03-24-10 Spring Forward
In this issue:
- March in the Garden
- Old Wives Tales: Egg Balancing
- Gardenerd Tip of the Month: 3 Sisters
- Gardenerd Product of the Month: Woolly Pockets
1. March in the Garden
Welcome to spring 2010! This year, thousands of new gardeners will try their hand at growing some of their own food, and I want to personally welcome all of the new members to the Gardenerd Community (particularly those from Sony Pictures, Aerospace and Fox Studios) and wish you good luck with your gardening adventure.
As spring arrives in your neck of the woods, what will you plant this season? Will it be colorful tomatoes, bushels of beans or spicy peppers? The world is your oyster! In our test garden we have haricot vert beans sending out new leaves. We’ve recently transplanted tomatoes, potatoes and dill, and the ancho peppers and eggplants have sprouted in seed trays. Soon we’ll be transplanting corn (the first step in our plan for a 3-sisters garden – see below for details), and we’ll be starting to harvest tender green onions.
Along with the urge to purge and the feeling of rebirth, spring is also a time for fun. Learn a little bit more about an odd spring tradition in our Egg Balancing segment, and try it with your family and friends. It really is a blast.
2. Old Wives Tales: Egg Balancing
I attended a brunch on the first day of spring, where a friend introduced me to an old wives tale that I had never heard of before. Supposedly on the first day of spring, the gravitational pull, the earth’s axis, and the equal number of hours between day and night all create the perfect environment to balance an egg on its end. So after light-heartedly proclaiming that anyone can balance an egg any day of the year, we reluctantly set to the task. It took a few tries, but once one person achieved egg balancing, suddenly a domino effect of success followed.
That’s me (so proud that I’d even post this unflattering photo) with my egg. We all agreed that the trick was to use the thumb and pointer finger on each hand, spaced equally around the circumference of the egg to balance it. To read up on this old wives tale and try balancing, check out this site and get steady!
3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Three Sisters Garden
A highlight of any children’s garden involves a great Native American tradition that not only gets kids growing vegetables, but teaches them history as well. The Three Sisters Garden is an ancient tradition of planting corn, beans and squash together in a circle. First, corn is planted in the center, then when the corn is about 6 inches tall, pole beans are planted near the corn. After the beans are established, squash (usually pumpkin, butternut or acorn) is planted around the outside. There are many ways to do this, but the general idea is this:
Corn needs to grow in at least 3 rows in order to pollinate, so the cluster of corn in a circle facilitates pollination. The beans use the corn as a trellis to climb, and the squash forms a living mulch around the corn and beans to help prevent water evaporation. You can find a great interpretation of this concept in this article by Alice Formiga. By the way, the Three Sisters Garden isn’t just for kids. We’re planting one in our test garden this year!
4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – Woolly Pocket Gardens
The newest member of the Gardenerd Collection is a nifty new product that lets you grow gardens on walls and fences. Woolly Pockets are made from recycled plastic bottles and breathe to allow proper circulation for your plants. We’ve chosen our favorite sizes and featured them this month.
We use these Pockets to plant our School Gardens on urban campuses where there ordinarily isn’t any space to have a traditional garden. Check out what we did to a steel staircase on a historic school building in Downtown Los Angeles. So if you have limited space, Woolly Pockets can help get you growing this spring!
Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits from Gardenerd.com. Happy spring gardening!