Monday, April 15, 2019

Getting “Dirty” at the Garden

Garden helpers making super soil in the new garden bed make of cedar wood. 

     A lot has been happening at RWCEG this Spring, 2019. We recently have had additional families join our garden community. To provide more growing capacity for our newest members, one of our deteriorated garden beds has recently been rebuilt. Special thanks to the Nyer family for obtaining building materials and constructing the new raised garden bed frame. The new bed is built of wood to complement the existing concrete-cinder-block and composite-plastic raised beds. Untreated Cedar wood was chosen since it will decay at a much slower rate than most other woods, and it will not leach harmful chemicals into the garden soil that could be absorbed by the plants. For additional protection against weathering, the wood bed has been completely varnished with two coats of raw linseed oil. Linseed oil is derived from pressed flax seeds (a super food!), and it is considered a very safe, non-toxic wood preservative appropriate for organic gardening.

     Of course, the most important part of any garden bed is the soil. An informative class was held at RWCEG to educate our gardeners on the components of good garden soil based on the guidelines of Square-Foot-Gardening methods. With a lot of help from our youngest garden members, the soil ingredients were measured, mixed, and spread in the new garden bed. Our soil components included:
   1. Multi-sourced Compost - This is the primary food for the plants.
   2. Peat moss & coconut coir - Used for improved water retention.
   3. Vermiculite - A heat expanded mineral full of air pockets. It is very light and used for water retention and aeration. It helps make the soil friable (loose) and reduces compaction for improved root growth. 

Glenn & Evan teaching gardeners about soil components.

Garden helpers mixing soil ingredients. 

     The RWCEG community would like to give a shout out to the primary supplier of our garden soil resources, Brite Ideas: Aquaponics, Hydroponics & Organics.

     We could have just bought pre-mixed potting soils, but as an Education Garden, we wanted our members to understand how the unique properties of each soil component contributes to plant growth. Thanks to Brite Ideas, we were able to obtain each soil component in raw form in the quantities desired and at excellent prices. In addition to carrying garden and hydroponic supplies, the store owner, Troy, and his staff are very helpful, and they are very knowledgeable of their products and various types of organic gardening methods. This locally owned business also offers classes open to the public. We highly recommend checking them out for any of your garden supply needs or as a resource for learning more about various organic growing methods. Our Garden Treasurer, Becky, also bought a wide variety of seeds from Brite Ideas that will likely be planted soon in the new bed. Refer to their website for additional information:

Getting soil supplies at Brite Ideas with help from store owner, Troy (right). 

Seed packets bought at Brite Ideas

Blog posted by Glenn Starnes; garden caretaker