Friday, March 29, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops, 3-28-2013

Our bench in the greenhouse just before we took them out to be planted.
Arrived just a bit late for class Thursday so I missed the opening remarks.  I met up with the class in the green house.  The weather was finally spring like  so we gathered up out cauliflower, beets, leeks and lettuce and went out to the plot.
The first order of business was to build a raised bed in the center of the blot, Carlo took charge of that task.  I think it took nine hay bales and six wheelbarrows whole of soil.  It looks quite smart.  The leeks and beets were then planted in the raised bed since they will benefit the most from loose soil and good drainage that we think we'll get from this bed.
Tina and I turned over the far bed, compost was mixed in and then the cauliflower was planted.  The lettuce was intercropped with the garlic.  We did some more tiding up and dusted the rest of the beds with compost just as the sun set.  Then there was a quick bit of tomato planting and fennel potting before we went back to the classroom for presentations.
Tina started us off with sunflowers.  She said this was her first powerpoint but if she hadn't told me I wouldn't have known.  Sunflowers are native to North and South America.  They like warm, moist soil.  The native Americans consider them the "fourth Sister".  They have a weevil problem and Russia grows the most sunflowers.  The most interesting part of her presentation for me was use of sunflowers for phytoremediation.  I'm going to have to look into that more myself. Tina concluded with some very good cookies!

Up next was Paula with the cranberry.  This was one of the more in-depth presentations we've had. Cranberries are evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines.  There are three types; Common, Small and American.  They are picky about soil type and conditions, they like acid peat soil, lots of water and a long growing season. It takes them six years to make fruit.  Paula also showed some videos of wet harvesting cranberries.  This is possible because cranberries have air chambers so when flooded, they float up.  Paula made two kinds of cranberry muffins and brought a very tasty cranberry preserve.

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