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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Inter-planting with peas


This I clipped from another blog but it is useful.
Garden peas including shell, snow and snap peas have two characteristics that make them strong candidates for super-productive planting plans. First, peas vine upward, and their vertical posture makes it possible to plant a low-growing crop at their base. Second, in most climates spring-planted peas finish producing in midsummer, leaving a nice chunk of growing season left for growing another major vegetable after peas. Whether you are talking intercropping (planting multiple vegetables in shared space) or succession planting (following one vegetable with another in the same season), garden peas provide plenty of creative opportunities.
Each year I grow all three types of pea (snow peas, snap peas and shell peas) though the shell peas never make it into the kitchen because we eat them in the garden. This makes it even more important to maximize the space we give to peas. Snap peas are the most productive type because of their plump pods. In a good year, we freeze enough snap peas to last until spring.
Interplanting plan for peas

Interplanting With Peas

All garden peas, including short varieties, need some type of support. Your trellising opportunities are endless, because peas will use their strong tendrils to cling to almost any support. Your trellis design has substantial bearing on any interplanting plan. If you have an upright trellis down the center of a bed, the available interplanting space is on the outside of the peas. The two simple pea planting plans (at right, top beds) show how you might do this with leafy greens like lettuce, arugula or spinach, or with shallow-rooted radishes and green onions. I like the greens option best because leafy greens shade the pea roots and help keep them cool. To keep from disturbing the pea roots, I harvest these salad greens by cutting them rather than by pulling up the plants.

Peas will climb almost any supports

The plan changes if you plant peas in widely spaced rows, and provide a slanted diagonal trellis. This creates a sheltered spot down the middle of the row, which can be planted with onions or potatoes (see above illustration, bottom two beds). In climates where mild spring weather never lasts long enough, this is an excellent way to get a nice summer crop of new potatoes despite the early onset of hot weather.

Succession Planting with Peas

It's natural to want to wait for pea plants to produce every last pea, but you will need a more ruthless attitude to terminate your peas to make room for a new crop. Many gardeners (including me) like to follow peas with cucumbers or squash, which can make use of the trellis erected for the peas. There is no need to pull up the peas - simply snip them off at the soil line. Any unused nitrogen nodules on the pea roots will be in position to help nurture the next crop.
Pea flowers
Several gardeners I know conduct covert operations in their pea patches by snipping out individual pea plants and slipping in cucumber or squash seedlings while the remaining peas are still growing. How do you know when to mobilize with a succession crop? Regardless of their type and size, peas eventually run out of steam, which is apparent when the new pods form at the stem tips rather than on side branches. Pod set in peas always proceeds in a predictable sequence from the bottom of the plant to the top. When only pods at the stems' topmost tips remain, it's time for a change.
If you do stage a complete renovation of the pea bed (unavoidable when interplanting with potatoes), consider carrots as your succession crop. A good friend who is also one of the best vegetable gardeners I know highly recommends this succession. In climates with long and lovely autumns, you may be able to grow broccoli after peas, too. Please share what works for you in your garden, because few of us ever get enough garden peas.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Can we feed the world without destroying it?

This is a webinar from XR

Our agrifood system is responsible for up to 37% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is a major factor in biodiversity loss. Can we feed ourselves without devastating impacts on the planet’s life support systems? Chaired by Dr Jordan Raine (Former Environment Editor at The Conversation, XR Scientist), with a panel of international experts including:
  • Dr Marco Bertaglia, Scientific Officer in Agroecology, Joint Research Centre, Italy (on sabbatical) and XR Scientist
  • Dr Lynn Dicks, Ecology Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
  • Jyoti Fernandes, Policy lead Land Workers Alliance UK, European Coordination Via Campesina
  • Prof Alain Peeters, Secretary of Agroecology Europe






