Garden Progress On April 5th

On Thursday April 5th our alts group went to the Colten garden. Kim told us that we had a few things to do when I asked him what we were doing today, he must not have wanted to ruin the surprise. When our group arrived, it was pretty chilly and kind of cloudy so it wasn’t exactly the nicest day. It was definitely sweater weather. The first task of the day that Kim told us to do was pulling out most of the weeds from the soil, we grabbed some shovels to loosen the soil and then used gloves to pull them out. At this time, I snapped a few pictures of everyone and also told Broc if he can snap a few on my phone since my phone has better a better camera. We did not get all the weeds out of the soil because Kim said we did not need to completely finish since we were on limited time and needed to start some other projects.
The next thing we did was split into groups and were given some different assignments to take care of. Isabel, Ella, and I were given the compost and basically just had to mix it around. I never usually do the compost because of the mice, but this time I decided to give it a go. Mice are not really my thing, so I always despised doing this. Luckily, this time I did not run into any mice and basically just had to stir the composing soil which was not bad at all. At this time I snapped a few more pictures of people working and the mountains in the background that I always love looking at. That is probably my favorite thing about going up to the Colten garden every time. It really is just super relaxing and peaceful.
My experience was just as good during that blog day. I helped Kim move bricks into a pile which were surrounding an onion garden. Underneath these bricks were dozens of centipedes, some longer than my index finger. I used Alex’s phone to take pictures, unfortunately I forgot to take any of the centipedes. Despite my failed picture attempts our alts group undoubtedly made good progress for the garden. This left us with a quite satisfyingly successful day.

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Onion garden full of tasty chives
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Tear down of that same garden
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Working hard to mix the compost
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Kim giving orders
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The group working on weeds

 

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Planting, Watering, and Filling Holes

By Gabriel Abeyta

On Wednesday, March 28, The Wednesday ALT’s group was at Colten garden. Being a nice and sunny day, neither freezing nor unbearably hot, it was a perfect day to plant. In the greenhouse there are many pots that contain various types of European grain. The greenhouse also had some separate plants created by a youth group who used newspapers as mini pots which were in a larger plastic container. The plastic container was to be filled until the water was as equally distributed to soak each set of newspaper. Last but surely not least, there were some prairie dog holes that needed to be filled in order to keep the plants from being eaten. Although these beautiful little animals are just trying to survive by getting a bite of delicious produce from the garden, they do not often just eat some and go away, they will empty the garden if allowed.  Being the small garden that Colten is, it is necessary to prosper every ounce of what is yielded.

Group Selfie of Wednesday’s Group

 

 

As previously stated, the main goal for us during this time period was to plant. Putting each plant in collums, we dug 2- 3 inch holes and placed each individual plant in its own hole while being about 3 inches apart vertically and about 5 inches apart horizontally.

The half-way mark of the planting process.
The finished product.

 

Although it is difficult to tell, this is a prairie dog hole that Bergen and Jared filled with mulch. Prairie dogs being furry and cute, are also an animal which is very swift in making a lush garden disappear so these acts are justified.

Can not even tell it was there.

 

 

The newspaper pots needed to be watered so that is what I did. Unfortunately one of the plastic containers was cracked so we were unable to water one of the sets being that there were no extra boxes. But for the other ones, a slow and steady watering pace was needed to fill the containers without letting them overflow.

The one on the right was the one that was cracked and drained all the water.
Overall, the experience at Colten garden on this day was enjoyable and the perfect activity to participate in at the beginning of spring.

 

SNAIL Garden and Mulch!

By: Isabella Troggio and Ella Chiappone

On Thursday March 29, 2018 our ALT’s group met at the Snail Garden over on south campus. We had a hard time finding it but we managed to make it in time. This day was particularly nice however there was a little bit of a breeze. While we were at the snail garden Kim gave us a tour of the outside garden and we learned about how the garden buried logs in order to create a hill to cut some of the wind flow that comes towards the area. We also explored inside the greenhouses and everyone in our group got a chance to see what the SNAIL club plants. After our little adventure we all helped Kim and Frits move soil over to Colton garden.

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SNAIL garden sign

There were a few leaves sprouting up from the soil and we decided to taste them. However, Ella ended up getting a splinter and had to get the first aid kit. Kim thankfully helped her get it out and we were back to business.

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Season extender with some sprouting leaves (also the place Ella got her splinter)

Once we got to Colton, we were all split up into different tasks. A few of the students turned the compost while some of the others filled up a bucket with water and began watering the flowers that were beginning to sprout. Once these little house keeping jobs were finished the group started to get into a more manual labor filled job. We were assigned to shoveling mulch and using a wheelbarrow to wheel what we had to spread an equal layer on the ground.

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Isabella picking up the wheelbarrow

Once the sun started to set Kim and Emily gathered all of the ALT students together for a reflection meeting at the picnic table outside of the greenhouse. We discussed what we learned that day and we also planned out a community garden event that we could host at the end of April. After being away from the garden for spring break it was nice for all of us to be back and get to work again!

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Admiring the view after a long day

Forestdale Farm Field Trip

By: Kisni and Acacia

As a class, we all traveled over to Forestdale Farm on Wednesday, March 28th. Located very near to town, down a winding dirt road off of Butler, it was surprisingly accessible. When we arrived we all made our way up the driveway, meeting the personable and friendly Rylan, founder of Forestdale Farm. He proceeded to educate the group about the operations of Forestdale Farm. It is a 2 acre farm, founded 5-6 years ago. It has a healthy following and currently makes most of its revenue through its CSA (community supported agriculture) program and through seasonal markets. Forestdale Farm sells eggs, salad mixes, and other produce. The farm functions quite, requiring minimal input, as it was designed to be as much of a closed system. The farm has chickens, turkeys, fish for aquaponics, and many greenhouses and raised beds. Most structures on the farm were constructed from reclaimed materials, such as old greenhouses, found objects, and military shipping containers.

