Saturday, September 11, 2010


We were honored to have Walter Haugen of FA Farms show up during our "tail gate" party. He was just finishing up some gardening at the Christian Heath Care garden, and I waved him over to join us.

While enjoying the good food shared by NCCR's, we learned a lot from Walter with his stories and experience.

Thank you Walter that you joined!

Good Gardening Neighbors

What a glorious day...sun and blue sky, gentle breeze, and wonderful people to enjoy! Thank you to you NCCR's that came!

No it's a "tail gate" party

A neighbor walked by and thought this was a tail-gate party since I was sitting on my truck's tail gate. Well of course it is whatever it is ... Just plain fun!


Here's the start of our 2010 BBQ!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

People-Pocket Circle

To provide a sense as to the sort of bamboo I am planning on planting in the raised compost bed that forms the People-Pocket Circle, I gladly submit the following pictures.

This particular ornamental species is call Golden Crookstem. It is one of, if not the, favorite of mine. It goes through such a wondrous color change.

In the spring, new shoots and subsequent clums (canes) are an almost translucent light yellow. Shortly with any amount of direct sun, these clums "sunburn". Yes they turn as red as you or I (the white guy that I am) when over done in the sun.

As the summer turns to fall then to winter, the culms gradually change to yes it's name-sake, golden yellow.

Very cool. See below what I am talking about.

Another interesting feature with Golden Crookstem is that subsequent shoots and clums come up very you can see. This keeps wild boars out of your backyard...

Lastly a fun thing to watch is as the clum grows, once in a while one will bend. Within a few days it tries to re-correct to the vertical but over compensates. After about 3-4 tries it gets back on to vertical trajectory...leaving behind a "crook" stem. Funny how a play on words is sometimes as accurate as the nose on our face.

So in the next couple weeks, you should begin to see clumps of this 8th Wonder of the World appear in the circle's raised bed.

Oh you ask, what's the deal with the raised bed? This effectively allows us to see those nasty, world-takeover rhyzomes that spread bamboo to expose itself. We then simply cut that brutish beast...and we can all breathe a sigh of relief -- life will go on tomorrow.

(Click to zoom)

Phyllostachys aureosulcata "Aureocaulis"

Soil Analysis

Thanks to Fred Likkel of N3 Consulting (Lynden, WA) we received a soil test analysis from Soiltest Farm Consultants, Inc (Moses Lake, WA).

Below are the results.

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The section "Interpretation Guide" provides a good overview on the key elements.

The pH seems a bit on the acidic side. The report recommends applying 0.5 ton per acre. Well let's whittle that down to plot-scale:

An acre equals 43,560 square feet. A 1/2 ton equals 1,000 pounds. To get weight of lime per square feet we divide 1,000 by 43,560 = 0.023 pound per square foot.

A 10X10 plat has 100 square feet.

Multiply 100 times 0.023 = 2.3 pounds of lime for that plot. Double this for 10X20 plots = 4.6 pounds.

If evenly distributed, there you go, you're now a full-fledged agricultural lime expert!

I hope my math is correct. If not, I am sure (as I should) I will hear about it.


Buckwheat Sprouts

On June 18, I seeded 4 plots with buckwheat. Since they had not been claimed by anyone, the weeds were into a serious party. That ended the 18th.

After tilling up the weed-dead-heads, I scattered buckwheat seed, and lightly tilled in the seed to about an 1 1/2 inch deep. As you can see it has sprouted. And as of yesterday was growing very well.

The purpose is for the buckwheat plant to provide a living cover for the soil, suppressing weeds, and ultimately to be sacrificed in about 2-months to the tiller and become green manure.

Shortly after I will sow with berseem clover for the fall and winter. This adds up to 200 lbs/acre of available nitrogen.

So watch as little Bucky grows this summer. Welcome our new friend as we do our new NCCG members.

(Click on picture to zoom)


Boys and Girls Club Visit The Garden

This noon, I had the "chance" encounter with meeting and visiting with a wonderful group of boys and girls from the B&G Club of Lynden.

I was putting one more load of compost on the "People-Pocket" circle over by the evergreen trees...and saw the group come over and visit the garden. Well, I carry my handi-dandi digital camera everywhere and got to take some pictures.

