Monday, September 16, 2019

July in the Kitchen Garden

"Things are going great at the garden ... lots of food to donate to the pantry and everything is going wild ... tomatoes, cukes, beans, herbs, etc. with more greens planted for a fall harvest!"  - Iris Hiskey Arno, Roots & Wings Kitchen Garden

This summer we have nine kitchen gardeners hard at work. We’ve provided the food pantry with peas, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, and spices (sage, mint, oregano, dill, and mint) so far. Our tomatoes and tomatillos are beginning to come in, and our spice garden is constantly producing. 

One of our members donated an arched wooden trellis and we are growing cucumbers up and over it. Tomato plants were donated by Farmer Tom of the CSA and seeds and seedlings were donated by kitchen garden members. We have a thriving pollinator garden along the top of the stone wall by the street, outside the garden fence. Here echinacea (pink coneflowers), St. John’s Wort, yarrow, and milkweed not only provide a lovely splash of color but also make a wide variety of native bees very happy. We continue to maintain the pathways with wood chips from trees that were trimmed or cut down around the property—it’s an ongoing battle with crabgrass!

We work hard on our compost, which reflects our belief in permaculture and also nurtures our soil and plants. Unfortunately, the compost structure, which has stood us in good stead for a long time, is getting old and rickety and we hope to replace it soon. Likewise a section of our fence is sagging and overwhelmed by weeds. It provides neither the needed windscreen for young seedlings, nor a good space for vertical gardening. Replacing it is another needed improvement for the garden.

We gather to work together every Saturday morning, roughly from 10-12, and visitors of all ages are welcome to stop by, see what we are doing, and lend a hand if they like.

A shoutout and many thanks to Roots & Wings for this wonderful space!

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.