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Daily Blog

Page history last edited by Ali Abbors 15 years, 2 months ago

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Daily Blog, Spring 2009



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Spring 2009


Tuesday, April 28

Rain! Torrents! We watched a movie called The Power of Community about how Cuba survived peak oil.


Thursday, April 23

Spring in Oregon...

Our beets and radishes are starting to come up! We'll stagger more plantings throughout the spring to have a steady supply. Our mustards are also starting to come up between the lettuce starts under the arch. The peas are slowly making their way skyward, although the slugs are trying their best to slow them down. Trapper laid out 2x4s around the most troubled beds to provide "shelter" for the slugs--which really just means we know where to look for them when we want to send them to sluggy heaven. We expanded the potato tower again, to make sure that the potatoes within have enough darkness to keep from turning green and inedible--about three feet in diameter. We removed the chives from the back bed and separated them out to plant in the herb border, share with other groups, and take home to plant in out own yards. They are a perennial and will continue to grow. We sowed carrots in half of one the back bed. They tend to germinate slowly and erratically, so we'll see how it goes! We prepped the soil for carrots by adding compost and turning the bed deeply to keep the soil nice and loose--we also picked out any big sticks or rocks that might impede the big carrot taproot on its way down. We also harvested a few leeks from our funny little leek bed. Yum yum. The tulips are gorgeous right now and our rhubarb is going strong--we do need to cut off the flowers, though.


Tuesday, April 21

Helped build garden bed at the CASL house in preparation for Earth Day celebrations!


Thursday, April 16

Glorious weather! Sunny and probably close to 70.

We took full advantage of this gorgeous day by spending most of our two hours working. A group of 3-4 potted up many, many tomatoes from flats in the greenhouse into 4" pots. The tomatoes will hang out in the greenhouse for about another month before we can be sure it'll be warm enough for them outdoors. We moved our potato tower from along the fenceline up to the art terrace, where it now sits like a crown. We also put our cut 'taters into their in-ground 'tater trough. We will continue to fill in the soil around them as the leaves grow upward. We shaped the beds on either side of the fence to prepare them for planting--we're thinking maybe some sort of delicious climbing thing like cucumbers could be really nice along the fenceline (with that in mind, we started some melon seeds in 1 gallon pots in the greenhouse). We also tacked up (temporarily) our archway, but we'll have to wait for the permanent arch until Harper cuts the fence posts to the right height. Our paths are now almost totally leaved, and look pretty damn good.


Tuesday, April 14

Forgot to blog on Tuesday, so I may have forgotten something.

Cool, but not too much rain, I think.

Dug potato trough in art terrace beds. Built potato tower. Cut potatoes to give them time to scab over before planting. Sowed beets and two types of radishes along the south side of the bean arch. Removed the cloche from the back bed and weeded around the chives. Planted lettuce starts and some lettuce seed under the bean arch. Weeded around the rhubarb. Planted brassicas (collards and cabbage? maybe cauliflower?) and onions (TX super sweet) in the bed with the shallots. Transplanted the chard from the inside of the bean arch to the outside so they won't get shaded out once the beans start to grow. Went into the greenhouse and talked about soil composition--percentages of air (25%), water (25%), mineral matter (45%), and organic matter (5%), and then make-up of the mineral portion (sand, silt, clay). We also talked about "macronutrients" (N, P, K, Ca) and what they do for plants.


Sorry for the bullet-pointy list. This is how my memory is working right now.


Thursday, April 9

Rain all day! Around 55.

Today we got a visit from Megan Kemple from the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition's Farm to School program. This amazing program helps to improve childhood nutrition and strengthen the local economy by building direct connections between school children and local farms. If you'd like to volunteer to help out but didn't get a chance to sign up, you can contact her at mkemple at lanefood dot org.


We spent the next 20 minutes or so of class in the greenhouse, out of the rain, munching on Three Family Quinoa Salad and talking about plant families. Specifically, we talked about alliums (onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, etc), chenopodiacea (spinach, chard, beets, quinoa, amaranth), and umbellifereae (carrots, parsnips, dill, fennel, cilantro, Queen Anne's Lace, poison hemlock, etc.) We also talked a bit about solonaceae/the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) and compositeae (aka asteraceae: lettuce, sunflowers, dandelions, artichokes, etc.)


Back out in the rain, we worked mainly on the beds in the art terrace. We pulled down last year's dead hops vine and clearly marked the new hops vines sprouting from the established rhizomes so they won't get trampled while they're still little (they're very new and only about a couple inches at this point). We cleared the remaining cover crop from the upper beds and added compost to prep them for planting. We also looked at the roots of the favas beans and talked about nitrogen fixation. Plants (and therefore, animals) can't use the gaseous form of nitrogen (N2) that is abundant in our atmosphere. "Nitrogen fixation" is the process of converting atmospheric nitrogen into what we call "plant available" forms such as ammonium and nitrate--this process can only be carried out by certain bacteria, by some insdustrial processes, and by lightning. Some plants such as fava beans, clover, vetch, and peas establish mutually-beneficial relationships with root-nodulating bacteria that take up residence in the plants' subterranean structures. The plants gain access to nitrogen in exchange for providing energy and nutrients to the bacteria.


Rachel and Liz took on the task of weeding the allium beds in the lower section. They also added soil to the formerly-trellised beds to widen them back out to their original size. Thanks for doing that! It looks great!


Root nodules:


Tuesday, April 7

Overcast but warm, probably in mid 60s. High clouds, no rain, humid.

After a glorious, sunny weekend, we were ready to get some plants in the ground. Many of our beds are still covered in a thick winter cover crop, so we dedicated most of today to prepping beds for spring planting. Our bean trellis has been in the same place for years, so we coordinate with Lorri's group to move both of our trellises to line up with one another. To prep the beds for the trellis, we first had to harvest and remove all the overwintering brassicas that had bolted. We harvested and weighed at least 10lbs of collards raab, collards and red russian kale. We also nibbled on some brussels sprouts florets, although they were a bit too tiny to harvest. Once the brassicas were removed, we amended the two beds with manure, compost and fertilizer. It took our entire group and part of Tom's to move the large trellis two full beds over, and we were careful not to crush the resident sage plant or the young chard plants in the newly trellised beds. We then planted two six-packs of pea starts and lined either side of the trellis with pea seeds (super sugar snap and sugar daddy varieties.) Trapper and Kate took on the project of weeding some of the beds up on the art terrace, and discovered more garlic hidden in the grass. They side-dressed all our garlic with manure to give it a nitrogen boost and help suppress weeds. 


Thursday, April 2

Overcast and cold! Probably in the high 40s, sprinkles off and on.

First day in our groups! We spent a few minutes getting to know each other and going over our group syllabus, then we took a walking tour of the farm. Tour included the composting systems, the orchard, the greenhouse and the Back 40, as well as a more in-depth look at our own beds. We didn't have too much time left after our tour, so we spent the remaining minutes liberating the garlic from the grass that had grown up around it. We munched on some collards raab from our own beds and some spinach from the Back 40 greenhouse. Next week we'll focus on prepping our beds for spring planting, moving the trellis, and getting some plants in the ground. Welcome to the Farm, everyone!!


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