Tuesday, 29 April 2014

PEA'S STAY SPRING WE MISSED YOU!

APRIL AT JPCI

Ohhh i do not need to tell you all but it has been a long winter for us all. Starting work in the greenhouse in February helped a little but nothing can bring the same joy as finally planting those first seeds outside, turning over your green manures, getting the compost steaming, and planning and planting out this seasons amazing seedlings. With a later start then usual this season we have really had to push ourselves into overdrive. Our window of prepping beds and planting has been shortened by weeks, we are still waiting for the first buds to open here. All the help from students, past volunteers, community members and buds is already transforming the space and everyone is taking notice! We have 6 varities of peas planted (we have !shiraz! peas this year a snap purple variety) garlic is almost 4 inches tall, we have been munching on our overwintered kale and spring chives! Radish, rainbow labyrinths of lettuce, and leeks are nestled away germinating and growing with the recent heavy rains. Our composter already full of dragnfruit, vetch cuttings, and all the gardens odds and ends is running "hot" at 160 degrees Fahrenheit! We have moved almost a ton of compost and leaf mulch into all the perennial beds which are wiggling with life. We cant be more excited for this season and hope to see you all up here at least once or twice!
Chives Blasting Away the Winter!

As all of winters feet of ice and snow melt we are left with some very wet and mucky beds!
Another thing to do in spring is to prepare your perennial beds! Its a really good idea to leave your perennial stalks up during the winter it allows you to know where your plants will be coming up during the spring. The flower/seed heads provide very important fats and nutrients to all the overwintering birds and the stalks provide place for insects to overwinter. During the spring its really good to cut these down and to allow the new growth room and light. Here are some photos and tips to how we dealt with our perennial beds. 

How to deal with those Perennials 

First thing to do is to cut down all of the stalks and
flower heads from last year put these aside because you
will need them. Wear gloves! you never know if there
is thistle hiding!


Take a mulch (we are using a leaf
compost that had sat all winter) spread
this thickly across the bed.
close up of the mulch; its okay to use a thicker mulch
alot of native perennials are very hardy and will come
up through almost anything


Lotsa Worms! Even though they arent native to
North America the more 
Break up the flower heads and stalks finely
and sprinkle all over the bed. This will add more
seed to the bed and will give you a place to put
all your woody stems. 

Greenhouse

This year we have grown all of our seedlings via soil blocking. We cant advocate this method of growing enough! It produces almost none of the waste that growing thousands of seedlings in plastic containers produce. It takes much less space each tray holds 50 seedlings. I mean it saves a ton of space 50-4 inch pots is kinda like this photo of public transportation. Cars are bad, Plastic is Bad! Soil blocking also makes transplanting your plants easier the blocks air prune the roots so you don't get dense root balls that cause a lot of transplant shock. You make your own soil mixes which allow you complete control! You can buy soil in bulk and use your own homemade screened compost!  

cabbage and collards looking great!

Tomatoes just coming up!

Make sure seven to ten days before you want to plant out that you start hardening off your seedlings
This process involves slowly acclimating your seedlings to the sun, wind, varying temperature, and wind.
This is the most important step if you plant your seedlings straight outside the weather can kill them instantly.
Once you have all your cool weather crops out you will need to "pot up" your tomatoes eggplants peppers and other warm weather crops. Another reason soil blocking is the best because potting up is too easy! Our starter blocks are 2 inch cubed, once the plants have outgrown the blocks you just take your 4 inch blocker which creates an indent the exact size of the previous blocks. All you do is place the block into the bigger block..done. Its like legos!

one of the finished 4 inch blocks

New Cargo Bike

Thanks to Bike Pirates (a local bike repair Co-Op) and lotsa awesome friends PACT now has a metallic blue cheetah bullitt cargo bike. These bikes are the real deal fast, light, and efficient we can now move produce and goods all around the city!


five straw bales? No Problem!

HOMEMADE SYRUP and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR are all part of being an Urban Farmer










HARD WORKING!

Spring is the busiest time of the year in the garden we need as much help as we can get and would love to see all of your faces. The work done now multiplies itself ten fold throughout the season. So much thanks to everyone who has already been up and working hard. We love you!


 

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