The Barn Maintenance Team has had a busy year!
We want to thank all the volunteers who have helped with all aspects of maintaining the Barn Gardens this year. Without your help, we could never have accomplished all that we did!
We moved the vegetable garden to the space previously used for the raised beds and installed the remaining sides of the fence to keep critters out of the space. Because of the fencing, we had much less animal damage this year!
In the vegetable garden, we built two arch-shaped trellises for cucumbers and one vertical trellis for pole beans to use the space more efficiently. Besides beans and cucumbers, we also planted a variety of peppers, cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, and collard greens in the space.
All the vegetables grown in the barn gardens were donated to the Keystone Rice Street Community Food Shelf. The vegetables were chosen based on their popularity with the food shelf clients. To date, RCMG has donated a total of 1,521 pounds of produce to the organization in 2023 and, since the gardens are still producing, our year-end total will go beyond that number. The food shelf clients are very pleased to receive the fresh vegetables and the manager often comments on the high quality of the vegetables we give them.
Raised Bed Gardens & Containers
In late spring, we had to take apart all the raised beds we had assembled in the fall of 2022 because the County needed to put in a new water main in that specific area. After the water main was installed, we re-assembled the raised beds. This project was finished in late June and, since it was too late to use the raised beds for the 2023 seed trials, we did not participate in the trials this year.
However, we did plant some late season plants such as kale, beets, onions, radishes, spinach and collard greens in the beds and they are continuing to produce in large numbers. Next year, all the raised beds will be used for the seed trials. The Barn Garden Committee continues to be responsible for planting and maintaining all the annual containers which are spaced around the Barn.
NEW Monarch Way Station
This year, we began the installation of a Monarch Way Station at the Barn. The Way Station will provide critical habitat for Monarch butterflies, other butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. A new garden plot, located next to the large vegetable garden, will be planted with a mix of milkweed species that mature and bloom at different times and an array of nectar plants that bloom throughout the growing season. Eventually, we hope to meet all the requirements to become certified as an official Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch.
In September, we plotted out the garden space and added mulch to this area. Next spring, we will begin adding plants to the garden.
Pictures from The Barn 2023
Barn Maintenance Team Lead
This project supports the Local Foods priority of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program: Promote the use of sustainable techniques to grow local food on multiple scales and in different types of locations