CHANGE OF WEBSITE…REDIRECT YOURSELF TO GROW…

We’ve moved and would like to invite you to our new ning website.  It is loads classier, and more accessible! Check it out at 1000NEWGARDENS.NING.COM – if you see the banner below, you’re in the right place!  Peas, Max

1,000 New Gardens Montana

You can also contact an organizer(s) directly depending on where you live …

 

In Missoula:
Emerald LaFortune & Kelli Roemer(208)301-0535
1000newgardens@gmail.com

In Bozeman:
Max Smith(406)214-6664
1000newgardensbozeman@gmail.com

We Dig Plants

I just got word about a new radio show on the incredible Heritage Radio Network out of NY. If you don’t know about HRN, the station’s got a station for every sort of local foodie–the cook, the grower, the local food system policymaker. And for the musically inclined there’s Snacky Tunes which had they listened to the crack of my leek whip would have been called Carrot Noise. But owell. The new show is called We Dig Plants and you can stream each program here.

I’m not sure whether it’s completely relevant to the whole vegetable/pseudo wiccan/community organizing principles of 1kng, but no one can argue against its value…With such a stunning description that makes me think of the Pollan’s Botany of Desire, I can only think of its importance as we proceed forward with this community redevelopment project.

“Garden designers, Carmen Devito & Alice Marcus Krieg of Groundworks Inc, will delve into our human relationship with plants: as food, medicine, fodder and as a source of beauty and inspiration. We’ll bring the “culture” to horticulture and discuss such topics as: botany how to, cultivation, horticultural history, garden design trends and all things generally budding.”

Plus…it’s winter. Is there a better time to listen casually about plants?

Gardeners Don’t Hibernate in January

It’s cold and windy, the Montana environment is at its most formidable. For first-time and returning gardeners alike, the weather conditions couldn’t be more aligned with the Winter gardening tasks–curling up on a tea-stained couch at night with seed catalogs and a mock-diagram of your garden plot.

1,000 New Gardens cultivator, Geoff Badenoch (ie. Tiger Prawn) spied a neat, hopefully less intimidating website for new gardeners to peruse. He writes, “www.gardeners.com is obviously a commercial gardening source, but I thought this was an interesting way to picture and plan a garden.” For all practical purposes, it’s all there. The plot design function (dimensions and plant makeup) is worthy of any new gardeners’ attention. It’s ripened for you to start visualizing your space, especially if you’re considering companion planting or any sort of vegetable organization (read: control in the garden patch). If you’re in search of the ultimate resource for companion planting (or anything really, from ordering seeds to planting to preparing soil and harvesting) look no further than the local gardening expert Sandra Perrin’s book Organic Gardening in Cold Climates (pages 59-63). The Missoula Public and University of Montana Libraries are loaded with copies.

SEEDS–1kng organizers in Missoula have begun planning the 2nd Annual Seedluck (seed ordering potluck) to take place in late February or early March. Last year’s gathering at the public library was littered with great food and words from long-time Missoula  gardeners. We’d like to pack the room with new growers this year so stay in the loop for specific information on the winter feast!

HOPS–If you’d like to expand your repertoire this year or you’re something of an avid homebrewer, consider starting your own hop vines with rhizomes this spring. The illuminary brewery, Crannog Ales, which brews certified organic beer on-site published a free manual for beginners. It’s called “For a Small Scale & Organic Hops Production. Another mentionable is that last fall I got a tip that the local homebrew store within the Lolo Peak Winery gives away hop rhizomes (pruned from the owner’s plants) each spring–hopefully someone will send out the alert when the goin’ gets hoppy!

JANUARY DIY TIP written by our partners at the Missoula Urban Demonstration site:

Even the best-managed compost pile turns to ice in the winter. The secret to a compost pile that cooks all winter long is to surround it with earth’s natural insulation properties. The technique is called pit composting, and it retains heat in the soil to keep the pile from freezing. All you need are the following: large plastic garbage can, straw bales or bags of dry leaves, and a couple tools you can check out from the Tool Library – a saw or utility knife, drill, and shovel. Cut the bottom off of the garbage can, drill holes in the top 2/3rds of the can for ventilation, and set the can in a hole 6+ inches deep and as wide as the can. Surround it with the straw or leaves, but don’t block all the ventilation holes. Keep the lid on when you’re not adding kitchen scraps and other compostable material. The process is a little slower than composting in warm weather, but the pile shouldn’t freeze. For complete instructions, click the Organic Gardening magazine online link:

WORKSHOPS–Several MUD workshops are playing on channel 7 cable! Check out that link if you’re like me (no tv) and want to watch the instructions online!

-Basics of Beer Brewing workshop: January 8, 2010 from 9pm to 10:30pm & January 9, 2010 from 8:30pm to 10pm

-Electric Fencing For Gardens and Wildlife workshop: January 12, 2010 from 10pm to 11:45pm

-Sewing Basics (Sew Your Own Grocery Bag) workshop: January 15, 2010 from 4:30pm to 6pm

As always, MUD’s upcoming events are also online at http://mudproject.ning.com/events

My Floating Island Raised Bed

I was excited when I won the opportunity to have a Floating Island Raised Bed. When I picked it up, I became more intrigued than excited. Would this really work? And what in the heck kind of oddball material is it made out of ? I still don’t know the answer to the second question. But to the first, the answer is a resounding YES. We had a bit of a late start putting plants into the little quarter-of-a-pie shaped raised bed, but once we put the starts of basil, sunflower, and seeds of more sunflowers, they took OFF. They got bigger and healthier than I’ve ever seen in my gardening experience. We tucked the bed into an ugly corner of our yard and once the plants got nice, big, and green, the visual was much improved. I’ve attached some pictures of the bed and plants. I’ve enjoyed the ease of the raised bed and of watching it morph from a funny looking chunk of plastic into a nice green food machine.

Update on garden!

So this is my second blog about my above ground garden. All is doing very well! I have gotten to enjoy an Italian white eggplant already, and my yellow bell pepper is coming right along! I was concerned about all the rain that we got a couple weeks ago because my garden is below the roof of a shed and water was literally pooling inside of it, but it drained it out and is thriving! My tomato plant is getting very big, and my zucchini has a beautiful orange flower. I ought to take some pictures.. I’ll work on that! So far I am very content with my garden, and love every single day of seeing it grow. Cheers to gardening!

Speaking of Downsizing…

strawberries0808I know it’s totally the wrong time of year to move strawberries, but nevertheless, here I am. I am moving some of my garden beds around and have dug up a bunch of June-bearing plants (variety is ‘Honeyloe’). They need to get in the ground ASAP. Please shoot me an email if you can take them off my hands quickly.

UPDATE: My dug-up plants found a home with a friend and some of her friends, but if you’re desperate for strawberries, let me know. I have 2 more people lined up to take some, but I have a feeling I’ll still have some extras.

Looking Ahead

mintI know that there is still probably enough time to get a quick lettuce or spinach crop in, but it feels like the end of the season to me. Most likely, it’s because I am trying to fit in the monumental task of shuffling my garden beds to accomodate a new, smaller version of my garden for next year. I want to get the move done now, so in the spring, I can stroll blithely out to my garden and just plant away.

In light of that, I have been compiling a mental list of things I learned this year, and before they evaporate from my brain, I thought I’d get them down here:

Next year, I will:

  • put only one tomato in a tomato cage (ok…maybe two, but definitely NOT three)
  • plant only cherry tomatoes
  • grow ‘blue lake’ green beans again
  • remember to use legume innoculant on peas and green beans
  • thin early and brutally
  • put out wasp traps in May, and replenish them all summer
  • remember that squash, zuchini and pumpkin plants get huge
  • cut back the pumpkin plants when they even hint at exceeding their bounds (that is, if I grow them again)
  • try birdhouse gourds again

Next year, I won’t:

  • start anything from seed
  • plant corn
  • plant more than 3 zuchini or squash seeds
  • let the volunteer sunflowers grow in the middle of my (soon-to-be) strawberry bed
  • forget to harvest my herbs

Side note: just how late can you start lettuce, carrots and spinach seeds?

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