Monday, October 12, 2015

Call it Fall... Call it Winter... It's getting Cooler Down in the Big Easy

Alright, well here we are again not proud to say that it has been this long since my last post, trying to get better at small updates more often. I have tons of pictures I'll include of some of the current events that I've been up to. For starters, getting back into the garden has definately had a different feel this fall.
 I showed up to the garden the first week of September and to be honest it wasn't as bad as the last September. But weeds sure did take control, and it has taken persistence to start the clear out job that is needed to be ready for fall planting. I am attempting to get most of the beds that need to be direct seeded planted this week, so that hopefully  harvest can start by Thanksgiving. We'll be planting the classics this fall; cabbage, collards, mustards, carrots, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce.  There is a goal to build a new fence line bed so as to really utilize the solid fence structure for my benefit, while also creating that much more cultivable space.
 My buddy  Macon went down to a plant nursery on the westbank  picked some different varieties of   cauliflower included a cheddar orange, graffiti purple, and the eccentric romanesco. I threw a bed full of cauliflower and another half broccoli half cauliflower. Including this oddity!
This is the romanesco broccoli/cauliflower! Definitely an alien abduction of a vegetable, and I really think people in the  neighborhood will get a good kick out of it.

Irrigation Project

Well as I believe I had made mentioning last year, a huge goal since last spring was to get an irrigation system up and running. This process although will dramatically change our growing, has not been the easiest step to hurdle over! Luckily, I have had my garden buddy Macon's continuous support puzzling out the design and lending me parts to experiment with. I have been using three strips of drip tape on a bed of collard transplants for the past several weeks, and it seems to be the most efficient form of water retention. This is the ideal image I'd like to see on each of the eight new front beds! The water can drip for over an hour with no puddling out the bottom of  the bricks, which implies a solid absorbed soak... A beautiful thing, that will definitely give us healthy plants this winter!
The goal is to order the rest of the materials by this upcoming week. And I realized the only way for me to tackle this goal at the front of my brain with all the other things to be working on is to set a realistic deadline! This is a dream come true to see this picture for me, its a sign that this project is at a place of growth, and I will continue to press for great steps of transformation like this.

Fall October Bizarr at Ephipany Luthern Church
  I had been hearing from some local neighbors that the church down the street was a local festival where any member of the community could pay a small donation to the church and set up a table of stuff to sell be. Of course the garden is just getting stuff planted, so there would be no actually food to distribute besides a bag of jalapenos. But I figured it would be a fine a way to meet a local church and spread some of the work that we're doing. So I set up a table with the garden banner, a handful of pictures from last year and the year before, a note for compost donations, a sign up sheet with space for email/phone numbers, and an area for transplanting/seeding demos using some leftover collard and cabbage plants.  There were probably 5 other tables that were almost all selling prepared meal of crab gumbo, barbecue pork, red beans and rice and some popcorn and candy apples. A young man named Lucas who seems to be the church's main cook was grilling up some hamburgers and barbecue pork!
The table was pretty useful to at least get some contacts going and have some great interactions with a couple of kids from the neighborhood helping bump up some plug tray plants into the 4 inch pots. Great kids, that seemed very interested and excited to be engaged in something new. I encouraged them to come back to the garden to check up on their plants, fingers crossed that they may come back. But I have become more willing to work very hard for small moments of success, so I consider these interaction worth every piece of effort to get us here. One of the mothers did give her contact info and hoped to be out in the garden one of these upcoming weekends.  It dawned on me the second that I had taken the table apart that I didn't get a photo on my phone of the whole set up, but another gal definitely tooks some pictures of it, so I'll try and get a couple shots of it posted when I get those photos.

This last little girls name is tonia and she is in the first grade. I had a particularly impactful interaction with her while we were trying to put this little collard plant in the pot. As we were working beside the table, my host mom Charlene had come to visit and was interacting with some of the other kids. This first grader ever so carefully just speaks her mind as she holding this plant," There are white ladies that live in this neighborhood?", she asks me. I said yes, and hispanic women and black women. "I am a black person, and my mommy is also black person, but it's ok that you are a white person, that;s ok. "...... In the moment it was fairly difficult to respond, not knowing what to say, but  I just went with it and confirmed with her that she was totally correct and that it;s just the color of our skin that is different. She poured some water in her plant and returned to playing with some of the other kids. Like that, the moment was over...
  Moments like these seem to leave an imprint on my heart. They remind me of the power of human interactions and the ability to truly listen to people with an open heart. You just never know when God is approaching you as a first grader, african american girl.
Here's some other photos of our recent progress.
 Our first mustard green bed, direct seeded and pretty decent germination!
 D'Ron seriously should think about joining a  spicy food competition in the near future, the boy's got some tough taste buds to be munching on these jalapenos!
 Our Collard green bed, transplants and they have just started to take this past week!
 The carrot bed had me worried with a pretty late germination, looking pretty empty. In the past few days these little babies have taken off, so thrilled!
         Cauliflower anybody? Purple, cheddar orange, snow crown, and romanesco!
Jayla managed to get out the other day to till up her bed and put in some carrot lines, and some cabbage transplants!

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