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Monday, June 20, 2011

Farm Family Class Monday June 20 from 6-8

Please come join us at the Downtown Teaching Farm for some time to work together on some continued bed building and planting.  We are still in need of a few more community gardeners, and would love for the Boise High students and families to come on down as well.  There is an art project available for small kids, and there will be several different hands-on-work-together projects, as well as a walk through to take a look at the crops and the plans for the next couple of weeks.  The class is free from 6-8 at the corner of 12th and Fort street.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Downtown Teaching Farm, Week 3

June 15, 2011
Blogger: Ali Ward, BHS Science Teacher

The Farm:

The dust has settled a little bit at the Downtown Teaching Farm now that summer vacation has begun for the Boise School District.  A significant amount of planting and bed building is done for this growing season, but we still have one major section to prepare for our raspberries that should be arriving in the next couple of weeks. 

There is a major focus on building nitrogen in the soil, and for that reason we have been planting a lot of legumes, such as bush beans, some late peas, cow peas, and we are even trying some garbonzo beans. 

We have been harvesting the beautiful red oak leaf lettuce that volunteered in one of the raised beds, and some of the herbs can be used (chives, sage, oregano), but it won't be long before the vegetables start to produce. 

The potatoes have come up in several of the potato beds, and we are hopeful that these will make a nice September crop, and we just keep planting tomatoes! 

One of the major focuses has been getting materials ordered and purchased with our grant monies, these items include: tools, plants, trellising material and irrigation equipment. 

Aside from some continued planting as the soil continues to warm (note: apparently many farmers throughout the Valley are noticing that their crops are about 3 weeks behind schedule this year, so we are not rushing around like we normally would be to get everything in - but we all need to hope for a long and warm Fall!) we are also working on our irrigation plan, our harvest and donation plan, and some event planning for harvest time.  Volunteers are needed in all three of those areas.  In addition, we are working with the City to develop plans that are in line with the Historic District requirements of being a piece of land in the N. End. 

The Downtown Teaching Farm as an Organzation:

We met as a steering committee last week to discuss the long term plans and organizational structure for the Downtown Teaching Farm.  We have included members from Boise High, NENA, the City of Boise, FUMC (Cathedral of the Rockies) and United Water.  Everyone has had fabulous ideas for helping us maintain the garden and find new volunteers throughout the coming years.  The church and the district have negotiated a 5 year lease on that section of land, and we are happy to have several planting seasons to rehabilitate the soil and build the organization.

We also have had a bit of media success.  The Downtown Teaching Farm was a topic of interest in one of the locally programmed Radio Boise shows last week (89.9).  There is a Boise Weekly piece about the farm today, and a piece in Northwest Food News due out in the coming weeks.  Thank you so so very much to all of our supporters, the many administrators and farm-experts, and farm-families that have gotten this project off the ground so quickly!

The Classes: 

Now on the blog is a calendar of work parties and classes being offered at the farm.  The Farm Classes are open to the public and a great way to come work on the farm for an evening and see if is a project that fits your needs. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Heirloom Beans and Tomatoes: Today's Planting Menu

Please drop by the Downtown Teaching Farm to plant up some heirloom beans and tomatoes as we continue to work on our "hot-crop" beds.  We will also save these seeds in the fall and propogate these open-pollinated plants for our own use, and perhaps a seed sale come spring.  Also, we are ordering our lumber, irrigation supplies, and bare root berries this week so please stay tuned for some work days in the next ten days or so.  Also, we need peppers, many peppers, if you can contribute seedlings that would be much appreciated!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Get Involved Today at the Downtown Teaching Farm

There are two ways to get involved with this teaching farm today, Monday the 6th of June.

If you are a BHS student and would like to take on a leadership role (watering, harvesting, event planning, community garden coordinator) then you should meet at the farm at 4:30 today to discuss the responsibilities and do a walk through.

If you are a community member, all are invited to the 2nd "Farm Family" class - tonight at 6 pm.  These classes are designed to bring community gardeners together and teach gardening concepts or "themes" to a variety of age groups.  Tonight's topic is Irrigation and Mulch.  We will do hands on activities with some different types of mulching that are appropriate for different types of watering.  There is also an mulch-art project for the young kids.  Then, we will plant up a couple of rows of tomatoes and some rows and teepee's of heirloom beans!  Also, we will try to finish planting the Pizza Garden - does anyone have any wheat seed they can bring?  Come one and all - from 6-8 pm.!/pages/Downtown-Teaching-Farm/106658106090328

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Hardening Off"

June 2, 2011 (blogger: Ali Ward, BHS Science Teacher)

Something I'd forgotten about growing baby seedlings indoors soley under lights is the important process of "hardening them off."  You see, the eggplant pictured above on the right, the shriveled up one that looks like it is made of carboard - this was a beautiful seedling with big broad leaves that had never been exposed to real sunlight before.  It took about 24 hours of actual UV to completely kill it - weird as that may seem.  The eggplant on the left is smaller and younger, but was grown in a greenhouse and therefore its cuticle was toughened up and could withstand the UV rays, some wind and rain.  Unfortuantely, most of the seedlings we grew on the classroom counters did not withstand the transition to the garden.  This picture helps illustrate the need for some sort of cold frames at the farm that we can use to "harden off" our seedlings.  Something to think about for next year for sure.  If anyone could contribute seedlings (our tomatoes did OK, but you can never have too many tomatoes!) that would be much appreciated for this year!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Planting Today (Wednesday the 1st of June) - 12:30 - 2:00

Please come down if you can and join us for some planting of tomatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce, dill, parsley, and so on.  12:30-2:00. We will also need some watering help, those of you who have volunteered for that.