Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Here is a link to an event at Willamette University. The main speaker will be Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm Inc. Joel is a sustainable farmer that is challenging as well as pushing the food system towards a more local food culture. He is also known as the "lunatic farmer". Join us on February 12 at WU!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It about that time!

With spring approaching, the days becoming longer and the sun shining I thought we could share some ideas with you all. The nice weather this weekend will allow you to go out and turn that soil, unless you practice no-tilling methods or lasagna gardens.

If you have chickens this is a good time to let them peck around the garden and do the work for you. They do a great job of turning up the soil, making a tiny mess, eating all those small shinny slug eggs and other bugs but most of all they will be much happier running around.

To start planning for planting this season, I am attaching a couple links below. The first is for the OSU extensions monthly gardening calendar. The second is a nice, one-page spread for planting dates produced by Portland Nursery.

Hope this helps, especially to those new to gardening!




Thursday, January 10, 2013

There's fungus among us...

Over the past few weeks, Ian has been growing some gourmet mushrooms. This is a trial run project for Planting Communities to see how we can provide another source of sustainability and nutrition to our families and community.

The adventure started with a Back to the Roots mushroom starter kit (see www.backtotheroots.com if interested). The process is simple and straight forward: take out the bag, cut a "t" into it, submerge the bag in water for 12 hours, put the bag back in the box and mist twice daily. Although you are supposed to have mushrooms in ten days, this bag took longer to form mushrooms. Ian believes it is due to the cooler temperature of his house, based on his research in some Paul Stamets books. However, they are in full force after 14 days, and will be ready for consumption in the next day or so.

Once these are harvested the process can be repeated at least one more time from this same bag. Ian claims when the bag is finished he will look into the possibility of using the "waste" as chicken feed or solely as compost.

Just days before Ian started his Back to the Roots mushroom kit, Brad stopped by his house with a special delivery...two shiitake blocks donated from a local grower!!! Brad thought Ian would know what to do with the blocks and Ian was excited to take on the challenge. In the past Ian grew shiitakes in his living room as a coffee table center piece. You can only imagine the conversation this conjured up with his guests. So now he is be doing again, years later.

The process is similar to that of the Back to the Roots mushroom kit: submerge the block for 12-48 hours, remove and place the block on a wire rack, mist and keep the humidity levels high to force pinning (the formation of the mushroom itself), and wait 10 or so days.

Both kits have been a success and Ian looks forward to cultivating more mushrooms and encouraging others to do the same as a supplemental part of ones diet. Many gourmet mushrooms are said to have medicinal properties and also be a good source of protein. After all, many indigenous nations claim it is closer to meat than plants, and amazingly enough years later fungi were actually found to be closer related to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A winter work day!

Around nine a.m., January 3, 2013 on a chilly Thursday morning San Juana and Erubiel awaited Ian and his rig. Shortly there after, Ian showed up in the ol' Red Reggie. Together they loaded the back of ol' Red Reggie with soil from PCUN. Even though it sunny and clear, it was cold and freezing. However a little movement and everyone started to warm up. Once the ol' Red Reggie was full San Juana and Ian headed to Washington elementary to do finish the rest of a little winter work!

With the soil from PCUN Ian and San Juana topped off the old beds. Thanks to Erubiel the 2"x 6" boards were ready to be hammered into new garden beds. With San Juana's help Ian assembled the garden beds; one 2' x 8' and anther 4' x 4'. With the remaining soil the 4' x 4' bed was filled, plus some added compost from the adjacent compost pile. More soil is needed but the garden is well underway for the 2013 growing season.

The next goals for the Washington garden are some movable benches, another couple beds, more soil, some garden art, a couple chalkboard areas for learning and planning, and last but not least a comfortable seating area to relax and enjoy the garden. Stay tuned for work days!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Happy new year to all! We look forward to planting, growing, harvesting, working and learning with you all in 2013. Thanks for all the support! Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities, workshops and new garden ideas!