Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Late Fall, 2009, Sweet Little Garden

Gillian’s log for week of October 25-31, 2009:

Good evening!

The garden was a great success this year and has been put to bed for the winter.  I wanted to let you know the greens are still growing, so please pick them and eat them freely!

I planted rye and red clover for the cover crop, so next spring please plow those into the soils and plant transplants directly into it.  The clover will add nitrogen to the soil and the rye, when plowed into the soil, will stop seeds from germinating, so transplants get a jump start on the weeds!  I did not, however, plant cover crops in the rows with the greens (spinach, arugula, and kale), so after they're done you're welcome to plant the cover crops, or just let them go until the spring (letting the greens be the cover crops).  The onion row also doesn't have a cover crop because it had grown over and couldn’t be weeded; it should be okay to leave for the winter and just till it along with the rest of the rows in the spring.

The garlic has been planted and mulched on the 3rd row from the north.  It should be ready around July next year!
2009 Okanis Garden Planting Plan

50 Basil (Opal and Italian Large Leaf)
Peppers (25 Gourmet Green/Orange; 25 Snapper Green/Red)
Cherry Tomatoes (25 Yellow Mini; 25 Sun Gold)
Onions (Candy Yellow, Mars Red, Superstar White)

Rows, from north to south:

(Russian Mammoth Sunflowers)
- Snap bush beans - Painted Corn/Yard Long Pole Beans/birdhouse gourds
(+other unproductive crops of honey dew melon, eggplant, lemon cucumber)

- Yukon Gold Potatoes (1st crop) - Kale (2nd crop)

- Rose Finn Apple Potatoes (1st crop) - Garlic (2nd crop, planted October, 2009)

[Outdoor classroom space, on sod]

- Summer Savory Herbs - Yard Long Pole Beans - Trellised Japanese Black Trifele Heirloom Tomatoes

- Culinary Sage Herbs - Trellised Yellow Bell Plum Heirloom Tomatoes - Trellised Valencia Heirloom Tomatoes - Trellised Japanese Black Trifele Heirloom Tomatoes (about 100 plants)

- Mexican Tarragon Herbs - Trellised Cherry Tomatoes

- Culinary Sage Herbs - Pickling Cucumbers (1st crop) - Spinach (2nd crop)

[Outdoor classroom space, on sod]

- Arugula (2nd crop) - King Richard Leeks - Onions (3 kinds)

- Kale (2nd crop) - Arugula (2nd crop) - Basil - Sweet Peppers

- Cosmos and Zinnias
(+unproductive Yellow Crookneck Squash)

A suggested plan for next growing season based on organic crop rotation practices:

Rows starting from the South end (neared the parking lot)-

Garlic (already planted in 2/3rds)/Beans
Cherry Tomatoes

It was a wonderful couple of months and I hope the garden flourishes next year!  
Late in October, as Gillian and Laurie stood in the shed doorway, watching a light rain begin to fall on the cover crops, Gillian proclaimed, “What a sweet little garden!”

October, 2009, Putting the Garden to Bed

Prairie Moon parent and sculptor Matt Burke began constructing a bamboo screen for the rain tank system (left). Also, here is a picture showing how the cattle panels (for tomato and squash rows) fit together (right).

The week of October 11-17-, 2009, Gillian drained the rain tanks and removed the tank hoses, pulled dried plants out of the garden, and removed all hoses and t-tape.

Gillian, Rick, and Laurie took down and stored the cattle panels and stakes on Oct. 18. Between October 18 and 24, 2009, Gillian moved all hoses indoors and took inventory of garden supplies.

Grades’ Closet-
1 Warren Hoe
1 Loop Hoe
1 Spring Rake
1 Dandelion Digger
1 4-Tine Fork
1 Garden Cultivator
1 Shovel
3 Trowels
1 Shear
1 Fish Emulsion Sprayer
1 Garden Weeder
1 Level Head Rake
1 Manifold Hose
10 Spigots on Manifold Hose
10 Quick Releases on Manifold Hose
10 Drip Tapes
1 Nozzle Head
1 Rain Gauge Gradesʼ Closet
Saved heirloom tomato seeds (Japanese Black Trifele, Valencia, Yellow Bell Plum) and yard long pole bean seeds
Leftover rye seed for cover crop
Two bushel baskets

Behind Shed-
8 T-Posts (green, shorter length for tying plants with twine)
22 Cow Panels
28 Stakes

Kitchen Pantry-
4 Shop Lights
8 Shop Light Bulbs
1 Scale
1 Scoop

October 4-10, 2009, Gleaners’ Special/Checkers Grocery Store

Gillian’s weekly log from October 4-10, 2009:

Good morning!

