Monday, April 15, 2019

It's great to be back in the garden with friends!

We've met for several weeks now--getting started with spring clean up of the beds, adding compost, adding more wood chips to the paths, reworking the compost bins, and having lots of discussions of what, where, and when to plant various crops. It's great to be back in the garden with our friendly and collaborative group! 

So far, we have three rows of peas growing up a homemade trellis plus seedlings of kale, radicchio, cilantro, spinach, lettuce, mache, herbs, and scallions in various spots. Every weekend involves some planning, rethinking, hard labor, good conversation and a few laughs.

We're generally there from 10 a.m. to noon, so stop by, see what we are up to, and lend a hand if you feel like it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Accelerated Permaculture Training Begins

Accelerated Permaculture Training is a varied and fascinating group of twenty-two—each participant bringing a world of experience into the class. There’s Annie from Garrison and Sienna from Brooklyn, Magda from Nyack and Roberto from Norwalk. Beyond looking at the cardinal directions of where the participants are from, there’s the variety of impetus for taking the course.
  • Zinnia, a woman from Manhattan, wants to be a farmer
  • Chris, a first-time home-owner in Hastings, “wants to do the right thing”
  • Sarah’s journey has spanned biology, religion, and farming—now to permaculture
  • Natalie wants to launch her adult life with knowledge of permaculture
  • Aslihan wants to do her part in creating a sustainable future

All four of the teachers were present to welcome the students: Claudia Joseph, a lifetime gardener who has taught permaculture since 1998; Jono Neiger, a Massachusetts based agro-ecologist; Anne Wiesen, an herbalist; and her husband John Steitz, an architect and landscape designer.

“We’re going to take a very quick tour of permaculture,” said Claudia, explaining that permaculture was traditionally taught over a two or three-week residential program. Accelerated Permaculture Training is six sessions. 

Claudia introduced the class to shapes in nature that are useful in permaculture, zones, and basic mapping techniques. She took a first look at a needs / yields analysis. Each person there wrote down what they needed and what they could contribute to a community. 

A glimpse:  

I need to learn carpentry. I can give gardening skills. / I need a love seat. I can give chicken poop. / I need a job. I can give community organizing. 

Jono took participants on a tour of his home and garden, noting how permaculture influences his decisions.

The class also went into the Kitchen Garden and tried tools which measured the sun’s arc, and the soil’s aeration and ability to hold water.

Homework: map a space which you visit every day. Using permaculture principles, redesign this area.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 7 Garden News

We worked like fiends on Saturday . . mostly weeding . . pulling out crabgrass and covering the bare soil with wet newspaper. Iris sprayed the poison ivy by the wood chip pile in the parking lot with more vinegar solution. Susan worked on it under and around that bush, using gloves and plastic bags. . . no chemicals!

Marcelo inoculated another couple of mushroom logs, with help from Solange, and dealt with those two plugs that were coming out. Gabriela's chicory is starting to bloom . .love those blue flowers!

Marcelo, Susan, Els, Solange, Blanca, and Iris were there. The beans are going up the back fence, the cucumbers in the communal bed are going wild. We put a cage on one, are training another up the fence, and put a plastic net/trellis thing over the hoops for the third . .we'll see which one works best! The little Asian eggplants Iris planted in that bed have vegetables on them already. Susan's cucumbers have gone wild and threaten to take over the world. Tomato plants all have tomatoes on them and the brown-eyed Susan (rudebekia) Claudia gave us looks like it will burst into bloom just in time for her visit.

We are also considering establishing a permaculture area with fruits and nuts and will consult with Claudia Joseph next Saturday. 

- Iris

Mushrooms and May Update

Summer is moving along at the kitchen garden. We have planted tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, squash, cucumbers, kale, chard, carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuce, beans, peas, eggplant, raspberries, flowers, and herbs. With the recent hot weather, things are really taking off! 
We let some of our crops (greens, radishes, herbs) to flower to attract and nurture pollinators including native bees and a recent black swallowtail butterfly. We will collect the seeds later in the season to save for future plantings. Weeding still feels like a full time job and we are battling to overcome the crabgrass by pulling it out and covering the soil with straw and/or newspapers. Tending the compost continues.

Our latest effort has been to start a mushroom growing project! Using some logs from the Norway maple that was partially cut down to provide more sun to the garden, we drilled holes, inserted shitake mushroom plugs (grooved wooden plugs colonized with shitake mycelium), pounded them in with a rubber mallet, and sealed them up with wax. This is called inoculating the logs. They will now sit in the shade and we wait . . . but not with baited breath because it will take from 8-16 months for the shitakes to appear. We are told this will happen in 8-16 months and that the logs can produce mushrooms for up to eight year.

- Iris