Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hort center update

It finally feels like our plot at the hort center is under way. The picture here is us laying black plastic mulch for weed suppression (shades weeds from sun) and to extend the season by keeping our plants warm into the fall as the black absorbs heat from the sun. This was a pretty crazy undertaking as we did it all by hand. The trick is to tuck the corners of the plastic underground pretty tightly so that the wind doesn't rip the plastic by flapping it around. We very intelligently did this at the hottest time of the day, not recommended in the future. While it feels kind of weird covering the soil in plastic, this is a good way to suppress weeds without herbicides, and the plastic is corn-based and photodegradable so it won't have to go in a landfill at the end of its life.
The next picture shows our plants poking out of the plastic, awwww. The closest plastic row is cucumber, then behind is squash and then tomato. Now all we can do is let them do their thing. And water them and think positive thoughts.
At this point all of the rows at the hort center are planted, at least partially. We have some leeks that aren't quite ready to leave the greenhouse, but everyone else is living life in the field. I wish we had a picture of us transporting the seedlings. We don't have a tractor or anything so we use our bikes and sometimes we have to get creative. Balancing trays of okra seedlings on handlebars has proven to be impossible and even tragic (we lost one in the crash I'm afraid), but peppers and eggplants are more manageable. It's pretty awesome to be replacing fossil fuel energy with human energy and silliness, and at this scale it just makes sense, time-wise. We may need to build a trailer or something if we get more/further land next summer.
That's it for now!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Katryna & Emily enjoying the life!

Hort Update

Drip tapes have been laid & Tomatoes transplanted

Tuesday transplant pics

I think pictures can speak for themselves.
Here are some of our tuesday pics...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

HOW embarassing

So, we have had a breakthrough event at the community garden this week. For the past little while, our seedlings have started coming up and we have had some trouble trying to weed. Seedlings are really hard to tell apart from weeds, but we have been doing our best. Yesterday we were gingerly weeding around what we thought were are young persian cress seedlings when our friend Chris let us know that we were nurturing wild mustard, a nasty weed. The ragweed we had been pulling out was actually cress, so pretty much, we messed up. On the bright side it seems like the mustard was much more attractive for the flea beetles than the cress, so it acted as a `catch crop`, a sacrifice to the flea beetles. So we have less cress than we should but it is looking pretty scar-free. Maybe there is something to be said about leaving weeds?
The Hort Center garden, our biggest one, is looking good. We have been delayed due to rain and availability of materials, but we now have a nice row of tomatoes and another of onions, Shungiku (edible Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins, these flowers are magical!), marigold and dill. We also snuck a few poppies on the ends of rows. The flowers are to attract pollinators and pest predators, but also they`re just so darn pretty. Gotta have a nice work environment.
Finally, big news, our first vegetable was produced this week, got ourselves a little green pepper in the community garden. I`ll put up pictures soon. I felt like an overexcited parent on their kid`s first day of school, taking pictures from every angle. We can`t be cool all the time I guess.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Flea beetles and RAIN (an uplifting post)

We are running into some problems in the garden. But here at MSEG we are pretty hardcore and can handle them. The first is the flea beetle infestation in the community garden. These little guys (see picture) have been attacking the

eggplants and peppers, as well as all of the Ladybug and Purple Martin plots. They avoided our May Queen lettuce for some reason (thanks guys). I don't know about everyone else but I have a pretty protective attachment to our plants and it's quite possible that I sing to them in the greenhouse when I'm potting them up and no one is around...they REALLY like "Golden Slumbers"... The point being, this kind of attack can be pretty traumatizing for both the plants and myself. We are using this garlic spray to try to combat the flea beetles. Ingredients: three heads garlic, 1tsp Dr Bronners soap and lots of water. The greenhouse and our plot at the CG smell pretty bad right now. While we were spraying there was a small girl and her mother having a bonding experience gardening and we just might have ruined it with our aroma. Sad times. We are hoping that this spray will work. We ran into a Mac prof who uses spray made of Neem, that magical tree whose virtues are extolled by my hero Vandana Shiva. So there is hope if this doesn't work out.

Also, the rain these past couple of days has set us back a bit. The land at the Hort center is super clay, so we have developed a severe fear of compaction here. In this wet weather there is not much we can do in the field so we have been getting ourselves super organized for next week when we will be putting a lot of our seeds in the ground (parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower...) and transplanting our onions...AND laying the mulch and row covers. Monday should be a pretty beastly day. Again, nothing we can't handle (*manly grunt sound*)

Lets end this on a positive note: we have been getting some pretty sweet volunteers, who have not complained about weeding or the sun or how smelly the garden is right now. Thanks guys!

We are at the Mac Market as usual this Saturday 9-2, where this week you can listen to the lovely fiddle tunes of our most die-hard volunteer Anna Elbon. Get excited.