This week at the garden: Garlic and Potatoes

It has been a busy and productive week at the garden! The week started with harvesting the remaining half of our garlic planting. Garlic is dug with shovels and moved indoors to dry for several weeks. We had a great yield – filling 3 large tables with overflow being hung above.

Last week’s rain made for good tilling this week. Many beds in our front two plots were tilled in preparation for upcoming crops.

The week ended with planting two beds of fall potatoes! When our seed potato order arrived in March during Covid disruptions, we opted to bump the potato planting to June.

We stored the potatoes in a walk in cooler at 50 degrees. Two weeks ago, the potatoes were removed from refrigeration and placed on trays in a light filled room to encourage sprouting.

Today the potatoes went into the ground! The variety we are growing, Cheftain, is typically 60-75 days to harvest. This will put the fun activity of harvesting potatoes in early September when students are back for UVA’s fall semester.

Potatoes are a cooler weather crop but can be planted in June heat. After planting, the beds were hooped and covered with shade cloth (black netting in photo above) to help keep the ground cooler. We will remove the shade cloth in a week or two and hill or mound more soil over the potatoes and then mulch with hay.

Happy summer! Stephanie Meyers, MKG Farm Manager

This week at the garden: Tomatoes

Two beds of tomatoes went into the garden this week. The countdown to harvest has begun!

“Days to maturity” are usually listed on seed packets and in seed catalogs. When you start the count – from seed or from transplant – varies by crop. For tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, you begin counting “days to maturity” from the date you transplant – when you put the plant in the garden. The four tomato varieties we planted this week will mature in 66-78 days. This means we should start seeing our first ripe tomato around August 18.

In the photo below, the two tomato beds are on the right side. We plant tomatoes into black plastic mulch to help with weeds. In the next two weeks, we will add wooden stakes to the tomato beds and began trellising. The two hooped beds on the left are peppers we planted last week.

Yarrow, a perennial flower started blooming last week (see pictures below). This is part of our “farmscaping bed” – a bed we have planted to attract, feed, and support beneficial insects.

More flowers were added to this bed today: calendula, nasturtiums, and zinnia’s as well as culinary cilantro and basil that we are growing here for their flowers. Insects we hope to see visiting the flowers this summer include: honey bees, hover flys, lacewings, lady bugs, and parasitic wasps,

Happy gardening! Stephanie Meyers, MKG Farm Manager

This week at the garden: Peppers

The big garden task of the week was planting peppers  At MKG, this starts with bed prep.  Compost was spread on the beds, irrigation tape was placed, and black plastic mulch was laid.  The mulch adds more heat and controls weeds.

The garden now has  two ninety foot beds of bell and sweet peppers planted!  If all goes well we will begin harvesting in August.  We hooped and covered the beds with insect netting.  While the nettings main purpose is insect control, the hope was it would also provide some shade and relief from this week’s heat.

Lettuce heads planted in early May are off to a good start. You can learn more about how to grow lettuce in our latest gardening video.

Happy Growing!  Stephanie Meyers, MKG Farm Manager