IVC workday involved weeding extisting beds, adding bark to paths and deep digging of four 80 foot long tomato beds. Oyster shells will be delivered April 21st and will help complete the road and additional pathways.
Pictured below in the IVC greenhouse are Marins Master Gardners' tomatoes grown for their annual plant sale. The greenhouse will be filled by the end of the week with melons, eggplant, herbs, flowers and vegetables.
" Farming is both repose and active" spoken by Wendy Johnson, our instructor who led us through a personal and insightful tour of the Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center. Our Indian Valley College Farming class has yielded a communal identity. And with this collectiveness we enjoyed experiencing what a continuum of farming could produce.
Our day of "repose" also included tours of Slide Ranch and Star Route Farm.
Pictured below: Vacum seeding lettuce at Green Gulch
Row crops at Green Gulch
A view of Slide Ranch
At Star Route Farm we discussed the science of organic farming with manager Doug Gallagher.
Am finding myself itching to get back to IVC farm, wanting to thin our lettuce,check on our starters in green house, work on farm plan, look at seed catelogs, my soil homework, pepper varieties....need more manure........
Checking our compost, melons and starting a farm plan...
Lecture began with the making of a farm plan. What you can and can't grow. What are you going to do with your end product? Planning, germination, spacing between rows, irrigation, mulch, ground temperature. We have our homework to do.
On to melons, In the greenhouse we started the following melons: Hime Kansen Watermelon, Imperial 45 Cantelope, Hales Best Jumbo Cantelope, Mickeylee Watermelon, Old Orginal Melon and Moon & Star Watermelon. My mouth is watering just thinking of harvesting a melon warmed slightly by the sun.
Compost is hot! Check out the pictures.
Lecture - Building our compost piles.
Wendy and Steve discussed choosing our spot for compost. Ideally you want not too much sun or wind exposure. The lecture took place as we built our four piles. 5 feet x 5 feet x 5 feet is a good minimum pile size for benefits of creating hot compost. Step one is to break up the ground (don't turn) this allows for the microbes to travel to and fro from soil to compost. We started with a light dusting of manure followed by roughage material. The layering of straw, kitchen waste, vetch, and manure creates a ratio of nitrogen and carbon to keep the microbes well balanced.
As you layer be sure to square up the sides and build from the edges in. Our aim is for a table top pile not a pyramid.
We are so proud of our piles! The day ended with a lecture of the benefits of composting a few are: stabilizes nitrogen, kills most pathogens and weed seeds, introduces a wide population of microbes, reduces volume of wastes, rapidly produces humus.
- Author: Ellie Rilla
Wendy went over the structure of the soil elements involved in farming and gardening, and Steve gave a presentation on organic matter in the soil, from green living, to decomposing compast and natural plant decay to humus.
Students went into the field to apply what they learned through adding compost mulch to the existing beds,
digging in compast, and planting starts in the new and existing beds.
Excercises in watering in, hose management and general plant maintainence were performed.