Mystic Harvest October 19th, 2016 by Christian Kalos & Matt Glenn

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For this class period, we had guest speakers Kate and Mike visit who are in a duo band called Mystic Harvest.  Mike is a naturopathic doctor at Root Natural Health in downtown Flagstaff and specializes in natural medicines.

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Kate discussed how she used to work at the Colton Community Garden and then the entire class talked about ways in which we can improve the garden.   She told us all the ways she lives sustainably and things that we can do ourselves in order to be more sustainable.

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They brought in jars of Calendula that they would make into a topical treatment to heal cuts and wounds.  This is one of many ways of how to use the earth for natural medicine.  This might be something that Mike might use as a natural remedy.

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This is the Calendula in a topical form.

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Kate and Mike sang one of their songs for us called Listen to the River of Life .  Kate played the acoustic guitar while Mike played the mandolin.  You can find there bands page at  https://www.facebook.com/mysticharvestmusic/

Colton Community Garden

During our garden hours this week we were able to harvest a lot of vegetables.  We were shocked that so many veggies were still growing this late in the season!  We harvested carrots, beets, tomatoes, fava beans, swiss chard, arugula and kale.  We also were able to water the plants that were still producing.

We even got to eat some of the food too!  It was surprising that all the food was so flavorful, even with it being so late in the season and having had frosts already.

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Austin indulging in a juicy tomato in the greenhouse

In addition to eating the veggies, we also watered the kale, carrots, beets and arugula in the Monsoon Garden.

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Joanie is watering the arugula
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Austin is collecting rainwater that was stored to water the plants
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A fava bean that we harvested and eventually consumed

 

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A beet that we harvested from the ground

Overall, it was a successful day at the Colton Community Garden.  We are happy to see the vegetables still producing and we have so much arugula that we don’t know what to do with it all!

By: Joanie Strattman and Madi Skansi

Aspen Nature Trail Trip by Christian Kalos & Matt Glenn

On October 14th, we drove up towards Mount Humphreys and explored the forest.    

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This forest is mainly made up of Aspen trees, which are connected underground through their roots.  Because their roots are all connected through their roots, we could see a trail of trees that change color at the same time. 

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We saw many fallen trees throughout the forest.  It was interesting to see how the trees fell through many years and lay naturally on each other.  

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As the seasons start to change, the leaves fall off the trees and gather on the ground everywhere you look.   

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Everyone found a spot to relax, these are some of the many beautiful spots.  

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As we were driving up the mountain we were lucky enough to see a family of deer off to the side of the road in the forest. 

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This was an amazing scenic view that we got to see.  We got to see the trails of the changing Aspen trees.  

Apsen Corner Trip

Today was an unusual day for the class because we did not go to the garden but instead took a trip into our own psyches. We started by driving up to aspen corner. This time of year the trees were a beautiful fall yellow with many leaves scattered across the floor. Our first task was to reflect upon ourselves and determine how the year was going for each of us. Each one of us spent some time by ourselves in the woods, whether it was admiring the sun kissed leaves or closing our eyes while resting upon a branch. Afterwards we went up to a flatland area in order to see the sun set.img_4058img_4066

Here we have Nicole giving instructions about our self reflection.img_4084

Yessenia decides to sit on a rock and write her thoughts down. img_4086 Laura relaxes on a branch while contemplating her thoughts. img_4096

This was us sitting around while we wait for the sun to set.

Mercado De Los Sueños Apple Cider

Our class had the pleasure of visiting The Market of Dreams on October 5th. Once we arrived we split into 3-4 groups to preform various tasks. Two groups spent their time cutting apples and removing the wormy pieces. Another group helped Ward set up the apple press. The fourth group consisted of students who currently weren’t working on a project, and so they explored the shop. Inside, there were handmade products including candles, scarves, pinatas and more.

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Slicing and organizing the apples was a very quick process. The apples were dunked into a bucket of water prior to sorting. Each student carefully, yet efficiently, divided the apples into clean and rotten piles. Before we knew it, we had two buckets filled with apple slices ready for grinding.