Monday, May 11, 2020

Fruit Tree Guilds

The apple guild is in another location and may be combined here later
For those who aren’t familiar a fruit tree guild is a permaculture method of planting a fruit tree in combination with other plants that will grow together to create a mini ecosystem around the tree. While there hasn’t been a lot of scientific study of tree guilds they do show a lot of potential. Research has shown that intercropping (planting more than one species together) can be a valuable tool for increasing yields and crop health. Plus, tree guilds, in stark contrast with monoculture orchards are space saving and great for wildlife.
Selecting Plants
The first step is to research the type of tree you’d like to start with. For an example I’ll be talking about a peach tree guild but you can use any type of tree whether it’s an existing tree on your property or one you’d like to plant this spring. The important part is that you do some research into the tree such as its growth pattern and mature size. Also consider what soil types it prefers, where you’ll be planting it, and if it’s prone to any disease or pest problems.
Based on your research you’ll select companion plants. Tree guilds are typically made up of six categories: suppressors, attractors, repellers, mulchers, accumulators, and fixers though there are variations and there’s no rule that you have to plant all of these or can’t plant more than one species from each category. If you see a need you can even make up your own category!
If you’re planting a particularly tall tree or working with a mature tree you can include perennial shrubs on your plant list. Just be careful with smaller, newer trees that they don’t compete for light.
Suppressors
These are plants that suppress weed growth through there own growth habits. Good examples include vining winter squash which shades out weeds, mint or buckwheat which outcompete weeds through rapid, thick growth, or strawberries, pennyroyal, or thyme whose vines form a thick mat of ground cover. For a peach tree guild I would choose strawberries partially because I enjoy eating them but also because they’re an excellent suppressor and their early flowers draw in pollinators.
Attractors






Mona’s Orange Cosmos

Attractors are plants that attract pollinators and other beneficial insect to the tree. Examples include yarrow, buckwheat, butterfly weed, and mustards. Many other species can also be used but it’s important to find something that will work well for your chosen tree. For a peach tree guild I would choose to plant cosmos as they attract trichogramma wasps which are a helpful beneficial insect and a natural enemy of oriental fruit moths which can severely damage peach trees.
Repellers
These plants job is to repel unwanted pests from feeding on your fruit tree. Lemon grass, marigolds, lemon balm, and almost any allium like garlic, chives, or perennial onions are all commonly used to repel pests. Knowing your specific tree’s common pest issues will allow you to best select a variety. For the peach tree example I’d use garlic as there’s some evidence that planting garlic around peach trees helps repel peach tree borers.
Fixers






Red Clover

Fixers refers to plants that are nitrogen fixing meaning that they add nitrogen to the soil as they grow. Great examples of these plants include white clover, red clover, beans, alfalfa, lupine, and peas. For a peach tree guild I would choose red clover. It attracts pollinators, beneficial insects including trichogramma wasps, and makes a wonderful tea.
Mulchers
Probably the most commonly used mulcher plant in permaculture designs is comfrey. It’s hardy, perennial, easy to care for, and its leaves do in fact make excellent mulch. Hostas have the same benefits. You can also use annual cover crops like buckwheat that winter kill and provide good mulch. Buckwheat also has the added benefit of self seeding. For this example comfrey will be used because it doubles as an accumulator.
Accumulators
These are plants that “mine” nutrients from deep in the soil and bring the to the surface where other plants will be able to access them. Good examples include alfalfa, comfrey, borage, and chicory. For more ideas look at deep rooted perennial plants. For my peach tree guild I would opt for chicory as it offers medicinal benefits for both humans and livestock.