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One of the many greenhouses
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Raised beds inside a greenhouse

Raised beds dominated the majority of the acreage dedicated to farming, serving to deter pests, conserve water, and aid in the development of soil. Most were covered with hoop structures to allow tarp coverage, protecting the young plants from late frosts. The chickens on the farm play an important role on the farm, providing crucial nutrients to the soil via their waste. The forty or so chickens also provide eggs to the CSA members. The roosters present deter predatory birds from preying on the hens and are also used to breed more chicks. The chickens also consume scraps and control pests on the farm. There is a fourteen or so foot deep pond on the farm, serving as a rainwater catchment and as a home for the catfish and bass kept around to nitrify the water, that is then used for irrigation throughout the season. The pond is much deeper than it is wide, conserving the valuable resource by limiting evaporation.                                                                                                                                       

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Water catchment tank
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The fish pond

The farm was a wonderful example of how polycultures can be employed to benefit a farm for profit. After our tour, Rylan assigned tasks for us to do as small groups. We mulched a driveway area, mulched new paths throughout the farm, wrote out plant labels for the coming season, filled up sandbags to use as tarp weights, and more! We all gathered for a joyful group photo at the end of our time at Forestdale Farm, courtesy of Rylan. It was a lovely experience. Information about the farm and their CSA can be found at https://forestdalefarm.com/ .

Class group photo

Compost Turning,Spreading Pruning, and Mice!

By: Jared and Bergen

 

Today on Wednesday, March 14, 2018  Gabe, Jared, Bergen, and Kim left for Colton Garden as usual at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a perfect day to do some work in the garden with temperatures in the 50s and a few clouds in the sky but plenty of sunshine nonetheless. We started by entering the greenhouse and watering some grains that were sprouting Kim had started in there. Next, we grabbed a hose and filled the last of the water reservoirs in the greenhouse. We learned that the reservoirs are used to keep the greenhouse warm at night by radiating heat is has absorbed throughout the day.   

20180314_135522(Hose filling up the last reservoir in the greenhouse.)

Next, we began watering some spots in the garden where things have been planted and needed watering. We used water from a rainwater trap that sits under one of the gutters of the greenhouse. We watered the season extender area which acts like a mini greenhouse by trapping heat from the sun and allowing us to keep things growing for longer.

(Jared watering the season extender with rain water.)

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Finally, this is where the real work began but we found a surprise! Our final task in the garden was to turn over the first compost bin in order to let it breath. We learned that in order for compost to work successfully it has to have a lot of oxygen in the system. So, we scoop it all out and then shovel it back in to let the stuff on the bottom have a chance to get oxygen. While scooping it out Jared said he saw something moving in the corner and it turned out to be mice!

(The mice we found in the corner of the compost bin)
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(Bergen Shoveling Compost)

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After, shoveling in the remainder of the compost we moved on to removing all the compost from the third bin and transferring it to the Monsoon Garden. This took several wheelbarrow loads but after figuring out the wheelbarrow tire was flat we switched it out with a better one making our lives much easier. Once we moved it all into the Monsoon Garden we spread it around with rakes and moved woodchips back on top to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

(Jared spreading compost in the Monsoon Garden with a rake.)

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Growing Collages

Blog 3/16/18: Collages

Written by Ash Alegria and Sam Pelsma

It was a cold, windy day with high chances of snow on Friday the 16th. The wind was seemingly nipping at your skin and because of this chilly weather during this particular meeting, we decided to work inside the Gabaldon Hall lobby. We ended up bringing some snacks, some that were even vegan, to keep us comfortable as well. This meetup would end up being a very relaxing one where we learned about each others personal thoughts.

 

Kim had brought supplies for our small group that morning to create collages that resembled what growing communities meant to us. We were all given the option to choose whichever magazines we wanted from the pile in order to cut out and create our collages. The group also chose what kind of background paper they desired, they could choose between a variety of fun and colorful patterns. Our main goal was to gather as many meaningful pictures, words, quotes, and phrases that we could that all related back to the main theme. The Alts groups spend most of their time creating their collages before Kim and Emily decided it was a good time to share our creations and discuss what they meant.

The team shared many common themes on the class and sustainability in general; whether, it be the fact that people who rely on gardening their own food usually live a healthier lifestyle, reducing waste helps the Earth as well as the inhabitants that live on it in many ways, and the fact that communities are formed because of the shared interests in forming a healthy environment for themselves and those around them.

We eventually am had finished up presenting our collages and decided that it was a good time to end our meeting. We were all allowed to take our creations home for the purpose of reflection and for a bigger goal that the creator could possibly accomplish in the future.

 

Warners

`Alex Root

Tristen Joens

Blog Post

 

Warner’s Nursery and Landscape is a really nice plant gardening store. They are very helpful to people who want to learn more about the exciting world of gardening. The store is amazing, selling a large variety of different kinds of plants. You can either buy them from a seed and start them yourself, or you can select a plant that the team has already started ono for you! In our past class, a representative of Warner’s, Alex, came over to discuss with us a little about themselves and the plants.

 

Alex began the presentation by discussing how to start an indoor garden. She explained that, herbs can be kept inside for an extended period of time. The amount of water that each plant needs varies, but they all need a lot of sunlight. Some common options to start inside include: basil, rosemary, and mint. Indoors is the best place to start planting veggies. However, they will end up needing to be planted outside. Veggies, also, require more water than herbs. Alex says one of the most important things to keep in mind is deciding which indoor plant to care for, and how much effort and time you are willing to put in. Plants with more colorful leaves, or flowers need more water and light. The greener the leaves, the more light and water is needed to sustain them.