When you visit, or even just drive by, the Strong Family Farm you probably notice a few things: the lovely white farmhouse, the big yellow barn, the chicken coop, and the raised garden beds. What grows in those beds? Who tends them? Is the produce for the farm store? Great questions! I’m Erika Phillips, the Garden Leader (more on that later), and I am pleased to introduce the Raised Bed Gardening programs’ new blog!
There are some exciting changes to the Raised Bed Gardening program at the farm this year. For starters, Master Gardener Dan Gallagher, who has been mentoring the gardeners since the program began in 2019, is stepping back a little so he can focus on other projects now that our program is well-established. It’s a good feeling to know that Dan believes we are well-established enough that he can step back (though not away, we won’t let him go that easily!) Dan is still a Mentor to our program, and we have added three additional Mentors.
As for me, this is my fourth year gardening at the Strong Family Farm and I have stepped into the newly created role of Garden Leader, meaning I coordinate the schedule, lead the meetings, and help everything run smoothly. Having become a better gardener because of the mentoring that I’ve received from the RBG program, I’m excited to be involved in growing the program.
For the 2023 season we decided to start the Raised Bed Gardening program a little earlier than we have before, with the option of starting April 1 or May 1. Starting in the spring gives us a little more time to get into the swing of things and start our garden plans, so that come mid-May we can have our plans set and plants established. So far we have had three RBG meetings, and eight gardeners (including SFF Executive Director Jen Smith, who is one of our gardeners) attend our sessions.
Additionally, some gardeners took home seeds that SFF provided to start them indoors before transplanting them in May when the weather, and the soil, is warmer.
So far in our April meetings we have learned about what basics to consider when planning our beds for the season, the basics of what to do and not do to maintain the bed, what seeds can be planted in our beds now, and what to start inside to plant out in May, and how to fertilize our beds and when.
Thanks for taking the time to read about the Raised Bed Gardening program’s start to the 2023 season here at the Strong Family Farm. We’ll post new blog entries throughout the season to share updates on what we are up to, including what we learn from our Mentors and how our beds are growing (and yes, even to brag a little when our plants thrive and produce well). So do come back and check in on us!
And of course, if you have any questions about the Raised Bed Gardening program you can reach out to us at [email protected].