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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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017
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XL 102’s Big Field Day (BFD) will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Classic Amphitheater at Richmond Raceway Complex. BFD is a regional music festival that brings the best in alternative rock to Richmond. The lineup includes Weezer, PVRIS, Bob Moses, Dreamers and Skratch N Sniff. Tickets start at $39.50. For details, visit http://www.xl102richmond.com. Full text

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