It’s been an exciting week for the students in VCGN’s teaching gardens! The biggest news is that the Beginner Gardeners course has started! On Monday night, twenty new and seasoned gardeners gathered together at the VCGN office in Burlington’s North End to share some of their goals for the season and start to get to know one another. These students will be working side by side for the next several months in the community gardens at the Ethan Allen Homestead growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Along the way, they will learn about herbalism, food preservation, and supportive principals of organic gardening. There will be a number of guest teachers, potlucks, and other fun events. By the end of the first class, students were feeling excited, happy, and inspired!
Although early in the season, things are moving along quickly at the Community Teaching Garden at the Tommy Thompson community gardens. The students in the Advanced Course have been hard at work transplanting their cold-hardy seedlings, planting some new perennials, and making plans for several shared garden beds. This week we reviewed some of the characteristics of potatoes and planted two varieties of potatoes: Russian Banana Fingerlings and Red Chieftains.
We have also encountered some of our first challenges of the season: unexpected cold weather and the arrival of flea beetles. We are using floating row cover as protection from both. This article from Planet Natural suggests some additional strategies for managing flea beetles in organic gardens. As always, these challenges are opportunities for learning, and we hope to be able to ward off these pests and keep our seedlings happy and healthy!