Tuesday, June 5, 2007


This is a 'before' shot- you can see all of the raised beds covered in their red protective coating. We then made holes with razor blades about two feet apart for the plants to be entered into, and tossed in some of our miracle fertilizer mix, Fertrell. We then would place the plants in, and cover the tops with our special compost.

The Early Tomato Gets The...

Ok. Seriously. Who has flowers on their tomato plants this early? We do!! The early tomatoes we planted in the protective mesh came out with fervor! Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 21, 2007

Hello again. Last week we interplanted cucumbers and dill underneath covered rows, being that they are really good companions. The raised beds are about 8 inches from the ground, mounded up to make a little hill. Beneath the mound is a layer of compost. The mound is then covered in black plastic. The plant from seed, we cut small holes, about the size of your fist, carefully along the drip line (as to not sever the very delicate watering system). We then place a mesh fabric covering on top that protects the little guys from weather and wind.
So, we basically did the same thing for the early tomatoes. Raised the beds, covered with plastic, cut the holes, and covered it back up. The field itself that we are planting in, the larger tract, had a cover crop of clover and rye that we tilled over to draw extra nutrients from the soil. The clover especially helps with the nitrogen cycle. This also for our hungry seedlings to more readily extract much needed food from the soil. We did this, transplanting seedlings from the greenhouse, early on to get a jump start on the traditionally last summer delicacy. The fabric mesh forms over the top of the plastic in a half circle, supported by metal hooping in the middle. The mesh allows sun and moisture to enter, but shelters the tender plants from strong winds. It also creates an enviornment that has a 4 degree temperature variance, where if frost threatens, the mesh protects the plants from entering the danger zone. Within a few weeks, the plants were pushing toward the top of the mesh (about 2 feet) and had blossomed. What an amazing thing to have tomato blossoms before June 1st!!
Another thing we are really proud of is our potato crop. Not too many people grow potatoes anymore- we have found that if we can successfully produce enough potatoes, we can supply the restaurant enough for mashed everyday- several tons! We employed the system that used in many other instances- we layer a strip of compost down the center of the row, and rake it from either side to distribute the goodness. We also added rock phosphorus to help with root blossoms. Alex used the tractor and made large ferrows to place the certified seed. Potato seeds look just like little potatoes, but because they are certified, there is no gamble whether or not they will produce, and they won't dwindle after a few crops. They layed down the little potatoes and covered them up- now we have to just wait and see! Until next time.... I will tell you all about our huge community garden planting extravaganza!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 7th, 2007

Hello all. Here are my notes from May 7th... We began the day by hoeing our radish plot. This is very serious business. To properly hoe is a skill that takes a great deal of patience and skill. You are basically trying to just skim the surface with the hoe at an angle. There is no need to really sever the weed at the roots, but the maim its debut at the surface. Over time, the plant will not continue to recur as the villain in your precious plot. Mark has this down to a science- I need much more work to perfect the zen of a good hoe. There is also much discussion on Korean hoes... but that is for another post.
Mark and I decided to put together a 'showcase' bed, which will be the first bed you notice as you enter the farmed paradise. We wanted a smattering of different crops, and settled on Nerotondo Black radishes to mark our rows, and two types of lettuce running down the middle. We have christened the bed our United Nations plot, as the two types of lettuces are Austrian Forellenschluss (meaning speckled like a trout's back) and Israeli Jericho. (Quite as irony for us both, he of German descent and me being a hybrid Jew). The Austrian variety has maroon dappling on the leaves, and the Israeli is a Romaine bred in the hot climates of the desert. We are anxious to see if the Jericho blend is as bolt-resistant as it claims (Bolting refers to a plant prematurely flowering as the weather turns warmer and taking on bitterness as the energy of the plant is focused on accelerated maturity..), so we could potentially have really great lettuce in the hotter months.
Before we dove into composting the planted seeds, we put down some corn gluten meal. Corn gluten acts as a natural herbicide, and prevents germination of certain plants. We had to be careful to keep it away from the seeds we had sown that morning, but next to the full seedlings from the greenhouse, we hoped that it would prevent weeds from entering our peace loving United Nation space. Until next time....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

April 23, 2007

Welcome to the wonderful world of organic gardening! I am begining this a little behind schedule, as we have already been working and planting for the past month, so I will play a little catch up. This entry describes what we did on April 23.
After planting the leeks last week (we started them from seed inside the greenhouse, and then transplanted them to the larger of our plots), we needed to side dress them with our handy compost. (By the way, ou compost is made from lots of scraps from the restaurant, coffee and tea grounds, manure courtesy of Kelly and Alex's lovely horses, eggshells, fish carcass... everything to make it delish for our plants). After side dressing, Mark and I (Mark Baerwolf is a chef/garden expert working with Chef Alex Young to make this thing happen- I will preface that he knows a lot more than I do, and I will always be basically speaking his words of wisdom, his garden gospel, if you will) made rows between the leeks to plant some lettuce from seed. We have a great seeder that has a prescribed settings for different seeds, so all you have to do is pick out the correct spoke for the seeds you are planting, put in the seeds, and the wheel will turn as you drag it through the row, dropping the seeds, while a chain drags behind you, covering up your newly planted seeds. It is a miracle. We planted Bibb and Red Leaf lettuce. All day Chef Alex worked hard on installing the very complex irrigation system. He began with an enormous bag of parts and screws and tubes and manage to fit everything together to effectively create a system for the whole farm. As puzzling as it was to me, he seemed right at home with a blowtorch in one hand and a pick axe in the other. By the end of the day large pipes were running all along the property, hooked up to the main source, and ready to be merged with drip lines. We later took Broccoli and Kohlrabe seedlings from the greenhouse and put them in the ground. In between the seedlings, we also planted some from seed..... Until next time....