Category Archives: Gardens

Spring 2013 Seeds to Start Part 2

Our seedlings from the first workshop sprouted nicely in the flats and were ready to transplant into 4 inch pots on the 26th as planned. There was a chance of rain, but it turned out to be great weather for the workshop after all.

We had a good turn out of volunteers and ended up with about 400 tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers that will be ready for our spring dig-ins starting on March 23rd. I’ve posted a few photos below from the workshop and some of the plants thriving in their temporary home. Join us and the plants for our dig-ins and for upcoming gardening workshops. You can get more information and register on our website.

David —

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2012 Fall Festival

Our 2012 Fall Festival in October was once again, a huge success. Thanks to Boggy Creek Farm for hosting and for everyone that donated their time and energy to making it possible. We had over 20 of Austin’s best restaurants, 2 chef demonstrations, 4 bands, a silent auction and much more. If you missed this one, be sure to plan for 2013 – the date in October will be posted on our website as soon as it’s confirmed.

To see photos from the event, click the picture below and then click the next image that displays.

There’s still room to register for our Seeds to Start workshop this Saturday the 26th where we’ll move the transplants to individual 4 inch pots. For dates of other upcoming events like our spring dig-ins and training workshops, please visit our website.

David —

Seeds to Start Workshop

A lot has happened since my last post – we wrapped up our fall dig-ins in September, we had our annual Fall Festival in October, we held a gardening workshop in November, and completed part 1 of our Seeds to Start (STS) workshop a couple of weeks ago.

I’d like to post a few notes and photos from the first STS workshop so folks can see the progress of the plants before the 2nd workshop in a week or so. Next week, I’ll go back in time and post some pictures from the wonderful Fall Festival we held at Boggy Creek Farm in October.

There was a great turnout for STS in spite of the cold morning – about 18 brave souls joined us to start seeds for our spring gardens. We started a couple of varieties of tomatoes including the yummy heirloom, Brandywine and some Sweet 100 cherries. We also started peppers and eggplant.

We followed our usual process of starting the seeds in flats lined with newspaper using Vortex Germinator soil from The Natural Gardener. A couple of us divided the flats up and each brought 5 of them home to sprout. If all goes well, we’ll return them on the 26th for the second workshop to transplant to individual 4 inch pots.

I have a few pictures below from the workshop and 1 of my setup at home with warming mats to keep the soil temp where these spring veggies need it – around 70 degrees. I use fluorescent lights with standard bulbs (not grow lights), but as I’ve described before, I use 1 cool and 1 warm bulb to provide a more complete spectrum. Now that they’ve sprouted I can take the flats outside on warm days to get the real thing. Even soil moisture is essential during germination so I keep a spray bottle close by. All of this is tucked away on a tarp under a table with the lights hanging from string.

Keep in mind that this same process works well on a smaller scale for your home gardens. You can use a variety of containers if you don’t have flats including egg and milk cartons. You can also sow the seeds directly into 4 inch pots either by putting 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and keeping the strongest – this removes the need to transplant later. Alternatively, you can start 10 or 15 seeds in each pot and transplant them to individual pots once they sprout the 2nd set of leaves – usually in a few weeks. Keep the soil warm and evenly moist and keep the lights close to the pots once they sprout. This is a great way to always have plants ready to go in the ground when the weather is right.

As I mentioned, I’ll post some pictures from our festival next week and otherwise, hope to see you at the 2nd STS workshop or our spring dig-ins. We’ll also have another gardening workshop coming up – visit our website for more information or to register for these events.

David–

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Fall Dig-ns

Our fall dig-ins are off to a great start. Volunteer teams refurbished 5 gardens on Saturday, and in spite of the welcome rain, installed 1 new garden on Sunday. One of Saturday’s refurbs was Imagine Art, a wonderful organization that provides a studio for artists with disabilities. If you happened to see the summer issue of Edible Austin, I had an article on IA and working with them to install their garden last spring. Imagine Art has a large garden area that they want to increasingly use to provide veggies for the lunches they prepare daily and several dinners each week for their artists, volunteers, and friends. The GCP team enjoyed a meal on Saturday during the dig-in as Lydia, a volunteer and artist, prepared delicious migas tacos and Debbie, the founder of IA, made pancakes. We double dug 2 beds and discussed how they can build and maintain compost bins.

