From the New Vrindaban Garden 4-17-2014

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This week in the garden the first flowers of the season began to bloom, the hyacinth. We are also seeing the first signs of peonies and lilies. A few of the bush cherries have also bloomed. Soon the garden will be filled with many beautiful flowers. We have planted lilac bushes beside the Garden of Gates entrance to greet visitors with their elegant fragrance and beautiful purple flowers.

Snap peas and shell peas were planted in beds that last year were the home to many marigolds. Legumes such as peas provide nitrogen in the soil. Peas are in the legume family, which means they have the unique ability to absorb nitrogen from the air as well as from the soil. But in order to achieve this, their roots must be in the presence of a particular strain of rhizobial bacteria, Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar vicaea. When the bacteria enters the roots of the plant, it forms nodule. Inside the nodules is where the atmospheric nitrogen is converted so it can be utilized by the plant as a nutrient. A powdered inoculant can be used by dry coating the seeds or making a slurry and soaking the seeds in the mixture. The trellises are up and now we are looking forward to a bounty of delicious peas in June.

Another project started this week was garden weed composting. We are trying a hot composting method. The weeds pulled from the garden are placed on thick black plastic and covered with a layer of black plastic. Garden waste, known as green manure is very high in nitrogen which allows them to break down into compost quickly. The weeds are left to heat up under the plastic undisturbed for one week. Then for the next 10-15 days the compost in mixed every other day, until is has broken down into a useable green manure. Cold composting (leaving uncovered and undisturbed) can take 6-12 months and can leave viable weeds seeds. When using weeds for compost hot composting is the best choice.

In the next few weeks we will be planting Carpathian Walnuts and peach trees. As well as planting beets, greens, and a few other early spring vegetables.

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