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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. 

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