It's been a busy spring so far in the Manna Garden! Here are some highlights of the last month....
Grape Pruning - Amy Johnston "Volunteer Coordinator" has been pruning grapes for Fox Fire Farms in Ignacio and has brought her pruning knowledge back to the Manna Garden. Amy suggests that when pruning grapes, more is better and to prune each plant to 2-4 main vines. Amy taught us to make sure the vines are not intertwined and are heading in their own independent directions. She also suggested that we cut each shoot to have only 3 buds/shoot in order to have larger more delicious grapes and bunches. Feel free to check out the vines at Manna or come to a Wednesday workday to work and ask grape pruning questions!
Biodynamics - The Manna Garden and compost system have been properly prepared for the season through our Biodynamic preps. There are 2 important preparations that are added in early spring. The first of the preps is the Biodynamic Compost Starter which adds important microorganisms including beneficial bacteria, fungus, and enzymes. This preparation comes as a powder but is mixed into a paste that then sits for 12 hours or overnight before diluting. After diluting with non-chlorinated water, the prep is stirred for 20 minutes in minute increments, alternating the stir direction from counter-clockwise to clockwise every minute! It sounds tedious and it is, but it's also a great arm workout for those looking to buff up for the gardening season. The diluted mixture is then poured into a regular sprayer and sprayed onto each layer of compost (this works great if you have all of the materials (carbon + nitrogen) ready to mix together). If you don't have your pile ready to go, an alternative use of the powder is to add some in a salt shaker to compost materials as you take it out to your pile. This is a great alternative for the home gardener who might struggle with finding materials. The second prep is the barrel compost which skips the overnight paste creation but then follows same procedure for mixing and spraying. This prep is applied to the garden beds rather than the compost pile and contains a mixture of cow manure, basalt, egg shells, and composted herbs. It is applied one day prior to tilling (we are No-Till so we apply it before forking the bed).
Americorp's Best - In partnership with the Old Fort, The Garden Project is sponsoring an NCCC crew to help us with some larger projects. Last week, the crew worked hard to do the spring clean up of the entire Manna Orchard and to build a a new bed for vining plants next to the current labyrinth. This NCCC crew is based out of the Denver office but comes from all over the country including Balitimore, DC, California, and the Midwest. We are looking forward to working with them at Manna and the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden. At Manna, the crew will be working mostly on terraced beds for the Manna community. These 7 beds will be available as community plots for Manna community members who are interested in growing their own food but who may not have a place to do it. Stay tuned for updates on their progress!
Want to get involved with the Manna Garden? We have Wednesday workdays from 9am to 11am until November. No need to RSVP just show up to help!