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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garden Update

The garden is growing exponentially now!

Steve Rose broke ground with his tractor on April 15th, 2009. Here's a picture taken on May 12...

And another on June 13th, of basically the same view, a week ago...

Here's the bean tipi we built and planted on May 22...

And here's a close-up taken June 16, 2009. The beans are really thriving from the rabbit-manure tea we feed them once a week or so. The straw-mulch keeps the soil warm and moist which they like too.

Local Folks Mark Your Calendars: Third Sunday of July, July 19th, 2009 -- 6:30 The Corvallis Chapter of Oregon Tilth is hosting their monthly potluck and garden tour at the Alpine Community Garden.
This is a chance to meet other organic gardeners in the area, make connections and share gardening tips. We'll share food together, tour the garden and have a campfire in our new fire-pit! Children welcome. There are picnic tables at the park. you can also bring fold-up lawn-chairs or a picnic blanket.

Gratitude to Margi Willowmoon for the purple potato fingerlings. We've got almost 50 feet of them planted! And to Vicki Thompson for the green pepper and jalapeno starts. We found good homes for all of them. Thanks to any of you who came and picked up tomato starts. They're all gone now. We've got about 80 tomato plants in the garden itself; all different varieties. That oughta keep the Alpine-area real saucy come harvest-time!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Alpine Garden in the News

We had a reporter and photographer come out to the garden last week and do an article about the Alpine Community Garden for the Gazette Times, the Corvallis daily paper. The article was featured on the front page and nicely outlined the garden project. Thank you Kyle, for the story and Casey, for taking pictures.

(Article is no longer available on the internet).

We've had some help getting the garden planted from some of the youngest members of the community. A few weeks ago preschoolers from across the road ventured over to the garden to poke sunflower seeds into the warm, waiting soil. As many of you know, who are following the blog, we grow sunflowers for their food value, as well as their beauty (they make delicious sprouts). We have two rows of the plants coming up from seeds we saved from previous gardens. We started ten plants of the Mammoth Russian variety too, from store-bought seeds. This variety can grow 8-10 feet tall and has the giant heads that can be a full foot across carrying hundreds of large seeds in each one. Sunflowers grown in the same garden can cross-pollinate, so if you want to have seeds that stay true, you have to only plant that one type.

We planted several varieties of pole-beans at the base of the sunflowers. We gave the sunflowers several inches head-start so the beans have somewhere to grow. These will be pretty and productive partnerships between the plants. (Below: pole beans coming up next to the bamboo tipi.)

We've got over half the garden mulched with at least a minimal mulching. Thanks to Lori of Alsea, OR who donated 3 tons of spoiled hay! We were only able to pick up one ton of it so far (due to our old funky 1968 GMC...we have to borrow a stronger truck if we're going to get the rest). Karen Finley - of Queen Bee Honey - turned us onto a big stash of dried grass clippings behind the baseball field across the street from our park. Also Rachel Unrein rescued some huge bales of rotting hay from her grandpas farm and brought those down to the garden. The moldy, rotten stuff, though not much fun to work with, is fantastic for the garden. Because it's already decomposing, the nutrients in the grass are more readily available to the garden. Also, the mold and rotting makes the grass seeds no longer viable which means less of them will sprout as weeds in bare patches of your soil. (Below: Our heavily mulched garden. Each hay "flake" is 4-5 inches thick. We lay them down side-by-side in the rows.)

The garden is almost totally planted now. We still have a few rows to fill in but the bulk of the planting is done. We want to thank Steve Rose again for contributing a box of starts to round out our garden. He gave us some hot pepper varieties, and early-bearing Stupice tomatoes (they're already setting fruit!). It looks like we've got the beginnings of some yummy salsa growing in the garden.

Just a reminder: For those of you growing your own gardens this year, it's not too late to plant a little extra to take and share with Food Banks and other support services in your area. Consider growing winter-storage crops such as squash and potatoes as these will 'keep' long after the last killing frost in your garden.