A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Sharing Gardens" Update and Wish List

In this post you'll read an update on the "Sharing Gardens" - including construction of our 20' x 100' greenhouse, our vegetable plant give-away, our youth-garden program starting in the spring and see what's on our current wish-list.

So far, we've been blessed with a relatively mild winter here in Alpine/Monroe, and we've been able to move forward steadily on greenhouse construction.

We'll be writing a full handbook on all the details of the hoop-house construction which will be available as a PDF, so we won't go into details here on the blog about how its done. The short version (according to Chris, who's built many of these hoop-style greenhouses) is that the greenhouse is about half-way done. We figure we're still on track to complete the project sometime in February.

This will give us plenty of time to get seeds started for this year. We're going to be growing a great abundance of starts this year. "Enough and to spare...to give and to share." These will be available to everyone for free. We'll let you know when they are available for you to bring home to your own gardens.

We have a short wish-list of materials we need for the greenhouse and garden project. If you can help us out with any of these things, please send us an email, or give us a call.

nursery flats and containers
6" stove pipe, 2 adjustable elbows and a cap
treated 4 x 4's  - 6 feet or better
dry, spoiled hay ( we can arrange to pick it up or give you some gas money)
bagged leaves to either garden site
cedar or redwood fence or deck boards
cash donations
(make checks to Alpine Community Center - "Sharing Gardens" and mail to PO Box 11, Monroe, OR 97456)

Bruce, Rann and Doreen preparing beds. Note heavily mulched paths.
Other garden news: This spring we'll have three volunteer times. Wednesdays will still be at the Alpine Garden. Thursdays will be at the Monroe garden (times to be determined on a week to week basis). We're going to add a third garden time on Monday afternoons right after school. These will take place either at the Monroe garden or at our new greenhouse. Though young people ages 9-18 will be welcome at all three weekly sessions, due to school hours they probably won't be able to participate on Wednesdays or Thursdays till summer so the Monday sessions will be focused on including them in the garden project. We need some committed adults who would like to join us for the Monday sessions and mentor the young people in gardening skills. We're also wanting to connect with young people who have a sincere interest in learning to grow food and who wish to be of service to their community.

Chris with a 4-H class he led in California.
Gratitude goes to:
  • the anonymous leaf donors at both garden sites - keep 'em coming!
  • Renee Duncan - we're finally using the cedar boards you donated last summer. There will be many happy bird families with new nesting boxes in the spring, thanks to you.

More about Potatoes

This potato has already begun to turn green from exposure to the sun. Don't eat it, plant it!
We had two questions come in about our last potato-planting blog. Here are answers.

Question #1: When is it time to plant potatoes?

Here in the S. Willamette Valley, you can plant them mid-March to mid-June. Depending on the variety you plant, they take 13 to 17 weeks to ripen. You may wish to plant them in succession so you'll have some potatoes to eat fresh and, the later harvests will last longer through the winter. It is likely you'll be able to buy seed potatoes for several months to come but they get more expensive, the longer you wait.

Storage: If you buy them in a plastic bag, transfer them into a cardboard box or paper sack so they don't rot before you get to them.

Question #2: If I buy some organic spuds now, will they grow eyes in time for planting? Do they have to have little eye sprouts? 

Just to clarify: all potatoes already have "eyes". These are the little indentations scattered around the skin of the potato. This is where the "sprouts" emerge from. You do not need to buy potatoes that are already sprouting. They will naturally begin to sprout in a few month's time.

We have written many posts on the art of growing your own potatoes. To read the others, just do a search on our site for "potatoes". The search-window is in the right-hand column of the blog.

Potato leaves, when the first emerge.