Thursday, July 17, 2014

News from the Edible Landscape Demonstration Garden

 Lois Fischer

The first tomato is ripe in the Master Gardeners' vegetable garden in Fairmount Park --- summer has truly arrived! Since early April, our crew of hard working volunteer gardeners has been busy turning the soil, adding compost and planting seeds and vegetable starts. Our energy and dedication has paid off. The garden looks splendid!

The cool weather crops -- lettuces, pak choi, collard greens and kale -- that were planted in the spring have almost had their run. Red onions, Swiss chard 'Bright Lights' and the fall planted garlic bordered the spring beds. While we are still harvesting these crops, they will soon be replaced by summer plantings of carrots 'Little Fingers', beans and perhaps more chard 'Fordhook Giant'.

While a bit delayed due to the long, cool spring, the summer crops of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and beans  are now growing rapidly. Cucumbers have been trellised to save space and beets and bush beans have been tucked in where space has allowed.

The two herb beds are lush with growth. The lavenders survived the harsh winter and are blooming beautifully. Sadly, the frigid winter was not as kind to the large rosemary. Its brown carcess joined other debris in the compost pile. The fig also suffered from the winter cold. All of the above ground branching died back. But, the root system survived and is pushing out new growth and tiny figs are appearing. Our challenge will be to carefully prune it over the next few seasons to produce a shapely tree rather than a bushy fig shrub.

The apple tree in the seating area has been rmoved. Poorly sited when planted, the tree had become toatally shaded by large trees lining the driveway abutting the garden. The Philadelphia Orchard Project folks reccomended that it be taken down. The Fairmount Park staff kindly took care of both the fig and the apple for us.

We have entered the Pennsylvania Horticultrual Society's garden contest again this year and are hoping to add to our ribbon collection. Judging will be sometime within the next six weeks. We encourage you all to stop by the garden sometime this summer. Sign in at the kiosk and spend a bit of time enjoying the views!

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