Spring Garden Update

Spring in Ozark County has arrived with the thunderous roar of hail and heavy rain. The rainfall has caused a record shattering high water crest for Norfork Lake and has heavily damaged a number of bridges including Tecumseh Bridge which is only a few miles from East Wind. Some plants and trees have sustained hail damage, but the bigger issue has been the long periods of overcast and rain that don’t allow for sufficient sunlight and warmth for good growth as well as making it more difficult to work in the beds and prepare for transplanting all the summer crops out of the greenhouse. May is usually the busiest time of the year in the garden and hundreds and hundreds of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants will need to be transplanted in the coming week.

A bumblebee inspecting a collard flower

Veteran Garden Managers Richard and Petey are leading up the 2017 season. First visiting East Wind within one month of each other these greenthumbs have been members for just under a decade. Richard has held an affinity for identifying trees and observing plants since he was a child. Petey has a passion for holistic gardening and a fondness for the living world. Sharing a desire for nutrient dense homegrown food this duo, with the support and help of many other East Winders both past and present, established the Lower Garden and effectively doubled the size of East Wind’s gardens. In combination with the seventy foot hoophouse¬† built in the fall of 2015 East Wind’s vegetable production has increased greatly in the last five years. Homegrown tomatoes are now available year round (including canned, of course). Homegrown potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, okra, sweet peppers, and strawberries are all available at least six months out of the year.

Richard teaching Telos and Charlotte how to thin apple trees

This season’s garden plan is similar to last season’s in terms of amounts grown. The hoophouse has early slicer tomatoes, three varieties of heat resistant broccoli hybrids, Romanesco broccoli, early cauliflower, and a number of cabbage varieties in the ground and beginning to bear fruit. Cucumbers and sweet peppers are also coming along. Lettuces, arugula, and salad turnips have been produced continuously via succession planting through the Winter into Spring. The hoophouse’s crops were completely protected from the 3/4 inch hail East Wind experienced recently.

A garden crew transplanting onions from the hoophouse to the final outside patch

Nearly ripe strawberry

Out in the Main Garden and Lower Garden peas, carrots, beets, turnips, lettuce, potatoes, garlic, onions, bush beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, and parsnips are all in the ground. The first strawberry of the year was picked in mid April and the expanded patch promises to be very productive this season once we get some warmer and dryer weather. Richard is pleased to find that chestnut trees he began planting in 2010 have started to produce. The onion patch is located in the Lower Garden this year and transplants of onions planted in late Fall out of the hoophouse are off to a strong start compared to onions started late Winter in the greenhouse. Unfortunately, during the heaviest storm water saturated the ground of the greenhouse and this was just enough for one table of tomatoes to fall over. Only one or two plants were destroyed immediately and many are damaged, but the survivors should recover just fine. The increasingly erratic climate in this warming world is one more thing that needs to be expected and planned for.

Petey, Andrea, Tobin, and Willow transplanting brassicas in the hoophouse in early March

All in all it looks like another great garden season for East Wind. Petey is excited to have more storage areas like our new dry storage building (blog post coming soon, stay tuned!) and a small climate controlled insulated storage room. More produce, more storage, more wholesome food throughout the year. The enjoyment of gardening goes hand in hand with the enjoyment of eating fresh picked homegrown vegetables. A big thank you to everyone who helps out in the garden!

Hoophouse in mid April (from left to far right: brassicas, lettuces and greens, collards, tomatoes)

Post and pictures by Sumner


  1. David L. Bourke

    Could you put me on your mailing list?
    David Bourke

    • EastWindCommunity

      Hello David,
      We do not have a mailing list, but you can probably get our blog on a RSS feed if you wanted.

  2. Pingback: Spring Garden Update – commune life

  3. Have visited in the past and would like to do so again,yohon is a friend whom I dearly would love to see again and maybe another glorious tour could happen,i am from Padanaram in Indiana a settlement which came into existence in 1966 a friend from this settlement guided me to east winds and you have been in my prayers ever so much…good to see you are still thriving

    • EastWindCommunity

      I’m glad you found our little site. Padanaram seems like a great place. I will be traveling through Living Roots community in southern Indiana next week, actually. I wonder if you have heard of it?

      Yo is still here and kicking! You can email ew.membership@gmail.com if you want to arrange a visit and see how things have changed! We just had a member from the 80s come through and I very much enjoyed interviewing her.


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