Community Dig It Education Farm to School The Learning Garden


The February Floods are here! Despite the seemingly ever-rising tide that is inundating everything, the garden team is still hard at work in the field, seeding, planting, harvesting & hustling to keep the food flowing. In the previous storm about fourteen of the fiberglass roof panels were blown off the Shade House roof; luckily with the timely help of legendary volunteer Paul Winsor & Garden Tech Matthew Richards the damage was undone on a blustery yet clear Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately even with a bulletproof roof the water seeps up from underground turning the porous floor of the Shade House into an aesthetically pleasing gazing pool.

(1) Garden Manager Kyra picking the last of our Dino Kale for Harvest Market. (2) One of our 30′ Swiss Chard beds, recently thinned from 3-4 plants per cluster to 1-2; rebounding nicely, the thinned plants were transplanted into the former pepper tower. Chard is definitely a Prima Donna, and you get much better results with fewer plants per foot. (3) Tree collards looking fabulous, heavily picked for Farmer’s Market just last week, already regenerated; their flavor has grown much sweeter since the last frost. (4) Bull’s Blood Beets, been in the ground for four months, on the verge of harvest. (5) Venerable Fava Beans, this is approximately 3 months of growth, our healthiest and widest stand (five rows), will leave for seed, unlike our other Fava rows which are designated as cover crops & will be chop’n’dropped for green manure as they flower.

(1) Artichokes, surprisingly abundant, these were transplanted in early Fall as nodes thinned from our initial nine plants that were donated last Summer. (2) Two varieties of garlic, an early local rosa (donated) and standard Silverskin (foreground). We planted a lot of garlic this year! (3) We call this area the “trench” since it collects most of the runoff from both the Shade House and the East Hoop House; Favas are planted for cover crop, soon they will be sacrificed as we plant five varieties of potatoes in this spot. (4) One of NFF’s own unique creations, this hybrid of purple sprouting broccoli & Siberian kale arose naturally in this chard bed; both the leaves and the sprouts are delicious.

(1) Pollinator friendly flowers for the upcoming 2017 Earth Day Celebration Plant Sale: Coyote Mint, Foxglove, Splendens, Pincushion, Zinnia Envy, Zinnia Benary, Marigold Gem Lemon, Blazing Star, Penstemon, Beach Aster, and Chalk Buckwheat. In the background we have Tree Collard cuttings that have rooted successfully, these were started by Magnolia Barrett mid-Fall, a Bridger Onion and six Asparagus starts that hopefully will be going into the ground sometime in early Spring. (3) Beets, Brassicas, Mache, Komatsuna, Ageratum, Crimson Clover, Peter Donelan’s ‘Uber’ Dutch Salanova Lettuce, Marigolds, Onions and several other random things. (4) Swiss Chard, more Lettuce, more Brassicas. This year we are trialing several new varietals: Umpqua & Marathon Broccoli and Graffiti Cauliflower among them.

(1) Detail shots of Mache (recently potted up). (2) Marigolds, seeded by Kyra from our own stock. (3) Bridger Onions destined for the Hospitality House Hope Garden. (4) Blue Planet Ageratum, kept under fine mesh because it’s apparently a favorite snack of slugs & snails. (5) Crimson Clover, one of our favorite cover crops, we grow it in plugs and transplant into various areas to add extra nitrogen. The flowers can also be harvested and dried for medicinal purposes (circulation & blood health).

(1) Uber Lettuce, the germination rate is about 99%, described as the ‘best lettuce in the world’ by Peter, these seeds are several years old (as far back as 2004) but have been kept in an airtight light-proof container. (2, 3) Two flats of Komatsuna using two different soil formulas, note the difference in coloration. (4) Crosby Egyptian Beets, these really need to get weeded & put into the ground! The yellowing outer leaves indicate the beginnings of nutritional deficit, but it is also beautiful at this stage.

(1) The once epic “Pepper Tower” undergoing a dramatic renovation, clover has been thinned, peppers have been cut at the base, Sweet Peas & Swiss Chard have been transplanted into the most viable containers; amendment is to follow. (2) Our nifty “Strawberry Wall”, believe it our not we have been getting a steady if not anemic harvest from these plants. (3) Ripe, delicious strawberries in February? Why yes, it is possible! Initially these plants were remnants of our late summer propagation workshop, I couldn’t bear to throw them away so this wall was the result. A massive ant colony has also taken up residence throughout the structure, doing wonders for soil aeration. They are overwintering nicely.

(1) East Hoop House totally flooded, most of the leaks in the plastic roof were fixed last Winter, but nothing can stop the groundwater which is constantly bubbling to the surface. (2) Last but not least some of our best bee forage in the Main Beds, Borage! This self sustaining stand has been going non-stop for at least six months. The flowers are also edible and quite delicious.

That’s all for now, hopefully the rain will give us a little break soon. I’ll be back at the start of next month for another Photo Update.