Category Archives: Gardening

Powell Gardens

Public gardens provide a quiet oasis in the midst of many large cities in the world and they are typically on our list of  tours whilst on holiday with my children – even now that they are in the 20s, (though they usually travel by themselves now :-(.

The Royal Botanic Garden in the heart of Sydney, Australia,  Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, MO,  Kumpula Botanical Gardens, Helsinki, Finland and so many others provide a relaxing retreat from the noise of car and public transport.

Powell Gardens, though calling itself the botanical gardens of Kansas City, is actually located some 43 minute drive from Kansas City in the town of Kingsville, MO.  (actually closer to Lone Jack, Missouri)

Powell Gardens has a tiny connection to our family by way of my father-in-law’s uncle, George Powell, Sr who grew up on a farm near Linneus, Missouri.

Currently, Powell Gardens is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organisation operating on gifts and donations.  It is a beautiful place with seven themed gardens, the Marjorie Powell Allen chapel (available for weddings, funerals), educational center, picnicking areas, and year round organized educational and art events, activities, programs, featured events, and annual festivals.  If you have time and can schedule a tour, it will be worth the time.  If your legs cry for a rest, hop on the free tram which runs daily to the various gardens and is wheelchair accessible.

Please bear in mind, the gardens are closed for daily admission in January and February.  As far as i can tell, the only way to get to the gardens is via car (no public transport), so your visit will need to be well planned.

Powell Gardens maintains a Facebook page as well as other social media outreach.

Ultimate Recycling

The most recent issue of Rural Missouri carried a short article on composting.  I never seem to get around to building a compost pile, but i compost all the time on the fly.  I compost straight into the garden or pasture.  The less materials have to be handle the better in my book.  BUT, on a small scale with limited space for growing plus needing a place to ditch those apple cores and coffee grounds, backyard or porch composting is awesome!

Composting:  The Ultimate Way to Recycle

Author,  Pamela A. Keene bases her article on the expertise of Joe Lamp’l, founder of www.joegardener.com and “Growing A Greener World” television show.

Backyard Composting: A Simple Recipe for Making Great Compost

 

Happy Gardening!

tauna

DIY Cold Frame

Just planted some lettuce and spinach and hope to extend its production as late as possible.  Hate to spend money, so found this old kitchen cupboard and a storm glass that is close in size and put them together.  We have lots of cupboards and windows, but i did have to buy the t-hinges.  Tons of hinges around our place, but no t-hinges.  It’s likely that future cold frames, i’ll use the hardware from the door of the cupboard, but the door on this one was missing already.

 

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Cupboard found – missing door.
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Old aluminum framed storm glass – nasty things, but perfect for this project.
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Cleaned up and painted with paint we already have.  I used an outdoor rated spray paint simply because it needed using before it became useless and won’t spray out.  Dark colour is great for absorbing heat.  Before painting, i removed all extraneous hardware.

 

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Cheap hinges from Orscheln’s
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As you can see the top hole of this hinge doesn’t reach the side board, so using a Sharpie marker, i located a spot that would reach.
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Then using our drill press made an extra hole in each.  However, when i installed the hinges, I found that two screws would be sufficient for the hinged glass ‘door’ would have been fine.
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Box completed – no use doing anything to the inside though i may add some sort of insulation on the bottom.
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Voila!  Ready to go to work.  Too early yet – we are expected to have temps in high 80s for another week!

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Pickin’ Blackberries!

It’s that time when the blackberries are ripening in haste.  Years and years ago, my mother-in-law, Mary, planted a few vines on the side hill beside her home.  She is gone now 3 years, but the vines have commandeered a great area.  Son, Dallas, has taken an interest in bringing them under control.  It is a daunting task since blackberry vines are notoriously prickly.  However, it will be nice.  Here you can see two bunches – one he has thinned and one still in a state of chaos and disarray.  I’m thinking that after the season, he should just mow a cross right through the middle and be done with it.

