Henrico County VA
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In the garden

Planting vegetables
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 Addi.tional 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.”


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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