Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gardening Tools (what I have/what I need)

The lady and I are off from work this Friday and plan on starting to prepare our plot for the season. We managed to scavange some garden tools from our parents, but are still in need of others.
What we have:
Edging tool, trowel, narrow trowel, various shovels, standard garden hoe, hand hoe, an anvil style hand pruner, and a severely bent digging fork which will be used as a hand cultivator.
We also have some very useful scrap wood I scavanged from around the gardens, some other odds & ends I will be using to make a trellis, and a variety of plastic bins and containers.

What we need:
2 pairs of gloves, hose, hand cultivator, metal rake, hand weeder, functional digging fork, twine, 1 fence post, plastic zip ties, plastic tarp, and nails.

The fence post, zip ties, and nails are there because a gate needs to be constructed and installed. The gate is my main priority for Friday, as keeping out unwelcome guests is needed. We will be taking a trip to the garden center and hardware store for tools and gate materials Friday morning, then it is off to work!

My question for experienced gardeners/readers is am I missing any tools?
Is there anything I, as a begining gardener am not thinking of that I will undoubtedly need?
Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Plot Selection Day!

(My Plot: Z-1)
The day I've been waiting for has finally come: Plot Selection Day at the Fenway Victory Gardens.
We met up with the VP of Parks at noon and strolled through the 400+ plots seeing which ones were available for new gardeners. Plots were handed out very informally. If we wanted a plot we merely spoke up and it was assigned to us.
The lucky winner is plot Z-1 (shown below). The back side is where the photo was taken from, the entrance to the plot is the 4 foot wide gap in the back left of the plot, which will have a gate soon. The plot is 25 feet long X 17 feet wide!
(plot Z-1 425 sq. ft. of potential)
The above photo shows the plot as it was when we picked it out. A blank slate, with the remnants of 3 small beds. Our plot is centrally located and is generally well kept. There is a lot of work ahead of me and I'm really looking forward to it.
Once we spoke up and claimed Z-1 as our own Gail(my lovely girlfriend) and I got to work scavenging around the trash areas looking for anything we might be able to use. We found some wood and a few broken sections of fencing. My brain immediately kicked into overdrive trying to lay out the potential beds that we will be planting. After our initial scavenging and planning we have outlined what we are hoping will be 6 beds.
(Potential beds marked with scavenged materials. Gail can be seen standing where the new gate will be located)

Here is some of the work that needs to be taken care of before the fun of planting and growing can really get going:
  • A new gate needs to be made & installed.
  • Various weeds/vines/plants need to be pulled from the ground
  • Beds & Paths should be clearly marked off
The fun has begun! Stay tuned for progress reports.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Email I've Been Waiting For

Earlier tonight I got the email I've been hoping for from the Fenway Garden Society :
this email is to invite you to come select a plot in the fenway victory gardens this Sunday at noon we will meet by the message board in the front of the park please bring a lock as there are more than enough plots for all invited.
David xxxxxx
VP. of the Park


The email I had been hoping for is finally here! I get to pick my plot in 5 days!!!!
Now all of my planning, research, and ideas are kicked into overdrive.
Look for initial hopes/plans to be posted in the next few days, followed by some photos and general info related to my new plot on Sunday!

Finally this gardening blog will actually have some gardening content!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fenway Garden Society spring meeting & down:2:earth Boston!

Last Saturday was the Fenway Garden Society spring meeting. In March I received a short letter in the SASE i sent them with my initial application. A few short weeks later an email arrived stating I should attend the spring meeting. I showed up and met dozens of gardeners and board members. At this point in time I am on the waiting list for a new plot. I spoke with the VP of Parks and he said I am right near the cutoff point of whether I will receive a plot or not. **fingers are crossed that I do get a plot**

Sunday the girlfriend and I attended down:2:earth - Boston's sustainable living expo.
A bit about D2E from their website:
"At D2E, we are seeking companies that are sincerely striving to make a difference—not those that just claim to be so they can cash in on another kind of green, if you catch our drift.