On Sunday, I worked with a dedicated team that didn’t let a little (OK, a lot) of rain slow us down. We installed a new garden in a location that involved digging up a few deep-rooted volunteer trees and relocating a rose-bush and several canna lilies. We usually try to find an open area, but this was the spot in the yard with the most sun. By the time we finished, it was raining pretty hard, but we managed to relocate the previous occupants of the area, double dig the bed, plant fall veggies and seeds, and have a philosophic discussion about the meaning of life.

I’ve included a few pictures from the weekend dig-ins below, but first I want to mention that we still have 2 dig-in weekends left for the fall – if you’re interested in sharing your gardening knowledge or learning to garden yourself, please sign up on our website. Also, our amazing Fall Festival is coming up on October 28th. It will be held as usual at Boggy Creek Farm and will have plenty of good food and drink, great music, and chef demonstrations. You can purchase tickets in advance on our website.

I hope to see you and one of the upcoming events!

David —

Spring dig-ins and fall seeds to start

It’s been a while since I posted but GCP hasn’t been sitting still. We installed 6 new gardens last spring and refurbished quite a few others. We’ve held dig-in leader trainings, Seeds to Start workshops, and had our first of hopefully many garden maintenance workshop.

Fall is always busy for us with workshops, dig-ins, and getting ready for our annual festival in October. You can sign-up for dig-ins and workshops on our website as well as purchase tickets for the festival. If you haven’t been before, it’s a great family event held at Boggy Creek Farm with delicious food from Austin’s best restaurants, chef demonstrations, and live music. Here are a few pictures from the spring dig-ins and our recent fall STS workshop – I hope to see you soon!

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David —

Easy, yummy fall gardening

If you grow any kind of food, you’re likely giddy with glee over how the recent rains turbo-charged our water-starved veggie, nut, and fruit friends. But what’s just as real as rain and well, reality, is the fact that in central Texas, we gardeners often got to deal with less-than-favorable gardening conditions. That’s why we always keep some tough old gals in the garden who’ll produce—or just stay alive—through heat waves and drought.

The fall garden season is ideal for enjoying some easy gardening with a whole slew of hardy, reliable veggies. Kids and grownups groove on faves such as carrots, peas, broccoli, spinach, and greens—and if you get busy right quick, you can still get a fall crop of cherry tomatoes and green beans! If you’re a newbie, learn how to fall garden at Green Corn classes; garden newbies and oldbies can amp up the fun by joining a dig-in that helps others grow their own food.

And whether you’re now chowing on a revivified summer crop or licking your chops over the fall haul to come, the EATING part of gardening has got to be one of the best things ever invented. Lately, I’ve been inspired by my tough-as-nails garden pal chard, who stood by me (and my watering hose) all the way through the heinous heat.
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The key to yummy chard for me is pairing it with whatever savory soup broth, sauce, or filling I’ve got going. So I’ll slice up some ruffley leaves to slide into any soup I’m heating up and add handfuls to just about any sauce from tomatoey pasta toppings to say, a garlicky mushroom-chicken melange. Plus, chard leaves make excellent wraps for any kind of leftover or sandwich filling! Check it out:

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Just dip the leaves briefly into simmering salted water, and the chard becomes a strong, pliant wrap for (above) a Greek-style sauté of leftover rice, garlic, lemon, oregano, feta cheese, and pistachio and (right) oniony baked winter squash sparked with orange juice next to Indian-inspired leftover mashed potatoes zipped up with sauteed mustard seeds, onions, cumin, and peas.

As they say in Paris (Texas), très bon! And on top of all this deliciousness, chard (along with other greens) is a nutritional powerhouse veggie, so you’ll be getting all Popeye, too. Seems like now’s a good time, as they say down on 6th street, to “chardy hearty” and get going with a bounteous fall garden!

–Helen, GCP volunteer

Grow the revolution!

“A plot of dirt can be a great place to start a revolution.” Amen to that, and big thanks to Patagonia (see post below) for their generous grant to Green Corn Project as well as Patagonia’s GCP shout-out. Funding like Patagonia’s helps score us sorely needed supplies and lets us do more of what we do: “…empower people with knowledge and skills to create an immediate benefit in their lives,” as Patagonia puts it.

That immediate benefit is a lovely payoff for our volunteers, but while it’s fulfilling to feel the appreciation from folks as we help them create their backyard food garden, it’s thrilling to consider that each dig-in plants another seed that grows the r/evolution toward healthier living for all of us. Plus, it’s superfun to see the garden and the new gardeners flourish over the season! Just one example with some awesome East Austin second-graders on garden plant day:

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And these great junior gardeners on one of many harvest days:

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Come join the revolution!