Tuesday, 7 October 2014

SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER at LAKESHORE

For farmers and gardeners, September is the start of the season winding down. Cover crops are sown, food is harvested, and our hot crops are starting to show signs of their nearing end. But at LCI, September is a new beginning. Students return and the garden is once again full of new energy. We started off the month introducing all the grade 9 homerooms to the garden and the great opportunities waiting for them there. Several classes, from French to Science to Art and more, have used the garden as their living classroom. The food prep classes have made use of the fall harvests, and featured some of the produce as part of the cafeteria meals. September FLEW by, and I'm not surprised with all the cool stuff that happened. Here's a recap of the month:

BICYCLE TRELLIS PROJECT

What do you do with all those used bicycle wheels? 




The nature of the bicycle wheel makes it a perfect trellis for climbing plants, so we up-cycled around 50 wheels to give our hops and crops for next year a place to grow.  Thanks to Natalie for all her hard work to get us the grant for this project, and for helping me install them at Lakeshore. In the springtime, we'll be erecting more bicycle trellis projects around the garden.

Thanks to Natalie for helping me put together this awesome project xo!

POTATO HARVEST


Our potato harvest this September was by far, the funnest harvest of the year. It's like digging for nuggets of gold and every potato we unearthed brought us a delightful surprise. We harvested 113 pounds of potatoes out of one 30 foot bed! Not bad, huh? Hopefully, we'll get two successions of potatoes in for next year. 
PO - TAT - OH

Digging for gold!
Hamzah with potato plant

STRAW BALE COMPOST UNIVERSE

Our goal at Lakeshore is to always strive to make our garden as self-sufficient as possible. To do so, we need to make enough compost to supply the entire garden, rather than have truck loads shipped to us. That's a big goal, since we've used around 25 yards of compost in the last two seasons. Last year we put together a 2-bin compost made of straw bales, and now it's overflowing with ready compost. Fall clean up creates a lot of nitrogen for our compost bin, so we transformed a corner of the garden into a compost centre, creating 5 new large bins to house all the green coming our way. So that's 7 yard sized bins in total, plus a 2 yard bin on the south side of the garden. Not to mention the black bins that the city provides. Next season, we'll have to be sourcing nitrogen materials from nearby restaurants to reach our compost goals.

One pick-up truck load is all it takes!
Last year's 2-bin compost gets it's final turn for the season

Seven glorious straw bale compost bins!


The compost building crew

KIMCHI FERMENTATION PROJECT

Last fall we ran a sauerkraut fermentation workshop with Mrs. Benishai's culinary class and experimented with pit fermentation. Check out that blog post HERE to find out what the heck pit fermentation is all about. This year we've run a three day workshop with Mrs. Benishai's class to make kimchi, a spicy Korean fermented cabbage dish.

Nappa Cabbage ready for harvest
Step 1: Harvest the vegetables! Our kim chi includes nappa cabbable, radish, carrots, hakurei turnips, onions, garlic and hot peppers that we harvested from our garden.

Step 2: We chop, mince and slice all said vegetables, and submerge them in a salty brine for a few days.


Step 3: We drained the briny vegetables and added loads of onions, garlic, ginger and spices. If you're going to try this at home, wear gloves because those spices can seriously burn your skin. We press the kim chi under a large plate and some weights to keep it submerged under it's own juices so that the lactic acid bacteria can get to work and start fermenting the veggies anaerobically.



After about 1-2 weeks the kimchi will be ready!


COVER CROPS UPDATE

Holy oats! Look at how lush and full our cover crops are looking! We have over half the garden cover cropped by under-sowing the existing crops. Once our longer standing crops such as tomatoes and peppers come out of the ground, we'll throw in some rye grass, which is able to germinate and grow at lower temperatures. The buckwheat will kill as soon as the frost hits, but likely and as it did last year, the grasses will return in the spring. We'll till them into the soil in April before they get to established, adding organic matter to our soil and instantly feeding the beds.
Arugula under-sown with buckwheat
Radish growing through oats and peas

Buckwheat!

Head Lettuce with oats and peas

Oats and Peas


That buckwheat has really filled in the kale beds







 PLANTS, MARKETS & ALL THE OTHER THINGS

Okra big as I stand!

Brussel's Sprouts, or should I say, Anton's Sprouts



 










 Yes, we made pickles...they're delicious

Ashkay eats sunflowers like an apple
 
You know summer is at it's end once chicory is ready for harvest



Is that rapini? Yes, it is.



Some groovy stuff is already going down this October, so stay tuned for the next (and last!) post of this season. xoxox!

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