Ideally, someone would dig out the vines and transplant them, but blackberries are cheap to buy, so no use working so hard to produce your own.

Last year, i plucked about 10 gallons worth of berries before they were done producing.  Still enjoying them!

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This is the unruly bushy mess of vines.  It is starting to choke itself out and clearly i cannot harvest the ripe berries near the middle, so this needs care.

 

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This is the side that has been lovingly cared for.  It is interesting to note, that this is more productive – not only because the plants have more ‘breathing space’ if you will, but also because i can actually harvest all the fruits.

 

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Only the fourth day of pickin’ and over a gallon.  Oodles left on those vines in the center of where i cannot reach.  The birds will get those.  In fact, the birds will get all the ripe ones if i don’t harvest every morning!

Cheers!

tauna

FSA Microloans

This might be a good place to look if you need to borrow funds for a small farming or marketing operation startup.

Contact your local FSA (Farm Service Agency) office if interested in a USDA microloan that can help new farmers own land. http://www.fsa.usda.gov/…/farm-loan-progra…/microloans/index

Program Description:

The focus of Microloans is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations, such as truck farms, farms participating in direct marketing and sales such as farmers’ markets, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponic, organic and vertical growing methods. 

Cheers!

tauna

 

 

A CSA App

A new tool is available for market gardeners who operate CSAs!

Open Source Software for CSAs Funded by Western SARE
Press Release

Jacksonville, OR, March 15, 2016 – The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA in Southern Oregon has recently unveiled innovative, open source software developed through funds acquired from SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) to assist CSA farmers in connecting with their
members. At a time when farmers work hard to keep up with some of the latest trends in the local food movement nationally, CSA coordinator Maud Powell sought to provide a high-tech, user friendly tool to support CSA members interested in having their member information right at their fingertips. “CSAs continue to be a great marketing channel for farmers, but in order to attract customers, they need to be adaptive to cultural trends,” says Maud.

The first of its kind, the CSA App was developed by Josh Shupak with assistance from Lars Faye of Chee Studio and Becky Brown of iWrite. Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA members participated in surveys and focus groups to determine the features and functionality that would be used in the App. The CSA App supports CSA members with easy access to product information, recipes, cooking and storage tips and nutritional information for the produce found in their weekly CSA shares.

The mobile friendly tool was created using a web based platform and is easily customizable by anyone comfortable using a computer and navigating the internet. “The whole idea is to keep it simple for the farmer and easy to use for the membership,” says Powell. “I wanted to help make CSAs more relevant and accessible for younger generations, and the most obvious way to do that is through the use of technology.” Farmers can utilize the templates in the web platform to create their very own personalized App that can include product information, recipes, cooking videos, farmer bios and any specific instructions about how and where to pick up weekly CSA box deliveries. Creative users may even find additional ways to provide valuable information to their members using mobile technology.

Access to the customizable web platform is provided free of charge, although a valid credit card is required to secure information in the account set up phase. All existing content is open source and available for use, although customization may be necessary to reflect the specifics of a particular CSA farm. The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA App can be viewed here: https://mobile-csa.herokuapp.com/.

For instructions on how to get started or for more information visit:
http://www.siskiyoucoop.com/csa/app/.

Becky Brown
Freelance Commercial Writer
541-890-1936

What is CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)?

the Garden – by George Weigel

Quick read in Rural Missouri magazine on pages 29-31. the Garden

Increase Your Gardening ROI – These 10 veggies off the best payback

Four Season Gardening – How to make your yard interesting year-round.

Seven Worst Gardening Blunders – Avoid these mistakes and improve your success.

George Weigel is a Pennsylvania-based horticulturist, garden consultant, author, and newspaper garden columnist.  His website is www.georgeweigel.net

these articles are published in our Rural Missourian Electric Coop magazine with recommendations to contact the University of Missouri extension for gardening tips.  Try checking with the extension in your area for more specific info.

Weather is warming up – get crackin’!

cheers

tauna