This marigold / blue salvia / tomato garden in the Parker, Colorado, Community Garden in 1993 demonstrates how flowers can be raised. Although we subsequently learned that transplanted plants and flowers soon cover the black Sunbelt bed, this early demonstration garden also demonstrates how bark mulch can be used to cover the Sunbelt for aesthetic purposes. Although this 12 August 1993 photograph shows slightly larger marigolds in the right side of the bed in which the Sunbelt was covered with pine bark mulch, the two sides showed little difference either in bloom numbers or size as the flowers matured in late August and early September.
We purchased the marigold (Tagetes spp.), blue salvia (Salvia spp.), and tomato plants from a local nursery at a cost of more than US$55, and transplanted the seedlings into 2″ (5 cms.) slits cut into the Sunbelt. Because such slits will cause some weed and evaporation problems for future years, we now grow our own seedlings with the Booth Planting Tubes. Not only is this easier, but it saves a significant amount of money. In addition, the Booth Planting Tubes give us the advantage of having plants ready at times when local nurseries may not have the desired plants available.
Annual rainfall at this site is 16″ (400mm), and the U.S. National Weather Service Station 15 miles (24 klms) to the north recorded less than 6″ (150mm) of rainfall during the growing season of this “NO-IRRIGATE” garden. Hydrosource Standard was rototilled into the plot at the rate of 100 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. (45.4 lbs. per 91 m2). The soil in this bed is only about 6″ (15 cms.) deep because it was hauled in to cover an old paved city street. The bed had a single application of Miracle-Gro water-soluble fertilizer applied to the surface of the Sunbelt prior to an early rain shower. This garden was established over an old bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) bed, and I did have 5 bindweed plants emerge through the 2″ (5 cms.) slits made for the marigold plants.
Photograph #1: Early stages of the planting (June 1993)
Photograph #2: This 12 August 1993 photograph shows the marigold and blue salvia flowers in early bloom.
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Copyright 1993 by Daniel J. Wofford, Jr, and Dale Greenwood.