Mulch donation, short notice work day…

The mulch is courtesy Trina May’s son’s boy scout fund raiser. They gave the customers a chance to buy a bag to donate for us and people bought 20 bags! Way to go, team!

If you are not busy on Saturday afternoon and want to serve in the garden, I will be weeding and spreading said mulch on top of our sworn enemy, bermuda grass. Also watering, fertilizing and basically cajoling the plants as well. 4 ish? Email or comment here if you are interested.


What Up With That? – March 26th, 2012 edition

What has been –

Another great week in the garden. Awesomeness abounds. Do you know what this is? –

It is a tomato (,) bud! Hairy, isn’t it? This means that very soon the tomatoes will bloom and then, after some tomato flower love (don’t worry – very G rated – wind pollinated, mostly. Maybe the occasional bumble bee – leave them alone, your mother will not be proud of you), we will have tomatoes! Yes!

It rained a bunch again this week. Two inches, two weeks in a row. Happy days! The trenching system was better, if not perfect.

I planted more watermelon and musk melon seeds outside the garden fence. What is  a musk melon, you ask? It is what most would call a cantaloupe, and cantaloupe is a fruit grown only in Europe. What we grow is the musk (or rock) melon – aptly named, as I believe it smells and taste like feet. My in-laws, children and, apparently, the rest of humanity think it is wonderful. But there is no accounting for taste. I planted it because other people like it and I give in easily to peer pressure. Enjoy eating your stinky feet, everyone. To water and weed them, look for the circle of rocks by the west post on the sign –

And last, we now have a box of tools, gloves, fertilizer and assorted what-not –

Please feel free to use the items inside as need be, or stash your gardening items in there between visits. I suspect it is safe enough. Who would steal things from a garden that feeds the homeless?

What is yet to be –

The big news this week is a visit from Patsy Burdick and her group from Mustard Seed Cafe in El Paso. They are going to view the garden, have lunch with Steven Hebbard of Genesis Gardens and then meet with Allan Graham of Mobile Loaves and Fishes to help them as they infuse El Paso with the Awesomeness of God’s Love. If anyone reading knows anyone else in Austin they should talk to about their project before heading back, let me know and I will pass it on.

To do this week –

  • Hand water the cucumbers, the seeds on the outside of the fence post and the melon ring (see above) Tuesday(ish)
  • Weed – look for grass in the actual planting beds. We will get the stuff on the sides in an upcoming work day
  • bring compostables (see the how-to post)
  • I will run the drip lines on Thursday, depending on the weather outlook

How to Compost

The low down –

  • oversimplification – compost is decayed or decaying organic matter and all the micro-organisms that helped do the decaying
  • we need compost for the garden. I don’t want to wax too poetic about compost – plenty of garden writers have already – but it is important to feed the soil to feed the plants (I think I do wax a bit later in the post, I couldn’t help myself)
  • we have compost bins at the garden to make compost, here is how
  1. You make a salad and keep the trimmings, make coffee and keep the grounds, rake up your leaves and bag them or even make eggs and keep the shells. No meat or grease, please – but any vegetable matter besides weeds. They make all kind of cute compost containers but a big bowl in the refrigerator has always been my (but not my wife’s) favorite method. Don’t chill the leaves, of course, they can stay outside.
  2. Bring said materials (now called compostables) to the garden
  3. Open the top of the designated compost bin – the active bin will be bin #1 – the southern-most (closest to the gate) bin
  4. Dump in your compostables
  5. Sprinkle with a little (maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 gallon or less) water from the hose
  6. Turn slightly using the garden fork
  7. close lid
  8. Stand back and
  9. let the magic happen – worms and fungi and bacteria will go to town on the stuff you were just too high up on the food chain to eat. They will eat and poop and live and die. The temperature will rise in the pile to 160 degrees – you could, but shouldn’t, cook a steak in there.
  10. On some work day when the bin is full we will turn the entire lot over into bin # 2 and start again.
  11. Then some fateful day, we will check our compost and it will look not like banana peels, coffee grounds and oak leaves; but instead look like the blackest, freshest, best smelling dirt you ever saw. We will rejoice and mix it into our planting beds.
  12. More rejoicing
  13. Repeat as needed (both composting and rejoicing)