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Before pressing the apples, Ward tossed the prepared apple slices into a homemade wooden grinder. Afterwords the apples were softer, more compact and easier to press. He then constructed a tower made of three apple layers separated by wooden mats. Even before he started pressing, the apples had already begun to release their juices. Ward then added a stabilizer atop the mats, followed by two cinder blocks to reach the height of the crank. He added pressure to the apple layers by pulling the level which resulted in a little over a gallon of cider.

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Everyone was able to taste the fresh apple cider. It was unlike anything you could purchase from a store. I believe we were all quite thankful to be a part in the creation of such a treat.  Ward also had an assortment of dried apple slices for us to sample. They encompassed everything wonderful about an apple in a tiny sliver.

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After saying our thanks, the class concluded the day by dining at La Fonda’s Mexican Restaurant. We discussed future projects and shared nachos. Everyone seemed pleased.

By: Shaelin Wood & Kendall Parkins

Autumn Chores in the Garden

 

We began ALT’s hours on Friday with Jacey’s presentation on integrated pest management and Fritz’s garden bed. Fritz’s garden bed uses IPM to maintain acceptable pest levels. The two primary methods of control are mechanical and biological. Mechanical control  involves simply removing pests by hand or with traps.  Biological control uses beneficial insects like ladybugs to naturally eliminate pests. Pests should be monitored

img_3737regularly and their numbers recorded. Jacey also mentioned the importance of growing plants that are well suited to their environment and responsibly using pesticides as needed. Afterwards, students pulled dead plants from Fritz’s garden and tidied up.

Students also worked on composting and seed saving. There are three different bins where composting takes place. The bin on the far left is for fresh food scraps and debris. The other two bins are for turning over the compost. It needs to be turned about every other week when the temperature reaches between 120º and 160º Fahrenheit.

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Pictured below is a collection of banana peels, orange peels, eggshells, tea bags, apple cores and other food scraps that were dumped into the compost bin to begin forming nutrient rich soil.

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Matt, Leslie and Christian carefully collect Hopi Tobacco seeds for next year. They pinch below the dried pods to ensure that they do not burst before they can harvest them. img_3719

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Dried bean pods are gathered next. Soggy ones are avoided and the rest are saved. We ended the day by tasting some tomatillos and covering the kale with black tarps.

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 By: Shaelin Wood & Kendall Parkins

Working Together in the Colton Community Garden

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When we first got to the Colton Community Garden, a double rainbow formed over the garden due to the rain we had experienced earlier in the day. Thankfully, the rain cleared up and we were able to spend time working in the garden.

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Bridgette and Yessenia took turns mixing the compost, this must be done about every week or every other week to make sure that the compost does not overheat.

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We had to check the temperature of the compost to make sure it was between 120℉ and 160℉. The reason this temperature is so important is because after 160℉ the organisms in the compost stop serving their purpose.

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While turning the compost one of the students, Bridgette, found a worm and decided to pick it up. We were then explained the importance of worms to the composting process.

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Austin and Joanie spent the day weeding the garden, a task that must be done in order for our plants to thrive. Any plant can be a weed if it is growing in an area that it is unwanted, so they had to be careful to only pull what they were supposed to.

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For one of our garden projects, our group is building a new self wicking garden bed. This is a raised bed that supply water from the bottom up. Today, we figured out the dimensions of our bed, as well as how much lumber, rock, and soil we need to complete our project.

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After we were done with the gardening work for the day, we took time to study our different garden topic presentations that will take place later in the semester. Our Graduate Assistant Nicole also taught us some of the important do’s of  gardening. Some gardening tips we learned about include: consider your space, assess abiotic and biotic factors, pay attention to growing seasons, avoid GMOs, consider companion planting, and asses your soil. These tips will come in handy when starting a garden  of our own.

By: Hailey Bryant and Zach Prusinski