January 2017 Garden News
“Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?” While January may seem an odd time to enquire about the growth of a garden, it’s the perfect time to check in on Boudinot’s Garden which is ‘growing’ all the time!
This past fall a large group of dedicated volunteers spent countless hours installing drainage in the garden. Due to the type of soil and slope of the land, it was determined that a) standing ground water needed to be syphoned off into an adjacent section of the meadow and b) the lowest section of the garden needed raised beds with fresh top soil and compost installed. Therefore when you visit the farm this year you’ll notice that while the physical footprint remains the same, the appearance of Boudinot’s Garden will be slightly different.
Speaking of appearance, in previous years the Ross Farm has been the beneficiary of several Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scout projects. The terrific garden shed is the most recent project for which we are enormously grateful! There are a couple more Eagle Scout Award projects teed up for this coming year, one in particular which will make a huge impact on the appearance of the garden. But that’s currently a secret, so stayed tuned.
While this article is an update on the progress of the garden, we would be remiss if we didn’t thank the young ladies of the various Girl Scout troops who have cleaned and planted the property gardens in front of the tack house, next to the barn and around the gazebo. They are also hard at work creating signage for the various types of produce that will be grown in the garden this coming summer.
But back to the question at hand: ‘what do you grow in a garden in January?’ Besides plans, hopes and dreams, the garden was planted in the fall for a spring crop of garlic and shallots. Those crops are currently wintering over until the ground begins to warm around late March and early April, which will then be the time to plant peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas…. As noted earlier, January is a time to plan, hope and dream. One item we can share news on is the goal of creating a dedicated space in the garden for asparagus. Asparagus is a notoriously finicky perennial but if handled correctly and given the proper type “bed” in which to grow it will produce a late spring crop for up to 20 years.
‘What happens to the produce grown in Boudinot’s Garden?’ you may ask. The vast majority of produce is donated to the Somerset County Food Bank. Between our garden and donations from a few other gardens, such as the Wick Garden at Jockey Hollow, Ross Farm volunteers were able to donate approximately 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to the food bank in 2016. Periodically the produce is used in the preparation of food made available at Ross Farm events such as the Weekend Journey Thru History in October. Did you taste the smoked turkey slider with fried green tomatoes? Yum! A perfect use of late season produce.
For now we’re saving seeds and making plans so that Boudinot’s Garden is healthier than ever producing bumper crops this coming summer.