Thursday, April 24, 2008

April : nudging a warmer May and so much to say...

Hi there! I am bursting with things to share with you. I have been stockpiling notes on scraps of paper and unfurling now here on the computer... (Here's a photo of Neil with Banti + her first stash of eggs and me with the ceramic tea party hen who mysteriously turned up this winter.)

So, first with a time-sensitive one!

- - - Introduction to Permaculture w/ Toby Hemenway author of Gaia's Garden this Saturday, April 26th 1-4pm - - - (very excited to go to this one! scroll to the bottom on Oregon Tilth's site and * Register online through the Lake Oswego parks site service, the workshop is in SE at Jean's Urban Forest Farm at 37th & Johnson Creek Blvd)

And another one I'm going to in May:
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SPIN Farming / Gardening Workshop - Saturday, May 10th 9-4pm - - - an urban agriculture method which is a small plot, intensive, production driven, organic-based - farm in your backyard or any available space you can wrangle!! * Register through the City of Portland, the workshop is downtown.

I hope you had a happy Earth Day : ) We went to the neat event at Overlook Park and bought an apple tree from Friends of Trees which we planted in the center nook of our chicken run across from their enclosed 'tree' (made of found tree limbs for them to hang out on, apple is now planted where we are in the first photo). It may not bear fruit for quite a while, but it will give nice summer shade for the ladies. And with the hail and threat of snow, I did make a tent for a couple of new arctic kiwis from One Green World, which cold as it was made me want to go camping or make a fort in the house... This photo is the Pasha Male, which can pollinate up to 8 ladies and live in the shade so we are going to get some more from Buffalo Gardens. Yum!

Speaking of forts.... I could make one out of EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS after starting many flats of seedlings and spreading lots of the ol' Teufel organic compost. Do you have a stockpile of bags, too? If you don't want to camp out under them.. we just got a bin to start collecting all of ours to recycle at Far West Fibers. Just bring your empty bags back to us during the hours we're open and we will take them in. We should be able to recycle all of the plastic bags we sell and the paper ones, too, we'll find out as we go. If you'd like to take them there yourself, Far West is at 4629 SE 17th, 2 blocks south of Holgate #503 238 1640, 7 days a week 8-4pm + other locations, too.

My mom had a great time while she was visiting earlier this month and we went to Manzanita to visit Revolution Gardens which is run by Brian, who also has a kayak building company and Ginger who also has a really sweet fair trade store in town. Brian and Jackie (with bantam riding as hat..) showed us all around the permaculture farm, greenhouse and the kayak barn and we talked about the economics of small-scale farming and making a modest living by various means & Ginger was headed to Portland for Glen Andresen's organic bee-keeping workshop...

We found a big long kelp plant washed up on the beach and I was dreaming of bringing it back to the shop, but as it's drying out, well... it has a a strong scent at the moment and seems to be melding into part of the garden.

We've got a lot of new treats in stock here:

The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide by Seattle Tilth is in stock !

Hi Crop Organic Liguid Fish 3-2-2 Fertilizer - in 1 gal and 5 gal sizes - excellent organic foliar spray made of fish from North Pacific open waters, certified by WA Tilth
Organic Rose Society 6-6-6 Fertilizer - in 20# bags, Portland Rose Society's first organic mix !!!
Mighty Microbe Mulch in 2 cf bags - a thoroughly composted and pasteurized (no weed seeds) horse manure bedding mulch to suppress weeds and conserve water
Vital Earth's Organic Potting Soil - a cool company who's mix includes Mycorrhizal fungus and Bat Guano among other soil treats
MJR Blend
Organic Premium Potting Soil - made from the original Black Gold recipe and also the father and son company in WA that we get our 2 sizes of Pumice from

And the organic and natural items are expanding on to the second page in a new 'Remedies' section:

In the herbicidal dept. we've got an Herbicidal Soap in 1 gal joining the Vinegar Concentrate - Phyta-Ger QC, which we carry in 1 gal and 5 gal buckets.

In the molluscicide dept... in lieu of your own cute duck patrol, we've got Sluggo (OMRI) and Sluggo Plus (certified by NOP), varying from 1# to 40# to save your tender starts. In talking through methods for 'dealing' with slugs which all arrive at a similar fate: beer mini pools, boot stomping, wood board trapping; my only new thought is a Wild Slug Love Forest Refuge, where the darlings can be caught and released, not, ahem.. on your enemies (not that you have any, right?) but deep in a forest uncultivated by us peeps.

