Governor's garden is put to bed for the winter
Sue du Pont, spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Agriculture, volunteers her time at the Government House vegetable garden. She holds the rye/oat seeds that were planted Monday as a cover crop on the garden.
Photo credit: Baltimore Sun/Susan Reimer
Volunteers from the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners program were at Government House in Annapolis Monday, putting first lady Katie O'Malley's vegetable garden to bed after a successful season.
The garden battles shade and drainage issues, but some careful planning for the second year produced many more tomatoes and peppers, plus the usual bounty of greens and herbs.
Monday, Lisa Winters, Sarah Findlay and Carole Fullagar were tearing out the last of the tomato and pepper plants, cutting back the herbs that will overwinter, including sage, lavendar, mint and oregano, and tending to the chard, kale and parsnips that will continue to produce for weeks.
"We're mindful that this is a historic building," said Winters, "so we have pansies to put on the front row."
Behind the pansies, the Master Gardeners will plant a cover crop by scattering handfuls of rye and oats in the planting rows. The grains will grow to about two feet high and prevent wind and water erosion over the winter.
Next spring, the gardeners will cut the grains to the ground, leaving them in the garden to provide mulch and to amend the soil. And the roots will remain in the soil, breaking it up and then decomposing to return more nutrients to the soil.
(Have you planted your cover crop yet? You still have time.)
Chefs from Government House harvested the vegetables and greens as needed, so no record was kept of how much the garden produced in its second year, but the general opinion is that it did much better than the first year.
That may be due to the use of drip hoses. They were laid around the plants in the garden and the water was turned on for an hour each morning by Government House staff, providing the garden with a consistent source of water.
The produce was used for official functions as well as for family meals for Gov. Martin O'Malley, his wife and four kids.
Of note is the fact that both his daughters are vegetarians.