Bowdoin Organic Garden

Beginning of August

Story posted August 04, 2010

July has come and gone and now we are well into August it seems.  The days are still hot and humid, and the sprinkler at South Street has been running overtime these days.  These are the days that make all the long exhausting days of May and April worth the wait, with peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, beans, onions, garlic, and eggplant all ripening.  The summer zinnias and other flowers are in full bloom and everything is alive and green.

Even our cover crop is doing great.  I seeded the entire front field with a mixture of peas, vetch and oats at the beginning of June and now two months later its about four feet tall and overtaking our scarecrow.  We have a rotation in place so that one section of field is resting for one year, meaning we don't harvest anything from that field.  Instead we plant something that will help build the soil and hold the space until we use it again.  This year the peas help add nutrients to the soil (namely nitrogen), the oats add organic matter, and the vetch help suppress weeds that might grow and when this is all turned into the soil next spring all these nutrients and organic matter help to grow the next crop of tomatoes, eggplant or lettuce.

Even though it seems like the end of the summer is coming soon, we are still planting and seeding new crops at the gardens.  Our second round of fall brassicas have been transplanted as well as fall lettuce heads.  I even direct seeded another bed of lettuce mix today to help round out our harvests in the weeks to come.  Our Earthway seeder has been indispensable this year.  It makes seeding a bed of lettuce a pleasure.  Its does four tasks in one.  With one pass the seeder creates a furrow for the seed, drops the correct amount of seed, covers the seed back up, and marks the next row.  I like using the seeder because it lays out nice parallel rows that make weeding much easier.  By spacing the rows to the width of a scuffle hoe we can weed a bed in seconds as opposed to had weeding that might take 20 minutes.  I even use the seeder to layout rows for transplants.  It is amazing what the right tool can do for you.

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