What Up With That? – March 18th 2012 edition

What has been –

Things are (mostly) growing. The tomatoes look best of all, and are almost as tall as their sign (“you must be at least this tall to call yourself a tomato plant”). We have good sproutage of potatoes in bed #5 and even a surprise potato appearance in the broccoli bed  (#1). I don’t think anything was eating the broccoli, afterall. They look pretty spry to me. The reason for the “mostly” disclaimer in the opening line is that the cucumbers had spotty germination and the ones that are up look pretty sad. I think they need an intervention – “we love you, but we expect more from you . . . ”

Thanks to Blake Matthews for a during the week drop in check on the garden. Everyone loves a cameo.

What is yet to be –

More rain tonight! Yes! We look forward to seeing if the revamped trenching holds up or if we have drainage issues on the northwest side of the garden again. I think on Wednesday I’ll check that out and give the cucumbers a seaweed spray and a stern talking to. Maybe time to plant something else where the cucumbers obviously have no intention of germinating? Okra or peppers? I am open to suggestions.

Also coming up next week on the 29th, we are going to be visited by a roving gang of El Pasonians from . They are going to check out our garden and pick my brain for useful information (good luck with that, ladies). They are also going to meet with Steven Hebbard to learn more about gardening for good and for awesome. This is a very exciting turn of events, a step towards this garden blessing God’s people like it is meant to do.

To do this week –

  • No drip irrigation needed, again!
  • hand water cucumbers and possible new seeds / transplants on Thursday (I’ll keep you posted)
  • bring us your compostables (refer to not yet posted, but upcoming, “how to compost” post)
  • weed – if it looks like grass, it is grass. And as it is not our mission to feed horses and cows, it must go.

What Up With That – 031212 edition

What has been –

Brian Chilton has come back and added a very comely gate and compost bin to the garden. More on compost later, but first check out this sweet gate. I added the rock.

It rained! How much? I don’t know for sure as I keep forgetting to bring out a rain  gauge but the nearest LCRA station measured 2.8 inches. That is rain enough to do this some damage (see photos). The potatoes are up and so are some seedlings that look like some member of the legume family – beans or peas. I have made corrections to the planting list in the plan to show that I do not actually know what all we planted on build day.

What is yet to be –

Coming up this week I hope some of the seeds planted on the fence begin to sprout. Maybe the legumes will grow enough to be identified. We are watching the broccoli closely to see if some leaf damage is rain / hail or worms. Get your own broccoli, worms.

What is to be done –

  • no drip irrigation needed this week
  • hand water seedlings Thursday(ish)
  • Hand pull that bermuda grass – it likes rain and garden soil more than I do. And that’s a bunch.
This weeks overview photograph – 

Updated Garden Plan / Drawing

I have no doubt that many of you are thinking “why doesn’t the garden plan on the website match the garden? This is very upsetting.” The silence of your not-sent emails of protest is deafening! I relent. Here is your updated garden plan / drawing – 

As you all noticed, the beds do not run perpendicular to the fences but are, in fact, diagonal. This is because 1) the slope of the site runs both south to north and east to west and Steven pointed out to us that we really had no other option of bed placement and 2) we can say that we diagonalized our garden, which is in keeping with our core value of awesomeness.

The beds are now numbered and these are the numbers we will refer to in all future postings. We are open to nicknaming the beds and bed #3 currently has an application pending for “big boy”. (early rumors are that bed #3 is going to be denied.)

Current planting list –

Bed #                 Plant

1                         Broccoli

2                         cucumbers

3                         tomatoes / legume of some kind

4                         tomatoes / legume of some kind

5                        potatoes / legume of some kind