Last night at Liberty for Youth, we had a good group come together to eat together and fellowship. In the kitchen and around the table we gathered to make, eat, and talk. There was a variety of food on the table this week, and the theme was picnic! The menu included corn, fruit, veggies, homemade hummus, toasted bread, and pasta salad. The corn on the cob was boiled with butter and salt. The homemade hummus was made with chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and some garlic in a food processor. The toasted bread was buttered and broiled. The pasta salad was pasta, mayo, carrots, and some salt. It was a fun night, and as always we look forward to coming back together again soon.
We are so fortunate. What a joy it is to pick our sour cherry crop right in the urban city.
There is an abundance of cherries this year due to the long wet winter and the sudden extreme heat. We so enjoyed picking the crop while in dappled shade in this extreme heat.
The crop, while plentiful, was divided between Neighbour to Neighbour and the Indigenous Native Women’s shelter. We give thanks for this bounty and were sure to leave enough for our local birds to enjoy.
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 mulching process. 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 placed in a wheel barrow these dead weeds are spread in a variety of areas around the gardens in the front and back. Our mulch is an excellent resource. 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.