and harvesting week, and as always, contact us with any questions that you may have or come on down to find us in the garden!

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2 Responses to Garden Journal: Week of 8/8

  1. Pingback: Garden Journal: Week of 8/15 | Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden

  2. Pingback: Garden Journal: Week of 10/10 | Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden

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