So who makes the cut?
Sure, we love to support small businesses founded with sustainability as one of their core missions. But we also love to support large businesses that are making huge strides to improve how they do business (and not hold their past against them). Bottom line: If they’re in it for the right reasons, we want them in our show.

Here are some of the factors we consider:
  • Impact: Does their product or service reduce a consumer's environmental impact?
  • Location: Do they have a local presence or Web-based business to decrease travel emissions and support the local economy?
  • Company vs. Product: Is sustainability part of their DNA, or do they just have a "green" line?
  • Materials: Is their product made of materials that are recycled, biodegradable, organic, renewable, healthy and safe?
  • Certifications: Are they certified by trusted organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Energy Star, or Transfair USA?
  • Employees: Are workers part of a coop? Do proceeds go back to small producers? Is the product made in the USA?
  • Fair Trade: Do they care about the countries and workers that help them in their business?
  • Design and Innovation: Is the product or service innovative and helping us move forward?
  • Community: Do they contribute to their local communities?"
D2E was absolutely awesome! I will most certainly be in attendance next year. I was able to meet and talk to representatives from dozens of sustainable and natural companies. As I am more into the food/beverage side of things that is what I was looking for, and I was not disappointed!
The wonderful supplies of my twice-monthly organic produce delivery Boston Organics were there. The lady and I thanked them for their fantastic work and great customer service.
We left with a load of great recipes and full bellies from the Cabot Creamery Cooperative. The folks at Clif Bar where they were sampling their new Clif C bars which are double layer fruit & nut snack bars. I find the normal Clif Bar's to be too heavy and filling for me, but the Clif C bars were more of a snack then a meal-in-a-bar. Coffee was extremely well represented with Dean's Beans, Equal Exchange, and Mocha Joe's Coffee Roasters were all on site offering samples and friendly conversation. The folks at Mocha Joe's were the friendliest and offered the most spirited discussion about coffee and where their beans come from. When my girlfriend informed them the sample coffee they had was too acidic for her particular tastes they were kind enough to give her multiple samples of coffee beans which would have a lower acidity, so my compliments to them for going the extra mile and really backing their product.
Organic Valley and Stoneyfield Farm were there together showing off their various milk, drinkable yogurt, yogurt, and greek yogurt products. On the sweeter side Taza Chocolate and Glee Gum satisfied the cravings for something sweet.

Getting away from the edibles for a moment there were some great non-food companies and organizations there. Alteris Renewables the northeast's largest solar and wind power installers were on hand discussing their work in commercial and residential settings. Their goal is to create renewable energy systems instead of focusing on one specific green technology. They currently offer solar electricity and hot water for businesses, schools and homes as well as wind energy systems for businesses and schools. Their goal is to work with a client to develop affordable energy systems that fit their site and budgetary limits. They are certainly worth looking into if you are interested in green energy and live in the northeastern United States.

For the home gardeners The Great American Rain Barrel Company was on hand showing off their recycled rain barrels modeled after those seen in english gardens. As water resources diminish aesthetically pleasing & sturdy barrels that save money and recycle water will certainly be a great addition to anyones garden.

By the time the lady and I had strolled the 75+ booths we had 8 canvas shopping totes, 2 of which were full of samples of food, home cleaning products and literature. I learned about many newer sustainable companies in the area and was able to compliment the makers of some of my favorite products! Below are a few photos of the piles of swag we ended up with (lots of literature, stickers, seeds, food, some home cleaning products and even 2 bars of Goat's Milk Soap)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hibernation is over!

Spring is here and my winter hibernation is over. I have an abundance of seeds I've received for free. I went to Down:2:Earth Boston today - a sustainable living expo featuring various green business- I have lots of info and swag to show off! I've been reading a ton online regarding food, gardening, and various related topics, and of course I have some food porn to share :-)

Stay tuned- I'm re energized and hopefully I won't be going away :-)

I've got plenty to share!