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