Garden Update!

At the garden we have been blessed by two delights in the last few weeks. The first include the variety of flowers that have bloomed recently in our garden. Colour abounds all around us and we are thankful to be able to care for and enjoy these plants. Below are a variety of pictures for you to enjoy of these flowers. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. The other delight we have enjoyed is the crop we’ve harvested in the past little while. Apples abound here and we have gathered them along with a few of the first radishes from out front. We also got a few volunteers to take the crop to the Native Women’s Centre. Thanks friends!

BEES!

Here at Faith, in our work in the garden and out in the community, we focus a lot on plants. More specifically, for this post, I’d like to touch on the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we grow here. In order for many of these plants to be able to be grown in the way we grow them, there is something essential required. BEES! Bees are one of the greatest pollinators in our world, and we are lucky to have them. Here are some facts to think about next time you see a bee.
– 1/3 of ALL FOOD requires pollination, including many of the plants we grow here at Faith
– 70 different types of crops are pollinated by bees
– Pollinators including bees and other insects contribute between $235 and $577 BILLION to the global economy
Unfortunately bees are under threat, and are experiencing higher than normal colony collapse. Pesticides and continual human expansion continues this problem. I’ve attached a picture of good pollinators that will help bees from the City of Guelph. I hope you learned to love the bees, and remember their importance.
 
Sources:
– the BBC & the British Beekeepers Association
-the World Economic Forum
-the City of Guelph

Fruit and Veggies

As we’re working on the gardens it has been exciting to see some of the crops that are beginning to grow and even fruit. There are a variety of fruits and vegetables that we are growing. These include: cabbage, peppers, sour cherries, pears, plums, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, rhubarb, zucchini, and more! Check out some of the pictures below to see what we’ve grown.

Work and Beauty

As anyone who has been outside in the past few weeks would notice, it is incredibly hot out there! It has begun to feel between thirty and forty degrees Celsius with the humidity. When the heat gets that high, it can take quite a toll when you’re out in the garden. Throughout our experience as people we are often faced with difficulty struggles that can bog us down. Heat is one thing, but we all deal with different difficulties in life. At least in our experience, the beauty of the garden is something that we hold onto when it gets hot. The heat brings the beauty, and the beauty brings the joy. We are thankful for the work we are given in this place, and the beauty we can experience while doing it. We hope that the pictures posted here today, of us in the garden doing some work, and of the beautiful flowers that have begun to bloom, will bring you some joy and remind you of the beauty.

Community Garden: Planting Update

An update on our community garden progress! We’ve planted a variety of different vegetables & fruit including potatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchinis, pumpkins, cantaloupe, red peppers, green peppers, red cabbage, and even some ginger and turmeric. We also planted some more marigolds to care for the bees.

Our planting and care process involve a variety of steps. For many of the plants we dug deep holes that we flooded with water before planting to saturate the soil. This step allows for deep root growth at the outset of planting. For even greater saturation we often dug trenches around the plants that we soaked as well. Considering nutrition in some of our plants, we used compost from the spot out back and egg shells that  we had been saving. Both of these products are a more sustainable way of feeding our plants!

Mulch: Sustainability in Practice

 

One of the goals we are attempting to work towards in the community garden is increased sustainability in our work. The most recent method we’ve established to reach this goal is our new mulching process. In this post, I’m going to tell you about our mulching system by exploring how it works and the benefits it provides. The steps for this process include weeding, drying, shredding, bagging, and then spreading.

As anyone visiting the garden may notice, right near the stairs, in front of the orchard, there is a patch of grass that is in direct sunlight for many hours of the day. This patch of warmth provides an excellent spot for us to deposit our weeds after they have been pulled from the ground and our plots. These weeds then spend at least a day in the sun, drying out until their moisture is nearly all gone. After the weeds are dried, they are gone over with the lawn mower to shred them into smaller pieces and bag them. The process of drying allows for a better breakdown of tougher plants and assures that the weed has completely died. In addition, this drying begins the decomposition process. The shredding allows for a more complete destruction of the weeds root systems and allows for easy spreading.

After they are bagged these dead weeds are spread in a variety of areas around the gardens in the front and back. One of our priorities with this mulch is to cover the exposed shade cloth in both the front and back. Underneath the currently places mulch throughout the garden is a layer of black shade cloth setting the base of our surface. Over the months the older mulch has shifted and broken down, exposing this cloth. Our mulch is an excellent resource that can, and has been, used to cover these exposures. In addition to the weed mulch, we have also used all our grass clippings for the same purpose. The mulch has also been used on the surface of some of the beds in the plots out back. This placement allows our plants to absorb the nitrogen that is released as the mulch is broken down. Nitrogen is a key ingredient in many fertilizers and allows for greater growth in the plant.

Mulch is an essential part of the gardening process, especially given the size and layout of our garden. By utilizing this technique, we can prioritize sustainability in our gardening practices in a variety of ways. Primarily, this process allows us to be more conscious of our resources. As stewards in the community it is our job to spend money responsibly. This mulching process allows us to spend much less money on commercial mulch, diverting what we would have spent to investments in other exciting community projects like outreach. Additionally, this process is entirely local, meaning we collect and use the mulch we make entirely at this garden. Therefore, our carbon emission for this process is little to none. We were able to eliminate the pollution emitted from the collection, processing, transporting, and storing of the mulch we would have purchased. Although we have much to learn, these small steps have allowed us to care for the earth a little better.