Friday, October 23, 2009

news from City Square

We have managed to put most of our garden to bed for the winter! here are a few photo updates with some of the joys and lessons of this season

This is damage caused by white flies. The black spots are sooty mold, and seem to have had an effect, not on productivity, but on taste. The tomatoes and beans got hit especially hard, and they moved on to chard and celery later in season. In fact, they're still there.... Prevention and early action are key!

We have planted cover crops to build the soil, this is baby rye coming up. We also planted oats and clover in some of the beds, so we can compare which is more effective.

Ed, helping with clean up - thanks a bunch!

This is proof that pruninig your tomatoes encourages them to grow vertically - this one was 12 feet high! Also, we saw that none of the tomato roots had the root disease that we saw last season. Our tecnique of lasagna gardening really paid off!

Cheesmani tomatoes....productive right to the very end! We removed all the plants and saved the green tomatoes to ripen on windowsills.

In September we planted lettuce, spinach, beets, and radishes. Although they've sprouted, there hasn't been very much growth....

The parsnips are looking great, and can be harvested now. This past week we planted garlic in the other half of this bed, in a shadier spot, and also in a sunnier spot to see the difference. It will be hard to wait until they are next July or August, but we look forward to the scapes!

The beds with no cover cropped have been mulched with dry leaves in order to protect them for winter. The flowers were still too lovely to pull out.....
Although there's not much activity in the garden, we will still meet every second week until close to Christmas, with the next meeting being November 8th.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Harvest Time!

We have been very busy during the last week with our rooftop crops, harvesting, weighing and recording data. Thanks to the volunteers who have helped us out (Erin, Daryl, Laura, Megan, Frank, Ana, Tim and Jon) we have successfully harvested all of our radishes and obtained a lot of data.

The methods we used were as follows: (Each pot had 3 radishes in it)

- Remove the soil from the pot and using a bucket of water, separated each radish (attempting to keep the roots intact).

- Photograph the radishes with I.D tag
- Number radishes/leaves from each pot 1, 2, or 3
- Measure root length, bulb (height and width), and leaf (height and width)
- Weigh radish bulb
- Weigh radish leaves
- Dry the radish/leaves and weigh again

After labeling each radish and it's leaves with a number 1-3 we put them into a paper bag labeled with their I.D (an I.D. for example might read R-GG-1 meaning 'radish-Gaia Green- replicate 1'). We weighed them immediately after harvest as well as 5 or 6 days later after they had dried out. This is to account for any variation in mass due to water retention.

Now the fun part... analyzing all the numbers!

While we are doing that we will soon be starting to harvest the next crop... kale.

We noticed visually that there were increases in size of radish between the control (no amendment) and the ones grown with amendments. Not surprisingly the Miracle Grow radishes were quite a bit larger but we noticed that radishes grown in Gaia Green also did very well and seemed to have healthier, larger foliage.

We will look at the trends that the data tells us to get a better idea and know for sure what the differences are.. stay tuned!