Thursday, September 25, 2008

STARgarden is proud to present: the Wonky-Doo Salad Bed!Need more beds! Need more beds! This has been the mantra for the past few months. We had problems with timing and weather, equippment, prioritizing, a million other projects needing attention - you name it. But this week it all came together!!!
Adam - the guy you go to when you need to get things done here at Starworks - and I, started on Tuesday, leveling the land with Bobby. We didn't use a level however, just eyeballed it... that's what got the "wonk" going. Adam brought over a bunch of concrete bumpers with Bobby - our signature raised bed building material from way over yonder. He felled a few trees to get to the nice and shiny and semi straight bumpers (we're used up all the old and crumbly ones). This was our 6th bed to build (the biggest so far) and we have downsized the operation from about 6 people to 2. I'd say that's pretty darn pro. And mostly I just got in the way which should tell you something about the level of expertize and sheer muscle power of my better half.On Wednesday, Santiago - who is always ready to lend a helping hand - filled the bed with topsoil and compost, and tilled it into a consistent mix. Santiago has been the tiller operator from day one and if it wasn't for him I'd still be wheeling the compost in with a shovel and wheelbarrow. I had brought 4 lawn bags full of leaf mold from home - since we have not established a supply of brown organic matter in the garden yet (all of you with trees in your yards take note - I NEED THOSE LEAVES this fall!!!) and we tilled that in also just to loosen up our clay soil. It went like a pinch of salt into the ocean...Here's Santiago fastening some landscapers cloth to the bumpers before putting in the "growing medium". We have learned a few things since the first bed built. There was some soil erosion at the corners of the first beds and where the concrete bumpers meet, so I decided to try the landscapers cloth to discourage the runaway soil! We'll see if it does the trick. Go back to the very first picture and you'll also notice the staggered method of layering the bumpers! DUH! Took us laying nearly 100 bumpers to figure that one out! As my father used to repeat to us tirelessly: "Work was what made humans out of monkeys"...

This morning (which was a lot like an Estonian summer day) Adam and I were back in the garden. While Adam bent some scrap electrical conduit (10 points for recycling!) into "loops" for row cover; I transplanted the spinach, arugula, purple mizuna and radicchio I had started a few weeks ago. It was a good overcast day for transplanting with a promise of rain... and extra heavy winds, which made the row cover installation quite challenging. Unfortunately there are no pictures of that process. I was a bit too busy trying to make sure the whole operation wouldn't fly away...
So there!
The whole thing is as Wonky-Doo as can be and I bet it will grow some yummy lettuce for the Starworks Annual Meeting and forever thereon!

Here's Adam and I showing off our latest gardening moves!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Parsley Trouble

Every monday I go straight to the garden to take a critical look at the plants
and make a mental list of chores for the week (in addition to the "bigger plan"
that I keep mulling over in my head and working on).
Today there was 2 more parsley plants that had keeled over and died:( 
The roots were a stinky slimy mush, and the plants had wilted completely. The swallowtail 
butterfly caterpillars are NOTHING compared to whatever has attacked the plants 
now. I actually let the caterpillars munch in peace - they are so adorable and the butterflies
they turn out to be are gorgeous!!!!

It looks like the disease is called (surprise-surprise!) a ROOT ROT. (Fusarium spp. and Rhizoctonia solani)
Right now I don't know what else to do but cross my fingers and hope the last 4 plants will make it a few more months. I've already started new plants and I'll plant them in different beds to see if it will help.

In the spring I want to plant parsley in flower beds too give the caterpillars something to eat and attract more butterflies to the garden. 
Am I crazy????

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

STARgarden Blog Begin!

Well. The first beds are built. The first vegetables grown - AND eaten. 
It is time to start recording what is happening in the STARgarden on a 
regular basis. 

I just added a post on STARworks main blog page. A sort of collage of 
last 7 months of "farm"operating on an old parking lot . To be honest, I did not expect to get so much produce out of such a relatively small plot. I certainly didn't think we'd have enough to sell this first year. But whaddayaknow. Plants grow. And grow more. 

I'll keep posting short notes on STARworks page, but 
wanted to have a separate space for garden only, where I can add more pics and rambling thoughts without boring everyone. SO. If you have more interest in what goes down (literally) in STARgarden, check in here every now and then. 

The latest news is that we have purchased a us
ed greenhouse from Mr. Allen. It looked lonely and in need of someone! It also looked good and sturdy and in good shape with all sorts of bells and whistles, so we decided to stay
 true to one of our visions which is to RECYCLE wherever possible, and bought it used, rather than brand new! 
Yesterday we had great help from Tommy and Johnny, leveling the ground for the greenhouse. 
There is still tons more to do before it can be put up though... plastic to be ordered, watering system figured out and ordered, more beds built, more fall veggies started, flower beds planned and dug for next summer, vermicomposting started... oh, the list keeps growing almost as fast as the plants!