Q and A with Peg Smith, UC Master Gardener, Central Park Gardens Board Member, and vegetable gardener extraordinaire
What are you planting in the garden right now?
April and May are a great time to plant warm season crops. Here are some of the plants we are putting in right now:
Tomatoes (several varieties to demonstrate determinate, indeterminate, heirloom, hybrid, slicing, paste and cherry)
Eggplant (two globe varieties, one long)
Squash (summer and winter)
Beans (green and purple pod varieties)
Jerusalem artichokes - for fun and to attract the bees.
Peppers (5 varieties)
We are developing educational signage for these vegetable plantings so that any visitor to the garden can gain information to help in their home gardening.Why is there a vegetable garden in Central Park Gardens?
Central Park Gardens' renovation, begun in 2006, was designed to deliver horticultural and gardening education to the public while providing an attractive and pleasant place to be. Encouraging home growing of vegetables in a garden or containers nicely fits with this educational focus.
Central Park Gardens has a small vegetable area but it is designed for as much educational punch as we can get. The area is divided into 4 beds which allows us to demonstrate the local seasonal year round planting schedule.
There are several educational goals for the vegetable beds:
- to demonstrate what vegetables can be seasonally planted in our area
- to identify and educate about any pests or diseases on the plantings as well as least toxic methods to manage them (IPM)
- to educate about the observed beneficial insects and native pollinators of our area.
- to teach methods of soil conservation/renewal with 'green manure' plantings and crop rotation.
Who gets to eat the vegetables?
We do get some 'public grazing' but any produce we harvest is donated to the Community Meals group in Davis that provides several free meals a week to any in the community who are in need. We recently harvested and delivered a load of radishes and spring onions.