Once you’ve got all your plants you can begin planting. Obviously it’s easiest to start with the tree and work your way out. You should consider how much space it will need and shade it will create as it grows when selecting locations for other perennials.
Utilizing this permaculture method can help you make the most out of your orchard space by incorporating other edible, medicinal, or flowering crops into your design and keeping your trees healthy and productive. It can also make your space more habitable for beneficial wildlife like birds, pollinators, and beneficial insects which lose habitat when space between trees is mowed. Lastly it may even help reduce erosion when compared to traditional orchard set ups. What’s there to lose?

https://www.southernexposure.com/blog/2018/01/planning-a-fruit-tree-guild/

Pear guild has little but here:




This is for Figs from Lyneham Commons go to the site for more info



Thursday, April 9, 2020

Garden Work Calendar




Events and activities on this calendar are only available to members of the cooperative. No drop-ins please. Contact Wayne at  (707) 347-9465 if you are interested in joining and I will bring the question to the group when we meet next. Please be patient.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Living with Fire - a thought experiment

This is a thought experiment on fire inspired by the Kincade fire, discussions with poet laureate Maya Khosla and a trip we just took to Ettawa Springs a charming yet disheveled turn of the century resort in the forested  hills near Loch Lomond in Lake County.
Imagine a new day for life on earth -- Living in community with many thousands on ten thousand acres of forest and wilderness land.  Over time and generations we would restore and grow and tend and improve habitat, sinking carbon and then the fire comes -- inevitable -- all your compassionate work thought lost. 
If your village were nomadic you would move on, or perhaps if you were a caretaker society of the future you would set in motion restoration of the burn, hastening its regeneration using technologies and infrastructure and propagation, and then let wilding take its course.  Your work, done for the moment. 
Life in your village, if your structures were hardened and survived the fire would be a shadow of what it was, transformed by fire, dwellers having completely different purpose and its culture transformed in relationship to the land -- but burn it will, burn it must, again and again over eons. We would live and return to the landscape for ages, as caretakers, and carry that knowledge of fire in our bones,  ancient memories we pass to our children in stories. Nature knows the way and fire will always be part of nature.

There is of course  a dominate and modern story.  Private property estates on the hill and resorts in wild lands and private mansions nestled in tracts of wilderness with vineyard and affluence.  As picturesque as these modern stories may be, they are out of step with the original human in nature story.  I do not think they can ever be reconciled with fire, try as they will.

PG&E is a criminal syndicate run amok in this modern story, but they did not make this story.  So although we must hold them to account for their crimes,  this will not repair our modern story and our relationship to fire.  It will just be a lawnmower next time.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Wasted! the movie

This is two years old and yet very relevant. Anthony Bourdain, and other celebrity chefs, help solve the problem of food waste and hunger as one-third of all food grown for human consumption ends up in the garbage. Herein lay answers to the global food crisis that on its way whether we like it or not.  Although governments are doing absolutely nothing at scale to fend off this disaster this film has good answers to the problem -- deliciously.

Image result for wasted movie

I do not have a youtube link this time but rather a link to the CBS (Canadian Public Broadcast) channel that runs the show.  Good luck may need cookies.





Thursday, September 26, 2019

Banning chemicals in Rohnert Park not so much

Big Ag Tobacco is an Example of Bad Policy

I am not a smoker but not a teetotaler, so here's the article.  It is interesting to note that Wendell Berry was a tobacco farmer as his family before him and believed deeply in sustainability and the nobility of good old fashioned values held by small family farmers. This article chronicles the demise of these farmer.
You might be surprised to learn that well into the 1990s, tobacco production was a hidden hold out of profitable small-scale family operated agriculture, especially in Appalachia and the Piedmont plateau. In 1987, the average tobacco farm was just 4.6 acres, and run mostly with family labor.


That of course changed with our state policy mantra of "Get Big or Get Out."

http://www.foodandpower.net/2019/09/26/the-forgotten-history-of-small-scale-american-tobacco-farming/

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Butterfly Ship Presents a Winter Spectacular

I am very excited with this event.  It brings me back to my roots when at Jungle Vibes Toys we did arts and crafts for kids on the riverside deck.  I will be personally staffing a booth making paper kaleidoscopes, yarn craft and leaf prints. All the paints and supplies are provided.  Kids can make art cards and gifts for the holidays.  So sweet....and I don't have to tell you how sweet and talented are the crew of Butterfly Ship

Picture