It’s been a while since we’ve done a garden update, and there have been so many exciting things happening in our organic garden! We are continuing to overcome the challenges faced after the tidal flooding of June 2009. The floods affected the soil in the raised beds, increasing salinity and causing a host of issues. The saltiness of the soil was affecting the germination success of seeds, so calcium was added to help neutralize the soil. We are also applying compost teas regularly to replace the beneficial bacteria that were lost. Additionally, the load of nematodes present increased dramatically; to counteract the nematodes we have applied Neem, a natural remedy made from a South American plant. Moreover, we have planted Marigolds. The Marigolds serve a number of functions. They release a chemical from the roots to suppress nematodes. They also suppress pest insects and attract beneficial insects. We will also be able to use the flowers in our cut arrangements.
As for the garden crops, we are on the cusp of transitioning from the winter garden to the summer crops. There are potatoes in the ground, green and purple bush beans, and even one heirloom variety, the Georgia McCaslan pole bean. There are also beets, carrots, and winter greens including collards, kale, chard, turnips, and arugula. The warmer temperatures will allow an early transition to summer crops of tomatoes, okra, and peppers. Other plants in the organic garden include herbs, and cutting flowers like nasturtiums, calendula, pansies, sunflowers, zinnias, asters, and even loofah.
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the organic garden is that we have completed installation of an underground irrigation system, rather than relying on the hose and sprinkler system of the past. This will allow us better control of our watering schedule and the ability to set a timer to water at regular intervals. The system is even equipped with rain sensors, so we don’t have to worry about using water when we don’t need to! This was a wonderful addition to our garden space. Another upcoming change will be to relocate our three types of composting systems into the main garden area. When visiting the garden, you can see a shade cloth where the bins will be placed which will help protect them from the most intense heat of the day.
Please be sure to visit the organic garden on your visit to Little St. Simons Island!