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Late June Garden Update

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It’s late June at Salt of the Earth Urban Farm (home of the BCS Teaching Garden)!  Finally, some warm weather (mid-upper 70’s) has settled in (the tomatoes,  summer squash and bush beans look much happier) and everything is flourishing. 

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The harvest is increasing – every week, we are taking a few dozen cartons of organic snow and sugar snap peas, as well as boxes and boxes of lettuce, chard, kale, bitter greens, and a few choice boxes of herbs and strawberries to Birch Community Services.  We are still looking forward to the coming months and being able to take in more and more food to share amongst the families at BCS (loads of organic bush beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and summer squash will be coming soon!).

Here are a few shots from around the yard – mostly in the front yard –

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A few shots of the front yard, here.  Can you believe just a few short months ago, it looked like this? —>

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(And a day before this, it was just weeds and lawn!  Taken late-February 2010.)

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Front to back in this shot – variegated land cress, beets (with a few Butternut starts peeking thru on the right and a crate of potatoes to the left), Italian kale, cardoons, salad greens, Oregon Sugar Pod II peas, California poppies and De Milpa tomatillos.

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Tomatoes in the front are underplanted with beets and cosmos.  In the backyard, with nasturtiums and lettuce (the shade from the tomatoes will keep the lettuce from bolting in the July/Aug heat.).

IMG_7729Mature artichokes and cardoons take up a lot of space, but while they’re still growing, I’ve underplanted them with daisies, nasturtium and chives (winter squash, dahlias, sunflowers, fennel, and wildflowers are visible in the background.)

Not shown – I planted an herb bed in the front yard – three types of lavender (two culinary, one for sachets), three types of rosemary (I love rosemary!), tangerine sage, tricolor sage, lemon verbena,and curry plant from starts (when pinching pennies, get the 4-inch pots – they were $3 each, versus $9-10 for the next size up, and $30 for large rosemaries and lavenders in gallon pots.  They’ll grow big, too!  Be patient!)  I also transplanted in two types of thyme, oregano, Greek basil, Thai basil, and Genovese basil that I started from seed a while back (for a savings of about $15 over buying potted starts).

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Much of the back isn’t so pretty yet, but here’s a shot of the linear beds near the house  -front to back – garlic; parsnips, kale, chard, carrots; peas and poppies underplanted with kale.  I didn’t take any shots of the bush bean, asparagus, potato and squash beds, which make up about 60% of the backyard.

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Out back, we’re still doing the fairly miserable work of ripping up bamboo (rhizomes and all) for a future raspberry patch (to the left in this picture) and quince and pear stand (where the current volunteer hazelnut currently resides.)  The far NW corner of the yard (not pictured), which will eventually be our Zone 3 fruit orchard,  is currently overrun with weeds.  I did manage to get three apple trees and a Desert King fig planted back there, and my husband expanded the chicken run (while protecting the young trees), so the hens could make short work of the weeds and give me room to underplant the trees with red clover and more lavender.  We are still hunting for a persimmon, a dwarf apricot, and black currants to put back in that area.

More shots from out back in the coming month – the rows of bush beans and summer squash are quite small, and the limas and runner beans are barely reaching up their poles).

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If you’re interested – we’re having a free hands-on workshop on  Saturday, July 17th here at the garden from 9:30-11:30 and follow up with a potluck luncheon from 11:30-12:30.  We will be doing a garden tour, discussing high-summer garden needs and prepping for a fall garden.  We will be starting seeds for fall crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc), possibly harvesting potatoes, and doing regular garden maintenance.   Bring your garden gloves, shovel, and a dish to share.  Children are welcome.

Contact the garden coordinator for Birch Community Services, Tiffany, at  tiffany.mach@yahoo.com to sign up.

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