We now have a whole herd of other insecticide options in addition to the Pyganic Organic Insecticide, we also now have Safe-T-Side and Neem Oil 70%.

Finally in the fungicide dept. we've got an all around Liqui-Cop which can also be mixed with Saf-T-Side for a dormant spray on fruit trees.

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Okay, a few other things. Here's a link to the water soluble Kelp Extract we carry from Acadian Seaplants. We've got the 44# boxes and the 3# bags for those on a smaller scale. I also have a 3 page print out with detailed application rates and times for different varieties of fruits, veggies, flowers, houseplants, lawn, trees and shrubs. Shrub is such an oddly fitting word for ...shrubs.

Here's a great link to info on Jersey Greensand and Rock Phosphate

Local source to start a hive or make homes for Mason bees at Ruhl Bee Supply
And speaking of bees and pollination, check this out - Human Flower Project

Growing Gardens Veggie Ball is coming up on May 17th with food from local restaurants and wineries including: Fife, Fleur e Lis, Navarre, Nostrana and many more; a live and silent auction, music and "costume adornments on site to find your inner fruit or veggie"

We just donated a wide variety of garden bed compost, fertilizers and minerals for their disabled accessible project. This is a really great non-profit to support in any way you can, through donations or many volunteering opportunities to help bring food to low income families and others who don't have ready access to fresh home-grown produce. Growing Gardens is also very active in helping everyone learn to garden through a wide variety of workshops and work parties and through Youth Grow - after school garden clubs for kids!

A note on the organic 'O' markings on the price list. I mainly use the OMRI Products List and Generic Materials List books, as well as NOP and WSDA. Some products may not be certified or fit in the OMRI Generics recommendations, but are still good for people who aren't certified. In the future I will get into more specifics on different products. You're always welcome to call or email with any questions in the meantime.

For example, while Cottonseed is a well recommended seed meal, per OMRI restrictions, I don't put the 'O' on it. We also carry a few that are allowable through OMRI standards and those are the Alfalfa, Canola, Soybean Meals and Linseed.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts and experiences wth these and other products any time you can share.

> > > Grass Clipping Warning < < < Please avoid giving your hens long grass clippings and masses of roots unless they are very finely chopped, they are very fibrous and can make a grass 'yarn ball' and impact your chicken's crop, which can be fatal. If they are roaming freely, they take small bites and can digest it.

* * * HEN TREATS * * *
If you are bringing them grass, weeds or any other treats, a good habit is 'Chicken Chopping' - what we call chopping tasty veggies, weeds and other treats into tiny bite size bits and these should all be at or very close to quality you would eat.
(Mayhem's fluffy butt and DIO at attention)

For any spoiled or unhealthy for hens food, there's also 'Worm Chopping' for the bin or other compost pile. These are some recommendations I compiled from the Avian Medical Center and Dr. Hermes of OSU's Poultry Dept. to be avoided: avocado- around pit is poisonous to them, rich/fatty items, chocolate, overly fibrous plants that could bind up & any excess of: salt= too much is toxic, garlic, onions, dairy products= lactose intolerant, citrus + dark greens= as they produce their own vitamin C and have to work to process extra, too much wheat or barley= can thicken up in their gut without added enzymes, flax= too much can turn eggs green and smell fishy)

A good rule of thumb is to keep any treats in the 10 to 15% range.

If you do have a health issue, we are lucky to have one of the leading experts in the country on chickens specifically in backyard flocks - Marli Lintner, DVM and her dedicated staff at the Avian Medical Center. One of her vet technicians, Lisa Ewing, leads really great workshops on health issues and chicken care!

When the season settles a bit in the summer or fall, I hope to host some workshops to share a lot more information with you. There are others going on around town, I'll post them as I hear about them - Livingscape has a May Chicken Day coming up on the 10th.

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70th Finally, it is our 70th Anniversary this year! Thank you so very much for being our incredible customers and vendors! It's been an amazingly busy year so far and we are so excited for all that you are growing and doing. Thank you Thank you!!

Warm spring wishes,