Posts filed under ‘Planting’

Community Farming Irrigation

Our work and love of Mother Earth includes: irrigation, building houses, harvesting, weeding, training tendrils of our beans and squash, ETC! The sunshine showers these days, so many of us gardeners attend to the hydrating needs of our plants.

Many gardeners use furrow irrigation. The photo post from Tuesday shows you many furrows in El Jardin. As young farmers, we experiment with the land based on what we learned on our past farming adventures. In this spirit, we created our own irrigation system. This year we walked around our parcel to determine the place of each plant to approach Mother Earth differntly.

On Sunday and Monday, we scupted Mother Earth to feed and nurture our plants. Because we planted where we felt our plants should go, we cratfed the land so each plant or groups of plants grow from a basin made in the earth. Our tomatoes and squash have individual water resevoir. Meanwhile our rows of brassicas and rows of chiles turned out to be a longer, lower basin, reminiscient of one of the stages of furrow irrigation. The water then settles and soaks into our earth, nurturing the roots. Our plants grow in a good way, accept the good bestowed upon them, and fend off that which hurts them.

Our community garden offers plenty of learning opportunities. Although we used this type of irrigation system this year, we see many other irrigation types in our garden. It is helpful to learn so much from one’s neighbors. In this way we share our knowledge and experiences, so we may become better farmers and a stronger community.

June 13, 2012 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

Furrow Irrigation

Watering is a regular task in the garden, and many gardeners look for ways to make this task easier.  In the beach flats garden, most of the parcels are planted in rows or furrows.  The furrow is a mound of soil that has been scooped up onto the base of the plants.  To water, a gardener places the hose at one end of the row and it runs to the other end and fills up.  This allows the water to soak in down by the roots where it is needed.  Initially the seeds are sown on flat soil.  Once the plants reach sufficient height, the gardener comes with a garden hoe and scoops the soil from between the rows and mounds it up onto the base of the plant.  In the process the gardener kills any weeds encountered.  This process is repeated several times throughout the season to control weeds.  Once the plants get tall enough they will shade the soil and weeds will have a hard time growing.

June 12, 2012 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Harvest as you go

Cilantro is planted in almost every parcel in the garden.  It can be seen growing tall in rows and solitary bunches.  In some places it crouches at the base of cornstalks, or sneaks between the cabbage leaves.  When planted in a row, a gardener can harvest the cilantro as needed for a few months.  In order to ensure a steady supply of the tasty little green ruffled leaves; most gardeners sow cilantro seeds every 1 to 2 months.  If the plants are left until they seed and dry, the seeds can be collected.  Use the seeds to plant more cilantro, ore use them in cooking.

June 10, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Calabaza Calabaza Calabaza!

Squash, zucchini, pumpkin, whatever you call them in english, they’re all called calabaza in spanish.  In the beach flats garden, the calabaza is king in the late spring and early summer.  They can produce fruit until late fall in Santa Cruz, but when the first fruit appears in April – May, gardeners start counting the days until the calabazas are ready.

May 29, 2012 at 10:19 am 1 comment

Repollo – Cabbage

Cabbage is a favorite crop at the beach flats garden because it is a fast grower that is easy to sprout and very productive.  Each plant only produces one head of cabbage, and most gardeners plant them in rows for easy irrigation.  By harvesting down the row as needed, one can get a long season out of one row.  A fresh head of garden cabbage can last for weeks in the fridge, making it ideal for a busy gardener’s lifestyle.  It can be used one leaf at a time or thinly sliced for tacos.

May 29, 2012 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

Fava Bean – Seed Bank to Dinner Table

Fava Beans are a great crop to grow in Coastal California.  They can be planted in the fall for a spring harvest or in the spring for a fall harvest.  Under the right conditions, the plants can reach over 4 feet tall and have long pods filled with big tasty beans.  When grown over the rainy season, irrigation is often unnecessary due the plentiful rain.  The leaves are edible, and often show up in gourmet dining establishments when they’re in season.  As a bonus, they can be used as a cover crop in the winter to reduce weed growth and boost your soil fertility.  A great addition to any garden, Fava Beans are easy to grow and fun to prepare.

To incorporate the all mighty fava into our garden I went to the seed bank at Subrosa last spring and procured some heirloom purple fava beans (about 5 seeds total).  I sowed these in the back of our parcel for the 2011 summer season.  After many months of growing, blooming, and finally drying, the fava bean seeds were ready for harvest.  I collected a basket full of dried fava bean pods  and brought them home.  After a few more days drying in the sun on my the porch, I shelled the beans and gathered them into a glass jar to save for later.  In the fall the whole parcel was sown with the beans in rows about 18 inches apart.  These hearty plants grew all winter with the help of the sun and rain.  In April, when the first seed pods were forming, I cut down three quarters of the plants and dug them into the soil for compost.  The remaining favas stayed in the ground a few more weeks until the pods were large and fully developed.  Last week they were ready, so I harvested three quarters of the remaining beans.  One row was left for seeds.

The fresh fava bean pods were brought home, and together we shelled the first bag of them.  The whole beans were then boiled for one minute and then drained.  After this, the beans have to be husked one by one.  Once this is done, you are ready to enjoy your beans.  Some people complain that fava beans are lot of work to prepare.  This may be true, but in reality the work is easy and goes by pretty quickly.  I feel that the ease of growing and harvesting of these beans makes up for the little bit of extra work in the kitchen.  And besides, if you grow your own dry beans, you have to shell them anyways, so the difference in work between favas and black or pinto beans is minimal.

We ate our fava beans over a bed of quinoa with a garnish of fresh garden oregano and cilantro with lemon juice and pine nuts.  A dash of salsa livened up the mixture with some fresh chile and tomato flavor.

May 26, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts