World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day at La Basse Cour

5/19/19, 7:00 AM

By: Diane Frances

Today, May 19, is the very first World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day, launched this year by Bob Matthews of Rochester, NY. Bob is a lifelong gardener and owner and author of The Gardener's Network, Garden Hobbies, and Pumpkin Nook.

World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day was created to encourage people to get out and enjoy gardening with their families and friends, and to help provide delicious and nutritious fresh vegetables for people all around the world. A home garden can help stretch our family food dollar and offers the opportunity to eat food grown without harmful chemicals. Fresh vegetables taste best and taste makes it that much easier to eat those recommended veggie servings each day. IMG_4321.JPG

Community gardens are a great way to bring people together to garden and share the bounty with neighbors in neGrowing Abundance Togther LOGO.jpged. In 2015 we launched a community garden project here in our area called Growing Abundance Together. Thanks to school, youth and community groups we built 5 raised bed gardens to grow and share fresh vegetables throughout our region. Growing Abundance Together is gFullSizeRender.jpgoing strong, bringing people of all ages together to learn to garden and to enjoy time outdoors while providing nutritious fresh vegetables for our neighbors.

At La Basse Cour we have been raising vegetables for ourselves, for donation, and for sale on our farm stand and at farmers’ markets since 2004. Hard to believe, except when we look at our soil today and compare it to when we began. Thanks to Larry’s knowledge and patience our soil is much healthier, filled with organic matter and improved structure making the nutrients more available to the plants and the plants more able to withstand the increasingly extreme weather variations due to climate change. This makes our garden more productive each year, and our vegetables more nutrient dense and delicious!

veg garden aug 21 2018 044.JPGFrankly, Delaware County soil is best for grazing, since it is so rocky and acidic and since we get so much rain here (we’re not the NYC watershed for nothin’!). As a vegetarian I wanted us to raise fresh vegetables on our farm, so Larry reluctantly agreed. He set to work to create contours in our garden to stop the run off of our topsoil. He started a composting operation to make fullest use of the manure and bedding from our farm animals. Yes, a farm that mixes crop and animal agriculture is most sustainable, returning all the nutrients back to the soil. As a chemical engineer I make sure we never use a drop of synthetic pesticide or herbicide on our farm. Larry developed a rotation schedule to allow some portions of our vegetable garden to rest and recover as we crop other portions. He plants legumes to return nitrogen to the soil naturally so we never need to add synthetic fertilizer. And he works in the compost to improve the soil structure and feed the microbes that feed the plants. He even grows small grains which we plan to grind for ourselves and our customers and also for animal feed one day soon.  It’s a living system that naturally nurtures itself and us and our friends, neighbors and customers.

honeybee on dandelion.pngLast year, thanks to our dear friends and neighbors the Miller's we were able to add honey bees to our vegetable operation. While we have always had native pollinators doing a great job for us here, last year our garden really popped! The bees worked hard all season as Collin taught us about bee keeping. We did not collect any honey as we wanted to be sure the bees had enough to over-winter successfully and they did, it was great to see them buzzing about this spring. Just to be safe we installed a bear fence to protect the hive too. It’s been a great learning experience for us. Right now the hive is pollinating an orchard near by and will come back when vegetable season begins.

Needless to say we celebrate World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day here at La Basse Cour every day and every year. We continue to learn and to improve our farm operation in harmony with nature. Larry is experimenting with open-pollinated seeds and small grains. This year we will be switching from black plastic mulch for weed control to compostable mulch so that we can go easier on our environment. Our seedlings are doing well in our greenhouse and we’ll be planting starting the first week in June. Last frost around here can occur as late as Memorial Day weekend so we plant way past May 19 just to be sure!

 farm stand for fb.jpgStop by our vegetable stand once the season begins, and visit us each Thursday at the new Stamford Farmers’ Cooperative Farmers’ Market and each Friday at the Hobart Farmers’ Market. And when you stay with us at our bed&breakfast you can be sure I’ll be planning farm to table meals around what’s freshest from our garden.

Come to think of it, this makes me wonder what kind of natural dyes we can create wiYarn Dyeing 2 May 2019.jpgth vegetables at Kortright Handworks at La Basse Cour. The bright orange comes from onion skins I saved over the winter and some of our romney yarn recently dyed by Julie.

For more information on World Plant a vegetable Garden Day visit Plant

For more information about Growing Abundance Together please visit the Facebook page.