Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloomsdays A Great Success

Bloomsdays at UT Gardens last weekend was a great success despite the rainy weather on Sunday. Saturday morning saw crowds thronging around the many booths, with vendors offering plants, garden art, and much more. The annual event just gets better and better.

James Newburn, Assistant Director of UT Gardens, told me they have hired a part-time person whose efforts are devoted exclusively to the Kitchen Garden. As you can see from the image at left, this is a large area with raised beds and many other features that would be the envy of any dedicated veggie grower. The buildings visible at the far end include two storage sheds and a shaded spot planted with mints. A rain barrel catches water from the roofs in this area, and there is a weather station housed in one of the sheds. The entire space is enclosed in a picket fence, with compost bins built along one side. Outside the fence, on the left side in this view, the staff has planted blackberries, raspberries and elderberries.

All the plantings integrate herbs, flowers and vegetables. Although it is mid-May, the beds were already hosting tomato, squash, cucumber and okra plants no doubt started in the greenhouses adjacent to the Gardens.

The Kitchen Garden illustrates virtually all of the design techniques that one might want to use. If only we all had this much space! And not everyone I have talked to likes the purple paint, but each to his own tastes.

Here's a shot of the raspberries outside the kitchen garden.

UT Farmers Market

On the Wednesday following Bloomsdays, May 16th, the UT Farmers' Market opened at UT Gardens. Complete with music from a banjo and guitar duo, the market offers produce from UT crop production classes, along with creations from the UT Culinary Institute and food and craft items from about a dozen local vendors. Some of these were familiar from other area farmers' markets, but not all.

The market is held at the Gardens every Wednesday from 4:00-7:00 PM from now until October 24.

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