This week marked the last week for the CSA and the first frost!

harvested the last of the bell peppers
harvested the last of the green tomatoes
harvested the last of the yard long pole beans
harvested cherry tomatoes
harvested leeks

harvested kale, spinach and arugula
harvested sage

In the Okanis CSA bag this week:
“Gleaners' Special”
Mixed Fall Greens (kale, spinach), Arugula, Green Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers, Yard Long Pole Beans, Leeks, Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomato Seeds, Basil Sage Savory, Flowers, e-recipe (Arugula Pesto With Fried Green Heirloom Tomatoes)

Final sale of the season:
40 lbs of green tomatoes to Checkers grocery store. Thank you, Checkers!

Weather for the week:
high was 72, low 30.  Precipitation: 1.32 inches

October, 2009, Fertile Minds from Fertile Soils

During the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, October 3-4, 2009, visitors learned of the precious soils which inspired the establishment of the Okanis Garden. Capability Class 1 agricultural soils (United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service) equal 2.8% of all the soils in Douglas County, Kansas; Capability Class 2 soils equal 8.2%; for a total of 11% of the soils with no or few limitations.

The Prairie Moon school grounds consist of Capability Class 1 soils, specifically Rossville Silt Loam–deep alluvial soils, deposited through both geologic and historic flooding. These soils, with 80”-90” topsoil of silt loam, are supremely suited for sustainable agriculture and the production of fruits and vegetables. As Capability Class 1, the soils have no limitations that restrict growing capabilities. Capability classes 3 through 8 indicate progressively greater limitations and narrower choices for practical use.

“If you eat, soil is your business. Learn what good soil looks, feels, and smells like.” –Michael Ableman

The Ground We Walk On. It’s one of nature’s most perfect contradictions: a substance that is ubiquitous but unseen; humble but essential; surprisingly strong but profoundly fragile. It nurtures life and death; undergirds cities, forests and oceans; and feeds all terrestrial life on earth. It is a substance few people understand and most take for granted. Yet, it is arguably one of the Earth’s most critical natural resources–and humans, quite literally owe to it their very existence.” –Tamsyn Jones

October 3-4, 2009, Kaw Valley Farm Tour

During the weekend of October 3 and 4, 2009, the Okanis Garden was one of 19 local farms featured on the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Farm Tour hosts included the Kansas State Research & Extension, Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Community Mercantile, the Community Mercantile Educational Foundation, and Live Well Lawrence. An estimated 250 farm tourists visited the Okanis Garden and a Prairie Moon Waldorf School open house. Visitors were shown the water-conserving drip irrigation system, heavy mulching practices, rain barrel system, soils display, and worm bin. The University of Kansas Center for Sustainability recruited students interested in local foods to help escort garden visitors: Hope and Katy (not pictured), Margaret and Cindy, Zuozhou, Nancy, and Caleb. On evaluation forms, farm tour visitors scored the Okanis Garden an average of 4.7 on a scale of 5, with 4 being “good” and 5 being “excellent.”

The farm tour was reviewed in Farm Talk: Regional Weekly Agricultural Newspaper. In an October 13, 2009, article: “Area agriculture highlighted on Kaw Valley Farm Tour,” Nora Cleland wrote, “One of the most unusual tour stops was at the Prairie Moon Waldorf School Market Garden, north of Lawrence. The 50 pupils in the private school, pre-school through fifth grade, have a large vegetable and flower garden which serves as an outdoor classroom. Volunteers oversee the teaching project which is financed through grants. The children sell the produce and flowers locally to the organic foods market, independent natural foods restaurants and the Farmers’ Market in Lawrence. Irrigation is from rain water collected off the roof of the school.”

October 1, 2009, Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund Grant Report

On October 1, 2009, a final grant report was submitted to the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund (ESEF) at the Douglas County Community Foundation. An ESEF grant, awarded in late 2008, established the Okanis Garden, a collaborative project of partners Prairie Moon Waldorf School and Citizens for Responsible Planning (CRP). The Okanis market garden was developed on the school grounds, rated Capability Class 1 agricultural soils. The garden now serves as an outdoor classroom for a newly developed nature curriculum. The garden succeeded with every proposed goal, including educating about soils and water, selling produce to local grocery stores and restaurants, providing school snacks and lunches, appearing at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market, and becoming a featured farm on the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. The Okanis Garden is unique in that it combines soil science, the local food movement, and the emphasis on nature in Waldorf education. The grant funded a part-time garden manager position and utilized volunteers from Prairie Moon and CRP. It also provided the funds to purchase garden tools and hardware such as a kitchen scale for weighing produce for sale at market and to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) customers. Thank you, Beth Schultz!

October 1, 2009, Field Trip To The Merc!

On October 1, 2009, Chef Sula Teller invited Prairie Moon students for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Community Mercantile Deli, a key Okanis Garden partner. Weekly during 2009, the Merc Deli purchased produce from the Okanis Garden, transforming the vegetables and herbs into delectable deli dishes. During the store visit, one of the students made the final Okanis delivery of the season: four ounces of sage. For the students, Sula used a graphic to show the local food cycle, from garden to customer. As a thank-you for the tour, the students played Sula a song on wooden flutes.