Not only that, but the leaders of the group asked if I'd give a little talk on the garden. The "ham" that I am (love the rhyme) immediately obliged.

Talked about the history of the property, the formation of the garden group, the reason for growing your own food, the connection and community it fosters. Had lots of questions. They especially were intrigued by the Peregrine JacKite flying nearby.

After the group picture (see below) I asked if they would like to take some lettuce and some Kohlrabi (aka "space alien") back for lunch. Sure enough. I offered each to take some lettuce with them. They really wanted more "space aliens".

Shared also the demonstration plot of mine as a "lasagna" garden. I found out in the course of that discourse -- Garfield loves lasagna. Umm...I didn't know that. Got to watch more TV I guess. Ha!

I hope the B&G Club can use one of our plots...would love to see the learning and experience they would gain.

(Click on picture to zoom)

Never new Collard leaves were good for flying...


Friday, May 29, 2009


Yes...we now have water on-site! As of yesterday evening, the garden has 2 hydrants to draw upon for plant-giving, life-nourishment.

Thanks to Larry Van Andel (Whatcom-Skagit Trenching) for his donation of time and equipment plus professional services, our North City Community Garden has water. Thanks so much Larry!

Click on pictures to zoom.



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Entry Arch is UP!

Thanks to our dear friends, Gerrit Starkenburg and Jay Hafford, we now have our "Entry Arch" installed.

With a little elbow grease here, and a little there, these two fine chaps worked 1/2 the day on this project. With their great help and all of the equipment and machinery used to pull this what a deal for the community garden. Who would have "thunk-it", that so much would be needed to put 5 pieces of wood together and stick it in the ground. I have a hugely increased appreciation for all the telephone and power folk - now.

Next we will explore putting up our sign. Jay has some really nice rough-sawed cedar that could look all the "part". Gerrit suggested a routered out lettered concept. Could be real nice!

Click on pictures to zoom.
Gerrit and Jay


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Garden Scenes

A good day of rest it is, this fine Sunday. Now we can step back and view the new start of life in our garden.

Here are some scenes from our garden on this day of rest - May 17, 2009.

[Click on pics to zoom]


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sun Brings Out Green-Thumbers

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Today - the sun was out, it's around 70 degrees, light's just plain or simply wonderful. Aah that explains why there's a growing crescendo of our NCCG GreenThumbers decending upon their cherished plots. Sweet!

With all the good rain the last week, with more sun and warmth...stand back and watch our garden grow NOW!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Demo Garden

A demonstration garden plot has begun in our North City Community Garden.

Yesterday we created a "Sheet Mulch" or "Lasagna" garden plot. This 5' by 10' plot will be maintained to grow vegetables, while at the same time significantly reducing labor and energy with tilling and weeding.

This approach also greatly enhances the ecology of soil organisms by reducing disturbances, and by building up the organic base of the soil.

You will see below the sequence of steps that were employed to build this particular plot.

Click on pictures to zoom.
The existing 6 inches of topsoil was removed to be used later.

Next, 4 inches of grass clippings were added.

Next, 2 inches of Smit compost was added.

Next, 1-2 inches of oat straw was added.

Next, 4 inches of more grass clippings were added.

Next, some of the topsoil was returned to the plot.

Next, more straw.

The remaining topsoil was added.

Final step, added 4 more inches of Smit compost.

Now we will start to plant.

Here, 2 days later, we planted all but 15% of the available plot space.

Some call this "intensive gardening"...where a variety of vegetable plants are co-mingled and in close quarters. Not only will this provide greater production, but will help shade out areas where weeds would ordinarily pop-up, keep the soil cooler in mid-summer with less evaporation, and it just looks nice.

One of the benefits with intensive, sheet-mulch gardening is that when one plant or group of vegetable has matured and then harvested, you simply replace that spot with another plant or variety for later harvest. Thus you have this ongoing rotation of vegetable production, where the soil bed is rarely vacant.

By next year, all the grass and straw will have completely decomposed. The current layers of mulch and compost will stabilize and provide a extremely healthy soil community that will provide a nutrient fertility that is balanced and sustainable.

Stay tuned for how this will all work out through this summer.

BTW: There is another "Sheet Mulch" or "Lasagna Garden" over on BC Avenue in Lynden.