Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Link to MSU student organic farm: http://www.msuorganicfarm.com/
Beds in the green house are filled with healthy kale, chard, sunflowers, tomatoes, and lettuce greens that were started at the beginning of January! The program is expanding with discussion of starting an orchard nearby the garden. Those interested in getting their hands dirty more than two days a week with us can help out at the Adventure Tuesday evenings from 5 to 7 pm at Tappan Middle School. Elissa (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), the program director, told me that they will be doing Tuesday evening work from now until October! Google map (or Mapquest, etc) this address to find the sweetest route that works for you to get gardening!
Tappan Middle School
2251 E Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(The garden is behind the school on the soccer field.)
Note: AA has an ongoing fundraiser, where they are selling tickets for a garden tour that happens on June 13. More details can be found here: http://agrarian.dreamhosters.com/agrarianadventure/?q=node/77
Jeremy, one of the managers of the MSU student organic farm, was at the workday yesterday and he mentioned that the Sustainable Agriculture and Education Association (http://sustainableaged.org/) is having a national conference July 15-17 in Ames, Iowa. Student farms as well as other groups/farms around the country that promote sustainable agriculture will come together to discuss their successes, failures, and how best to move forward collectively. Deadline for early registration is July 1 so if interested look into it now!
I went by Ginsberg yesterday and the potatoes, spinach and radishes are doing really well. The warm weather vegetables seem like they are still recovering from their transplanting, but these recent rains are a definite help.
Instructions are here. The egg carton is biodegradable, so you can cut apart the compartments and plant them directly in the ground.
Also, Alex says that his housemate uses toilet paper tubes cut in half (also biodegradable) to start his seeds. Try it!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Image of frost burn (not taken at Ginsberg)
Frost burn does not necessarily mean the plant is doomed. If the burned part of the plant is cut from the plant, it has a chance to recover. In our case, however, the plants were very small and completely burned. Although we transplanted these plants after the USDA frost date, that date is a guideline and not iron clad in their certainty about climatic conditions year to year. For this reason it is good to check weather forecasts to assess frost risk and take steps to protect frost intolerant plants. A common tactic would be to cover the vulnerable plants with a sheet or tarp at night to trap the heat collected by the soil during the day. If the plants are in containers simply moving them inside before the frost hits should be fine.
We are having drop in hours today from three to four this afternoon. We are going to install PVC piping underground that we are going to put the water barrel hose through so it can reach the garden while being out of the way of the U of M grounds lawn mowers. Also we are going to replace the lost plants by transplanting. I plan on making a dent on the garlic mustard patch that is on the grounds because it appears that the patch is sending seeds into the garden plots and the herb spiral. Garlic mustard is a very prolific invasive species that produces allelochemcials that harm mycorrhizal fungi which are vital for many plants to fix nitrogen into the soil thereby inhibiting other plants’ growth. When weeding garlic mustard be sure to not place the plants in the compost because it is known to seed even if uprooted and also be sure to introduce a diverse mix of native species into the newly cleared area to fill the niche that was vacated.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
In late April, we planted potatoes, spinach, onions, radishes, and carrots. They have all started to sprout especially the radishes which needed to be thinned on the workday.
The healthy cover crop of Rye grass that we pulled went straight into our compost bins. We turned the newly formed piles and watered them down to aid in the establishment of the microbial community that will break down the plant matter into humus-rich compost.