Monday, April 29, 2013

Fun Farming words

There are many fun farming words.  Two of the kids favorites are Hairy Vetch and Purple Dead Nettle.

One of these is a nitrogen gathering cover crop and one is an edible weed in the mint family.  We have both currently at our Urganic Farm and one is very prolific right now.  It will have to go, but the pollinators are enjoying it so.

I also think they would both make great band names...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thank you!!!

Thanks to everyone who made this year's Green Gala so incredible!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day

For give me for it has been nearly a month since my last entry. What a wild weather month it has been! At the farm the spring bulbs are all up, the beds are cleaned up and cool weather crops are in the ground - peas and radish for now.  The greens are bolting and we have started to harvest over-wintered onions.  Strawberries are in bloom, bushes are leafing out, and perennials are starting to show themselves.  Chicken poop and leaf-gro has been added to the farm beds and over-wintered carrots and lettuce are taking off.

Whew!

Our 5th graders are getting ready to start a soil study unit and from there will begin to plan the garden they will leave for next year's 5th graders.  Crop rotation and companion planting will be the lens through which we plan.  5th graders are also preparing for their own Farmer's Market and hope to have some produce from the farm available.

Don't worry, entries will start happening regularly now that we are in the swing of things again.

Hope to see y'all at the Green Gala this Friday!  http://greengala.wordpress.com

Happy Earth Day!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Food Fun On a Snowy Spring Day

I remember eating many a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato or chicken noodle soup after a morning of sledding or playing in the snow as I grew up.  Later, left to my own devices I can remember the ease of boxed mac and cheese - warm and delicious and easy.

I am also a fan of cheese crackers, like cheez-its.  So how amused was I reading an article about comparing the two nutritionally!  No spoilers here, but here is the link!  Enjoy

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/03/kraft-mac-cheese-dye-annies-cheez

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Urganic

As I perseverate over each year's Farm and garden design I reflect over past year's successes and failures and consider the decisions that may have played a role.  Losses that are created by lack of nutrients, or bad bugs, or disease, or weeds drive me nuts.  And I've always cared about the environment as well as food safety and have looked at balancing it all.

A while back I wrote about coining the term and idea of Urganic, which I also call our Farm and gardens.  I thought that even though we don't use pesticides or herbicides that an occasional dose of a non-organic fertilizer would be okay.  And, I've changed my mind.

The experiment this past growing season didn't produce the results I hoped.  There was no band-aid.  Problems around lack of production or sickly plants or well performing plants had nothing to do with any use of a non-organic fertilizers - which, truth be told, I didn't really do to a great extent.

My fortified belief, through reading and past and current practice, is that production and sustainability in agriculture is created by first growing great soil.  After that it is about controlling the critters and diseases.  Obviously sun and water and pH and temperature and balanced nutrients for the plants are still a key factor too; but no quality soil, no great food production and the further creation of an unbalanced growing environment while contributing to an unhealthy environment.

A great artist needs a well prepared canvas if her work is going to last.  A farmer's canvas is soil, which is truly a diverse living organism.

I'm keeping Urganic in our name (cause we are still an Urban farm and garden oasis) and going back to all organic practices while spending more time growing great soil.

Happy growing!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Potatoes in a Bag

There are many exciting additions and expansions coming to the GSB Farm and Gardens this year.  One crop which is new to me is potatoes and I plan on growing them in bags this year.  There are many ways to grow potatoes and growing them above ground in bags is one of them.

There are commercial potato bags, there are trash bags, and there are potting soil bags.  This year I will experiment with all three.  Six bags, two of each kind, three different potato crops.

I'm excited.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh!? No Snow!

Well that worked out well.  Seems the French forecast was more accurate than ours!  Ooo, la, la - Au revoir!