Thursday, September 23, 2010

September Harvest and Fall Planting SPEC Rooftop

Summer seems to have ended but our rooftop garden is now ready for winter.

We harvested lots of onions and carrots.

As well as many red and green tomatoes.

Tomatoes need to be harvested, even if still green. If left on the plant during cool temperatures and rain they will develop blight and turn black instead of red. Wrap your green tomatoes in newspaper and store them in a cool dark place until they ripen.

Tomato plants were then removed and put in our yard waste bins for composting (blight may spread in a cold composter, but in Vancouver yard waste is mechanically composted using heat).

We also planted some more fall crops (many winter crops should be planted in July or August, but due to extreme heat on our roof in these months not many seedlings were started successfully)

We planted overwintering broccoli starts, kale seeds and garlic after amending the soil with compost from our worm bin composter.

Garlic is grown by separating the cloves of the garlic bulb and planting pointy-end up roughly 4 inches deep in the soil. Each clove will form a new bulb. We simply bought local organic Red Russian garlic from a nearby grocer.

Happy autumn!

- marnie

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer's End

As the summer winds down:

We dry and collect seeds to use again next year or for winter crops (some seeds are very easy to save and others take a bit of effort but you can replant most things from your garden for free if you save your own seed).

Compost plant debris left over from the growing season

And plant winter crops that will continue to grow for the cold season to produce food early in the spring, like broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tomato Harvest Time

The beginning of September means lots of tomatoes are ready for eating. We have so many beautiful ones. Tiger tomatoes, and Sun Drop cherry tomatoes are the ones we have mostly harvested so far.

We've also harvested more Tromboncino zucchinis.

A pile for each gardener to take home.

Mushroom Patch Experiment

This week we tried planting a mushroom patch from 'mushroom spawn'.

It comes in a bag and needs to be layered with straw or hardwood chips and covered with cardboard in a moist cool place in the garden.

First we dug a space 10 inches deep to grow them in.

Laid newspaper down in the space.

Then layered the mushroom spawn with layers of straw and hardwood pieces.

Watered it, and covered it all with sheets of cardboard.

In a few weeks, once we can see the mycorrizae, we will add 2 inches of soil on top. It will be next spring before we have any mushrooms.

This type of mushroom creates a mycorrizal network of roots underground that feed beneficial nutriets to nearby plants. Plus they are edible and apparently delicious. So we hope they grow.