If you’ve found yourself stumped with a gardening question, you may have queried the hive mind at Central Peninsula Garden Club.
The club saw a slight drop in membership earlier in the pandemic while its meetings were held virtually, said Larry Opperman, who’s on the club’s board of directors.
But now that the club is meeting in person again, he said gardeners are starting to come back. And some green gardeners are joining the club for the first time.
Larry Opperman: You know, with the pandemic, a lot more people were gardening in the country in the last two summers. And they were gardening so much that there are actually seed shortages, supply shortages. And so that's a good and a bad thing.
But, you know, there's something magical about having dinner that night and looking at everything on your plate and knowing that "Well, look at that” — except for a pork chop, and some folks are raising their own pigs — you can look at your potatoes, your vegetables, your salad and everything and say, "That grew out my backyard or out my garden, and didn't require me to go to the store." Which helped everybody with what's going on with the pandemic, with social distancing, and starting to fend for themselves a little bit more.
So the pandemic is horrible, but more folks getting into gardening is a positive thing.
KDLL: What are you doing in your garden right now? What is front of mind for you as we're barreling into this cold season?
LO: Well, most gardens are pretty well finished. And what I'm doing is I'm winterizing my garden beds. I have pulled everything up. I've put a little compost on ’em to let it set in through the winter. And then just cleaning everything up.
You know, I do have a few minor things still growing, like brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts, they can handle frost and freezing. And I do have a couple of brussel sprout plants still going.
But other than that, everything's about done. It's just, it's time to wind the garden down. And the only people that are still growing anything are folks that might have a high tunnel or a pretty well-sealed greenhouse.
KDLL: How does the timeline of this fall compare with others we've seen in the past, for gardeners?
LO: Well, it's been a little bit more of a difficult year this year. We've had a lot colder summer. We've had more, considerable rain. But we had some really early frost. And what that does is that forces a gardener to take some more drastic steps to save what they're growing, especially the non-frost-tolerant crops, you know, like, covering them up, bringing them inside if you're growing in containers. So it's just been tough this year just because of how cold it got and as early as it got cold.
KDLL: Are there any up-and-coming events at the garden club that folks should be aware of?
LO: We actually have a garden club meeting tonight at 7:00 at College Heights Baptist Church. And I actually will be speaking, doing a presentation on how to grow potatoes tonight. So we're back to our meetings the second Tuesday of every month, 7:00 at College Heights Baptist Church. And we'd love to have everybody.
They’re free and open to the public. We'd love to have folks come down and listen to us and be a part of our club.
That was Larry Opperman with Central Peninsula Garden Club. You can keep up with the club on Facebook and at cenpengardenclub.org.