In the garden

Planting times for vegetables vary depending upon the type of vegetable and the date of the average last killing frost in an area. In Henrico County, the average last killing frost is approximately April 15 so vegetable gardeners can use mid-April as the starting point for deciding when to plant their gardens.

Hardy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and onions can be planted as early as four weeks before the last killing frost, which means these plants can be put into the garden any time now.

“They can take a nip of frost,” said Karen Carter, Henrico Extension Agent. Other hardy or “cool season” vegetables include lettuce, peas, spinach, radish, and turnips.

Semi-hardy vegetables that are a little less resistant to the cold include beets, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, and Swiss chard. They can be planted around April 1.

Warm-season vegetables can be either tender or very tender. Tender crops such as beans, corn, cucumbers, and summer squash can be planted in mid-April, but very tender crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, melons, and pumpkins shouldn’t be planted until the first of May.

A guide to planting dates is available from the Extension Service at http://www.ext.vt.edu. Additional information on using soil temperatures as a guide to planting is available at http://www.ext.colostate.edu in publication #720.

Carter advises vegetable gardeners to take the time to make a plan before they start planting. “It can be like playing dominoes or chess,” said Carter, “particularly if you want to garden more intensively. You need a strategy.”

One strategy for getting more vegetables out of your garden is called succession gardening and involves planting early maturing vegetables that are replaced with other vegetables after the first are harvested.

Intercropping can also increase vegetable yields. “The classic example comes from Native Americans,” said Carter, “who planted the Three Sisters together – beans, corn, and squash”.

The plants benefit each other by being grown together. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, the corn supports the beans, and the squash shades the roots of the corn and the beans.

Before you plant, Carter advises testing the soil in your garden to find out whether you need to add lime or other nutrients to your garden plot.

“And whether you have sandy soil or clay, any time you can work organic matter such as compost into your soil, you’ll be improving it,” said Carter.

Organic matter improves moisture retention while promoting proper drainage and improves the nutrient-holding capacity of the soil, which makes any fertilizer that is added more effective.

Carter reminds gardeners not to work in the garden when the soil is too wet because that can destroy soil structure and create clods. “Squeeze the soil to test for moisture,” said Carter. “The clump should crumble when you open your hand. Then your garden is ready to be tilled.”
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Eyes in the sky


Members of the Henrico Citizens Police Academy Alumni (pictured) got a rare peek at the “high” side of law enforcement recently, with a trip to the Metro Aviation Hangar adjacent to Richmond International Airport.

About 25 academy alumni gathered at the hangar July 11 to hear Officer Shaun McCarthy describe a typical day aloft - and some not so typical – in a Cessna owned by the Metro Aviation Unit. > Read more.

Rock on!


The painted rocks craze is thriving in Henrico, as a walk around the grounds of local libraries and parks will demonstrate. This rock was spotted near Libbie Mill Library, and there's a slideshow of many more uniquely-painted stones on the RVA Rocks Facebook page (https://facebook.com/groups/RVARocks/).

Painting and hiding rocks is a family activity appropriate for all ages, and parents especially like the way it fosters creativity and gets kids outdoors. > Read more.

Goochland man arrested at RIC with gun


A Goochland County man was arrested at Richmond International Airport July 19 after Transportation Security Administration officers found a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the 9 mm caliber handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it entered the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 12 bullets. > Read more.

Kansas man struck, killed while crossing West Broad Street

A 54-year-old Kansas man was struck and killed by a car while attempting to cross West Broad Street near Bethlehem Road in the Near West End at about 10:30 p.m., July 19.

Julius A. McBride of Overland Park, Kansas, was struck by a car traveling east on West Broad Street. > Read more.

Henrico Police warn citizens to ‘Take it, Lock it or Lose it’


Eastern parts of Henrico County have witnessed a recent increase in larceny from automobiles, so Henrico Police officials are spreading the word to encourage citizens to lock their vehicles.

Police are handing out and posting fliers and putting message boards in neighborhoods to educate residents.

There usually is a rise of larceny from automobiles during Christmas, spring and summer break, said Henrico Police Officer James Bupp. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

July 2017
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The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will meet at 9 a.m. at Echo Lake Park. This small, scenic park offers a variety of habitats and a surprising diversity of native plants on a half-mile trail around the lake. Bring a light lunch for picnicking in the shade and telling flower stories. To register, contact trip leader Leslie Allanson at 795-7191 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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