April-May 2018 - Adopt-A-Pot sales, Hume class visit, South Nelson School Project
April 2018 Greenhouse Update
April has been a busy month that's for sure! Prepping the garden beds, planning what to plant and managing a project at South Nelson Elementary. The garlic we planted is growing really well. They were mulched with leaves in the fall and this spring covered with a bit of soil. The leaves will break down over time feeding the garlic and the soil on top will keep it tidy and allow us to plant a companion between the rows of garlic. This year we planted romaine lettuce to maximize the use of our little plot of land.
I try not to let any space go to waste and stack the planting. Companion planting adds diversity and balance to the soil and garden space. Some plants work together protecting each other and attract beneficial insects while others can have negative effects on each other. There are a number of lists available online, this is a good list for reference.
A kindergarten class from the Hume School came by to help with planting beans and peas on our garden. They also went away with their very own seed planted in soil that they can take care of and watch grow. Most of the gardens are planted up now. We just have to get the tomatoes in and plants beets with bunching onions. There is some Kale that is ready to harvest! It was planted last year and allowed to overwinter along with collard greens and swiss chard. Most of the chard died so had to be re-seeded. Only the strong survive our winters!
South Nelson School Project
I was approached by a group of parents last year to design and manage a project to plant the bare slope at South Nelson Elementary. The volunteer support was amazing! We had kids and parents helping with the site prep and planting. Many hands make light work! On our planting day we had to wait out a fierce thunderstorm that rolled in and out pretty quickly. It turned out to be a nice sunny day for us to work in. Here is a news article about it. Hoping to get it in the Nelson Star too so keep your eyes open for it. Pop by the school and see how it has filled out! The idea was to add diversity to the area and stabilize the slope with native plants as well as other ornamental grasses and flowering perennials. Red Osier Dogwood, Rugosa and Prickly Roses, Paper Birch tree with Ladyferns (ferns not available to plant yet) around its base are on the main part of the slope. Up at the top, we planted Kinnikinnick, Thyme, Echinacea, Karl Foerester grasses and yarrow. We sowed white clover on the planting areas to keep the soil in place until the plants fill in. There are little goat tracks separating the planting areas and once the plants are established, the kids will be able to explore and get a closer look at everything.
Caring for your Adopt-A-Pot
Since some of you reading this may have purchased Adopt-a-pots this year, here are some care tips for you. If you have space you can re-plant everything out separately in your garden but it will do fine if kept in the pot. Pick the leaves as you wish to eat them, but be careful and cut them at the point where they connect to the main stalk of the plant. Try not to rip them off, you may risk damaging the plant. The collards, kale and Pac Choi can be lightly steamed or sauteed, and everything can be eaten raw, even the flowers! Since all of the plants are in close quarters they will be fighting over the food in the soil. We did use Sea Soil compost in our potting mix but the nutrients from that will only last so long. For my plants at home, I like to use Wegener's Liquid fertilizer which you can buy locally at Ellisons Market. It is a fish meal base that has added minerals. Seems to do the trick. It doesn't even smell that bad! Some fish meal fertilizers can have too strong of a smell so a kelp meal based fertilizer can be used too. Something with a higher Nitrogen percentage is ideal. That is the first number of the three that are labelled, Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (N-P-K) The Wegener's liquid fertilizer is 8-6-6. Keep them watered and out of the hot sun and you should have lots to eat!
An Update from the Board
by Stephanie Myers
SEEDS Nelson has had a busy spring so far. The plan is moving forward for the relocation of the old city greenhouse to the 7th Street Park, we have had discussions with an engineer who is very familiar with best practices for greenhouse construction as well as a general contractor regarding site preparation. We applied for the CIP/AAp grant through the City of Nelson and the RDCK Areas E & F for help with funding to re-skin the greenhouse. Home Building Centre has come on as a partner as well. We are researching what the best product will be for the skin looking at costs, durability and look. We want the greenhouse to be a beautiful functional asset to the community.
In the last few weeks, we have been doing some other fundraising. We held our annual Seedy Saturday at the Royal Canadian Legion on April 7th. It was a snowy cold day so it was a bit of a stretch to think of gardening but we managed to put it off. Next year we are looking to add a coffee and snack vendor.
SEEDS Nelson board members were in attendance at the West Kootenay EcoSociety's 17th annual GardenFest on Saturday, May 12th. It was a lovely sunny day and the streets were packed with gardeners. We were there to sell our Adopt-A-Pots and answer any questions people might have regarding our future plans.