UUFE Gardeners see Spring!

[Gardeners update by Kara Crissey]
UUFE Gardeners!
Spring beckons, even from so far away.  So we’re making plans:

UUFE Spring Garden Cleanup & Potluck Saturday, March 25 9AM-3PM

Rain Date Spring Cleanup April 8

Please contact Kara Crissey @ goodearthgardeners@gmail.com or 814.262.5702 if you will be able to attend the Spring Cleanup.
Please bring a beverage or dish of your choice for a potluck lunch to be shared at noon.
Our work list includes:
  • Preparing beds for mulch & mulching (10 yards spread during cleanup with 2 yards stored in reserve)
  • Edging beds
  • Pruning
  • Removing sickly or unwanted plants
    • One or two arborvitae along the edge of the parking lot are near their expiration date, sadly too soon.  They are becoming unsightly and should be removed so they do not harbor disease for the remaining arborvitae
    • Check on the area where some bamboo was removed in late fall to make sure no more is coming up
  • Holly Tree TLC – Last season the committee noticed the mature holly tree right outside of the sanctuary seemed to be unhappy.  It is possible the tree suffered during a periods of drought the past two summers and so other pests have taken advantage and moved in.  This spring, we can help it have a better year by:
    • Adding 1″-2″ (~1 yard) of organic compost (Leaf Gro) to the planting bed.  This will help retain moisture and increase the quantity of available nutrients
    • Adding 2″ of mulch to the bed on top of the compost, further increasing moisture-retention ability of the soil
    • The tree was fertilized with Hollytone in fall 2016.   A tree with access to plenty of food and water is best able to fight off opportunistic pests and disease
    • Watering every 10 days without rain from May-September and every 4-6 days during periods of drought when temps are 95 or higher
During our potluck lunch, the committee can discuss other items on the To-Do list:
  • Oak Tree – After the additional parking lot was installed, the oak tree in front of the building began to struggle.  Help it by:
    • Removing the grass in this area
    • Adding 1″ of organic compost (1 yard)
    • Applying low-nitrogen fertilizer spikes (to encourage root growth)
    • Mulching to a total depth of 2″-3″
    • Setting up a permanent sprinkler in this area that can be connected to the hose during periods of drought – making it perhaps a tiny bit easier to water, weekly, when there has been no rain
    • Watering every 10 days without rain from May-September and every 4-6 days during periods of drought when temps are 95 or higher
  • Creating a summer watering calendar to provide supplemental watering to key plants during periods of drought or intense heat this summer
  • Sign painting – The UUFE sign posts need to be re-painted.
  • New Plantings:
    • Installing the new design for the roadside bed
    • Adding some native perennials on the nature trail (ramps, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, christmas fern)
  • Donated picnic table – During the Spring Cleanup, the committee can decide whether to A) accept the donation of and B) where to place a donated metal picnic table with attached benches
  • Partnerships –
    • Peachblossom Learning Community – The school group who meets weekly at UUFE would be interested in partnering with us to care for the garden in exchange for a reduction in their rent.  During our spring cleanup, feedback about how we could make this work will be collected.  Some ways Peachblossom could help are – watering during drought & weeding certain beds.  After our committee feedback is compiled, our group can have have an email conversation to refine a partnership idea.  Then, we can make the proposal to Peachblossom  & present it to the board for their approval
    • Grant Funding for Projects – 
      • Kara Crissey is meeting with the Midshore Riverkeepers Conservancy at UUFE on Friday, February 17th at 11am to do a walk-through of the property to identify potential opportunities for a grant-funded project.  All are welcome to come along during this informative meeting
      Think spring!!!


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