Monday, January 26, 2009

The Organic Frontier + Surround WP + (post additions on 1/28 added below)

The new In Good Tilth, January/February, is here. Randall Cass interviewed me on my top 10 favorite amendments in the Cool Tips for Hot Gardens section. That inspired me to write, "Organic Gardening - Soil Amendments & Fertilizer," including application rates and detailed information for you (a wee bit nicer than me scribbling notes on your receipts I hope...). I've got copies here, just ask for one when you come in. The issue has loads of goodies. There is another great article by Kathy Dang, this one is on Preparing your garden for spring and they've got classes coming up this spring, info in my previous post. They've also started an issue archive! Yay!!! Cover art by IGT Editor, Andrew Rodman.

In the shop, our renovations are coming along. All roof repairs are done!!! The center wall is down and Dale is working on some ceiling repairs. I'm painting the window trim this week, Mary started on it last week. Tiny is working on the bathroom. If you've used it, that means you were desperate and I tried to talk you out of it. Urban Rustic.. ahem. Honey Bucket here in the meantime if you need it. It is an old building. And yes, it is for sale and we rent. It's a very large property and right now it's looking like we should be able to stay on, as those with an easy 3 million and the funds to demo the old mill and head up new construction are slim. So we're continuing the sprucing : )

The wind seems to have settled down, there was that bit of snow again this weekend... At home, we're almost done with the deck of the greenhouse, have half of it in place under a tarp and are beginning to frame out the walls. It suddenly sounds like our home might be up for sale, too, but we also keep to hope renting there, so after some discussion, we decided to still grow a pretty similar garden plan and it will be what it will be... Peas going in soon, lots of beans this year, more motley sunflowers, cosmos, strawflowers, berries, veggie herd. Perennials and hens will travel with us anyway when it comes to that.

We've got Surround WP Crop Protectant in stock! It is 95% Kaolin clay, which combined with water, creates a broad spectrum protectant from UV and heat-caused sunburn, along with helping to control or block damage from insect and disease pests. Very popular for fruit trees, cucurbits, basically any fruit or veggies you can rinse the clay off for aesthetic reasons (versus berries) and for shading greenhouses. Deer don't like the chalky taste, the pests on wings and not hooves.. can be confused by clay on their 'feet' and don't like having their mouthparts unhappily clogged up. They may also pass by an orchard or planting entirely as the light reflects off the foliage differently. Many great farm reports from a number of you and from Patrick Peterson, one of Marion Ag's Horticultural Specialists in St. Paul, OR. Here's an ATTRA link on Insect IPM in Apples: Kaolin Clay. And thinking of apples, a Home Orchard Society customer just recommended Cyd-X for codling moths - an OMRI listed insecticidal virus, available by mail from Peaceful Valley.

The Multnomah Master Gardener course is packed and run very well! This Thursday will be the second section I attend. This week covers IPM: Integrated Pest Management and Understanding Pesticides.
The days that those of us from the Organic Gardening Certification program attend are also attended by many veteran MG, so it makes for a lively class.

Have you heard of The Who Farm, two guys with veggies growing on their bus, trying to help get an organic farm started at the White House? Look at that lawn! My brain is fast forwarding to an amazing example of a functional organic farm integrated with the community right there! There is a petition on their site.

----- Post additions on 1/28 -----


We'd like to welcome a new neighbor, the Urban Farm Store, just up on 19th and Morrison in SE. They'll be opening this Sunday, February 1st at 1pm. They'll be carrying chicks, feed, pet food, lots of other goods and keep a blog with lots of chicken and gardening info. This may be our closest urban ag neighbor since we started in the 1930's as a feed cooperative and it was a lot more rural down here around 8th and Division & inner SE.

Up in the north, Pistils, a pioneer of the urban chicken keeping & backyard farming / nursery shops, has their spring workshop list up, which includes one on Urban Goat Keeping! I know a number of goat keepers both urban and many rural, and I'm excited to see a workshop for all of you who are thinking about getting into it... Interestingly there are pretty serious protection needs as there are with chickens, which doesn't come to mind as easily since goats are a decent sized mammal. Dogs are a potentially lethal urban threat. ...Back in happy chicken thoughts - Pistils is also taking breed requests if you're looking for particular special chick and will be fully stocked starting February 18th! (I am teaching the March 8th Urban Chicken Keeping)

We do not sell chicks, but most shops in town and further out will have chicks by mid Feb / early March and if your further out and looking for recommendations, just call or email me.

Also in the north, Generacion is starting a CSK, Community Supported Kitchen and holding workshops, too. They also have goats who are now protected from dogs by a dog run to keep them safe inside, as they sadly lost one to a dog last year.

Remember with chicken keeping, that as you know right where your favorite restaurants and grocery stores are, the raccoons, rogue dogs and other hungry creatures know right where all the plump tasty ground birds live. If I did not talk to so many of you while working here, I would never have imagined how many urban chickens become another urban creature's sustenance. Little padlocks work really well on everything that opens... we have 4 on ours. They look like masked bandit bears for good reason.

Growing Gardens also just posted their 2009 workshop schedule! It is budding with an awesome array of neat things to learn throughout the year - check it out!!
They've also added all the Urban Livestock & Permit information to their Chicken Resources section and the date of the 2009 Tour de Coops. I am teaching this one with Lisa Ewing at my home with my Hens for Obama peckies:

Advanced Urban Chicken Keeping

* Monday, July 13th, 6:00-8:00pm
Designed for chicken owners with some experience; troubleshoot problems with your hens’ health and home at an established North Portland coop.

FEED UPDATE - I've been working with our nutritionist and our organic feeds by Payback now list the specific ingredients on the tag, instead of the certified organic groupings. Yay! I need to check in on the Organic All Breed labels, but all chicken feeds are switched over. And I know goat owners would like a higher protein level on the OAB for your does, I am working on that, too and open to your thoughts. The feeds are milled locally in Harrisburg, between Corvallis and Eugene. At the mill, they are also working on the magic pellet balance that has the good ingredients and right levels, along with minimal fines, which has been an issue lately. I turn mine into mash, but that's not so easy on farm-scale. They've got some ideas and thanks to your excellent steady support at 2 to 3 tons of the Payback Organic Layer alone each week at our shop and it's also carried by other farm stores, they want to keep us all happy. We are lucky to have this mill and please give me any feed back to help! The Urban Farm Store is carrying an organic blend out of Spokane, that is as locally sourced as possible, which sounds very cool. I hope it goes well - it would be nice to have more organic options to try and it's all because of your demand. They'll have Payback as a back up organic feed if they have transportation or mill issues with their custom feed up there.

How cool to be in such a thriving, caring place here in the NW. I love our neck of the world and am so glad there are so many of you inspiring people out there.

Happy full moon,