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2014 Thorns & Roses

The summer of 1968, our boy scout troop took a trip to the high adventure summer camp Philmont Scout Ranch, near Cimmeron, New Mexico. We departed in a passenger van from Eastgate Shopping Center early in the morning and spent the night in LaJunta, CO at the Koshare Indian Museum. What a great experience that was. When we arrived back in town, my dad and the rest of the family met to pick me up. As we were driving down East Kellogg, my 4 year old sister Janette asks “Marty, do you like chocolate cake?” Can you guess what was waiting for me when we got home? You guessed it, chocolate cake! To this day “Do you like chocolate cake?” still gets a laugh at family gatherings. Janette, similar to most 4 year olds, couldn’t keep a secret.

Jeremy and I went back to Philmont with his scout troop 733 in the summer of 1992. Something I vividly remember was our advisor asking us each evening to reflect on the day’s activities. He referred to it as ‘Thorns and Roses’. The scouts would sit around the campfire and talk about the Thorns – or what hadn’t gone well that day, and how we could improve on it for the next day. Maybe it rained on us and was an unpleasant hike. There wasn’t anything we could have done about it, but it was listed as a Thorn nonetheless, and it was good to talk about them. We would then go over the Roses for the day. These were the highlights. Maybe it was a spectacular view, great food, or maybe one of the scouts who had struggled previously was having a better day. We would then go over the next day’s activities and await that adventure.

We have carried the tradition of Thorns and Roses to the Garden Center since that 1992 High Adventure trip. After every promotion, we do a Thorns and Roses assessment. We list what worked, what didn’t and how to make next year’s event work smoother. This gives us some direction months later when the event draws near.

I decided to apply this to Marty’s Acre for this year:

Squash bugs (although not as bad as 13′)

Season started in March with early vegetables, no late spring freezes
Drip tape – worked flawlessly
Asparagus planted in 13′ rows was awesome
Revolution Peppers – the size of grapefruit
Tomatoes – Jet Star again was best producer
Grafted heirloom varieties did well
Potatoes – Yukon Gold are still being enjoyed
Floating row cover worked very well late winter protecting winter spinach

Looking forward
Plant a late crop of spinach, radish, turnips and mustard.
Fewer tomato varieties
Use Hi-Yield Treflan to prevent weeds, not an organic, but sure keeps weeds down
Put up temporary high tunnel for late winter crops

I encourage you to do a T&R for you Acre and jot a few things down to help with the planning in next year’s Acre.

As always, happy gardening. I’m going to go enjoy a piece of chocolate cake!
– Marty Johnson