Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A bit of color.

Busy times here in the STARworks Garden! Starting seeds, transplanting, weeding... looks like I need to mow the grass already! Compost piles have been neglected through winter and need to be turned... Selling some first Kale and Cilantro this week! I added a bit of cilantro to a vegetable soup last night - and it was just the touch it needed.
First blooms have burst, and some are already done blooming...
Need to add more leaf mould to most of the beds...
Started some perennial flowers from seed - like Gaillardia and Lupine and some others. We will hold a plant/flowerpot sale on April the 23'rd, hope you consider coming out and supporting STARworks Garden!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring has sprung...

...there is no doubt about it now. Therefore the lack of blogging. This is the time of the year, when weeks fly by, and I'm constantly playing "catch up"!

Well. To update ya'll on what's been happening I'll start with the Oyster mushroom workshop.
Just briefly, since the process of inoculating logs is the same as for Shiitakes. The workshop went great! We had 22 people attending, everyone was excited and happy, and took home about 3 inoculated logs and a bunch of knowledge.
Below are our mushroom heroes and experts Greg Bender on the left and Hugh Martin on the right. Thank you guys for doing such a great job!
Alice Clemens and her husband Jack here busy "plugging away".
In the greenhouse - I'm running out of starter pots!
Lots of greens have been started and lots have been transplanted. Beets, radishes and peas are coming up, a few varieties of lettuces have been transplanted, along with broccoli raab, few different asian greens, etc.
Last year's Kale is looking beautiful now! I'll be ready to sell some soon!
Here's last years Hon Tsai Tai blooming. Hopefully that will become seed for next year:)

Happy spring! Enjoy the sun!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring fever!

Thought I'd give ya'll a quick update on what's been happening in the gardens!
Since the last snow melted, it's been so nice, and I've been spending a lot of time in the gardens - both the STARworks Garden and greenhouse, and the garden at home - which will serve as an extension to STARworks garden. My back is starting to adjust to all the digging:)

So far in the ground: few different types of carrots and beets, some radishes, cilantro and parsley, spinach, scallions, red yellow and white onions, garlic that was planted last october looks good, kale and collards are making a nice comeback, and a few mizuna plants survived the winter without any protection. Started a bunch of edible pod peas at home and will do more of those at STARworks - so that our school groups can have something to munch on:)
In the greenhouse: different varieties of pak choi, cabbages, broccoli, more parsley, a red stalked celery, lettuces, about 10 different varieties of flowers - some of those seeds I brought back from Estonia. It's good to see that Chamomile is establishing itself in the garden and finding places to grow, same with some poppy plants, hollihocks and other flowers. Strawberries look good, daylilies are poking out their heads... Spring is showing itself everywhere! Lets hope the cold is gone for good!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shiitake Workshop a success!

This past Saturday, Feb. 27'th, STARworks Garden hosted a Shiitake Cultivation Workshop, with instructors Greg Bender and Hugh Martin. 33 people came, eager to learn. Some people confessed they had wanted to do this for many years, and finally had an opportunity to try it out with help from experienced mushroom growers before making an investment in tools and materials and embarking on a new journey.
Workshop started out with a "lecture" -an inspirational video by Paul Stamets, a presentation from Hugh Martin about Shiitake mushrooms and a question/answer session.
We had a quick lunch of homemade soup and bread that Adam and I were busy making the night before...

And then it was time to "get on it"!
Greg Bender did a demonstration on the "how to" and answered more questions, and for about an hour after that the STARworks Glass Hot Shop was buzzing like a beehive!
Here's our Glass Instructor Nick Fruin, drilling the oak logs - which is the first step to log inoculation process. Thank you Nick, for so graciously opening up your hot shop for out messy workshop, AND for fixing our technical problem with computers!!! You rock!
Next is the plugging... These plungers work great! I can't imagine having to stuff the drilled holes by hand! This time we used a warm weather variety spawn, WW70, which is described as: A real eye pleaser, this strain produces large, flat but dense dark brown caps in summers’ heat and humidity. A reliable strain for force fruiting for summer farmers market, it will also fruit naturally with the change of the seasons. (from Field and Forest Products)
We got all of our tools and spawn from Field and Forest. They have been growing mushrooms for the past 27 years and can offer great products and expertise.
Below is a picture of the process of waxing the holes after they're stuffed with spawn.
Here's a group shot of people waxing their logs. Greg and Hugh were busy running around, assisting people, so I didn't catch them with my camera - maybe next time:)

Now we just have to sit back and wait for the mushrooms to grow! Right?

Before that though - we'll have another workshop - this time about Oyster mushrooms, on Saturday, March the 13'th. Oyster mushrooms have not yet gained the same lever of popularity
as the Shiitakes, but as I have had the opportunity to gather and eat some wild, native oyster strains from the woods at my home, I can tell you - they are absolutely delicious!