This week we hosted E3’s basil seed planting social and got a couple extra hands helping out at the garden. Shout out to E3! We also started our compost experiment. Cloudy, our Compost Queen, has designated Alpha for our hot compost, see more deets in the compost entry. We also got bit of seed sowing done (yay radishes, carrots and onions!) as well as covered some weeding.
10. (Seed Sowing) We planted carrots and onions in the bed yesterday. Facing the numbered side of the bed, with your back to the picnic table, the left side of the bed is a mix of Scarlet Nantes carrots and Tokyo long White-Bunching Onions; the right side has six lengthwise rows alternating the same varieties of onions and carrots starting with onions closest to the numbered side of the bed (your vantage point). Before seeding, we turned the soil with water, added soil from the pile between the pine trees, added blood meal, leveled and topped of with an inch of Wynbrandt compost.
4. (Seed Sowing + Plant Progress) The radishes we planted last week have begun to sprout, particularly the southernmost row. This is most likely because it’s closest to the border of the bed and gets more shade from the bed’s lip. The row of peas we planted on the northern side of the bed were completely unearthed through erosion and the seeds were baked dry. We collected the unearthed peas and are soaking them at Steven’s place for a couple days to hopefully rejuvenate them. We planted more radishes in their place and added a tarp to cover both them and the center row of seedlings because shade clearly helps these guys get going. We also now know to really make sure pea seeds are deep in the soil, not just sprinkled on the surface and covered in a quarter inch of compost like we do for kale seeds, etc.
5. (Plant Progress) The kale from two weeks ago is still doing spectacularly, the eastern side (where we used our own fresh Dig compost) leading the way with the western side (old Wyndbrandt compost) lagging behind a little in development. Both plots have developed a proliferation of cotyledons, the baby leaves of a seedling, and are now starting to give way to adult leaves. What we think we want to do is harvest the more mature adult leaves before they get too big. We can’t let them mature too far because of how densely packed they are, but we want to try to get them old enough so that they’ll produce a second harvest when clipped.
3A. (Plant Progress) The nasturtiums we planted three weeks ago are doing very well. We plucked some weeds (we suspect nightshade) which were beginning to sprout throughout the bed.
12. (Plant Progress) The butter crunch lettuce from five weeks ago is still doing great, it should be about ready for harvest anytime soon. Nothing else we planted in the bed, not the butter head lettuce planted at the same time nor the sweet mace herb planted three weeks ago, has shown any progress. Neither of these crops received the shade that the butter crunch did, so we know if we’re going to start seedlings in the beds (at least for most varieties), we need to add a tarp. So that’s going on the to-buy list, more tarps for covering beds.
1. (Plant Progress) The onions and rainbow swiss chard we planted three weeks ago are progressing slowly. The soil was a bit dry, so maybe we need to give them a tad more water.
3. (Plant Progress) Same update as bed #1, the cabbage and onions from three weeks ago are progressing slowly. Soil needs a bit more water.
13. The herb bed is nice and neat and going fairly strong; we could probably plant some more. There’s a fair amount of free space open.
8. A few nasturtiums have sprouted unaided in the bed, probably left over seeds from when we had nasturtiums in there last year. The soil level in this bed is still really low and we’ve been meaning to add more to it. We’ll most likely let the nasturtiums be and replant them when we get around to adding more soil to this bed.
We started our compost experiment yesterday. We at the garden are trying to establish our own hot compost pile that will be able to process large amounts of waste produced on and around the hill and supply us with nice, usable compost. As far as we’ve established, we need both a steady carbon and nitrogen source for the hot compost, and we need a lot of the two elements. For this first round, our carbon source came from the large bin of sawdust we had left over from constructing the beds. We also used the dried trimmings that have been piling up between the two compost bins. We realize we need to establish a more reliable carbon source for future rounds. As far as nitrogen sources go, we are relying on food scraps. We have weekly donations from members who bring their scraps from their apartments and dorms, but to get the bin going we really need a much larger quantity. Yesterday we mixed in what food scraps we had and the remains of the Alpha bin in with our sawdust and trimmings, but we are in contact with the dining halls to see if we can get a hold of the waste from their salad booths which could really get us into business. The designated experimental bin is the rectangular one, named Alpha. We were going to use Vader, but it fell apart under the pressure from all the compost. We have a few weeks to wait and mix the contents of Alpha until it gets up to temperature, as well as adding a degree more of nitrogen rich ingredients, but in the mean time we ask all members that they DO NOT TOUCH ALPHA WITHOUT FIRST CONTACTING CLOUDY. We want to keep the experiment under control as much as possible for compost can be a very temperamental thing. We are now encouraging food scraps into Vader, the cylindrical compost bin, to which we’ll add trimmings as it develops to prevent against the accumulated smell.
Pomelo Tree: We did a bit of weeding around the base of the pomelo tree, as well as cleared it of leaf litter, to try and help it get as much water to its roots as possible as it embarks on the long and difficult journey to regrow its foliage. We weren’t sure whether or not trees benefit from mulch around their base or if the soil needs to be cleared to let the roots breath. We are going to do a bit more research on that point; some observation of trees around campus shows mulch cover.
Fence: We made an effort to fix the born parts of the fence today, but were quickly deterred by the fact that we don’t have a screwdriver! The bamboo is not only tied together, but screwed together. It’s sturdier than it may appear!
Suggestions for next week: