Saturday, September 18, 2010

Soils and amendments

I attended interesting classes today on soil and organic inputs to the garden.

The soil class included a chance to do a "shake test" of our soil structure.
I need to wait 24 hours for most of the clay to settle out before I will have the results
but it looks like our soil is a pretty nice loam -- yeah!

Soil ecology is fascinating to me. I hope to dig deeper into it, so to speak, in the weeks ahead.

The second session was taught by Naomi of Naomi's Organic Farm Supply.
It was an engaging looks at the various sources available for N-P-K and trace minerals.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Organic Gardening Certificate Program

This Saturday I started the fall session of the Organic Gardening Certificate Program in SE Portland. There are about 50 students. The morning was the big picture about organic gardening and a high level introduction to permaculture.

The afternoon session was at the Learning Gardens Laboratory, two blocks away. Weston, the main instructor, gave us a tour of the gardens which included:
  • master gardener demonstration garden plots where they grow food for a local food bank
  • teaching gardens for elementary school students
  • OSU extension gardens where they were experimenting with gardening in straw bales
  • neighboring community garden
  • Portland Metro demonstration garden for reducing toxic runoff and water-wise gardening
  • a new community garden because the old one had a multi-year waiting list
  • big green houses that are in need of a major renovation
  • a garden for 18-21 year old special ed students to learn gardening skills growing and selling cut flowers
We then broke into three groups and each went through three exercises
  • introductions
  • making a little gadget for visualizing the sun angle at different times of year
  • using triangulation to go from a landscape to a paper plan or from plan to land
The triangulation exercise really clicked for me. I've been trying to settle on a process for developing my base map and overlay maps for the garden plan.