An Update for the Books

In light of the hectic months of May and June, our blog (unlike our plants (and perhaps because of our plants)) has gone far too long without a little maintenance of it’s own. Now, with a little time for reflection, it’s time for an update.

Tehgouldgardenwasplantedwemadeselfwateringcontainerswestartedmoreseedlingsexplandedintoanewsiteattwentyonegerrardthenmadewormbinsandplantedthechildren’sgardenvacatedthegreenhousebuildtrellissystemsforsquashfurtherdevelopedtheperrenialsite …

DONE.

No? Okay, we’ll expand.

     One of the first things we did this new season was re-plant the Gould St. Garden that was made available to us last year. This project took a couple days to complete, but took many more to plan and prepare for. A large group of volunteers from all over campus came to help turn soil, create planting rows, and to plant the vegetables themselves. The site is currently (and has been) continuously maintained and watered by a dedicated team of volunteers throughout the week, each week.

A list of plants now flourishing:

Tomatoes (many varieties)
Yellow Patty Pan Summer Squash
Mustard Greens
Kale
Asian Salad Mix
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Eggplant
Bush Beans
Potatoes
Beans
Swiss Chard

     Within our Gould St. Garden, another Garden exists as well. This gardenm, named The World Crops Garden, was made possible by Emily Van Halem and Peter Mitchel from the World Crops Project (http://worldcropsproject.posterous.com/).

A list of plants now flourishing:

Okra
Short Asian Eggplant
Long Asian Eggplant
Bottle gourd

     Another returning favourite is the children’s garden, planted with Kim Watts and the children from the early learning centre in mid-June. Along with a whole lot of water play and weeding, the children were able to successfully plant a variety of vegetables, some their own, and others provided by us here at RHG. We’re exited to watch them grow, and to germinate some little gardeners on campus as well.

A list of plants now flourishing:

Bulls Blood Beet
Yellow Patty-Pan Summer Squash
Easter Egg Radish
Sparkler Radish
Tomatoes
Basil
Pumpkins
Beans

     Next, after receiving a large delivery of Earth Boxes (http://www.earthbox.com/) from our contact Bob Patterson, we built a preliminary fleet of 10 boxes (tomatoes), that grew temporarily beside the children’s and perennial garden. Later in the month, these 10 boxes joined a whopping 20 more, that are now consolidated in a large “island” in front of Pitman Hall. This island was build with the help of Frank and Jordan hailing from Ryerson’s school of architecture.

A list of plants now flourishing: 

Tomatoes (quite a few of them, many varieties)
Basil (genovese and dark opal)
Kale
Squash
Eggplant

    Continuing with our theme of expanding gardens .. Recently, with the help of some brave volunteers, and many days of heated work, we uprooted, re-worked and re-planted a brand new site at 21 Gerrard St. This site receives 7 hours of full sun and a lot of watering to go along with it. Speaking of heat, a main attraction at our flagship garden on the North Side are many varieties of hot peppers including; hungarian wax hot pepper, chinese five colour hot pepper, cayenne pepper and habanero peppers. This site is still expanding and will soon feature many more plants such as; tomatillos, eggplant and even a pair of grape vines.

A list of plants now flourishing:

Hungarian hot wax pepper
Chinese five colour hot pepper
Cayenne pepper
Tomatoes (many different kinds)
Kale
Basil (genovese and dark opal)
Rhubarb
Climbing nasturtium
Jamaican thyme

    In light of another potential container garden on Victoria St. in front of the library building, a small number of milk-crate growing containers were made. These containers are now located on the Gould site.

A list of plants starting to grow:

Kale
Lettuce
Sparkler Radish
Purple top Turnip
Baby Fingers Carrot
Dill
Enise
Thyme
Swiss Chard
Kallaloo
Bulls’s Blood Beet

Now, for some less green projects

     Along with all the garden planting and maintenance, a lot of other projects have been explored. One of the first being vermicomposting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicompost). Vermicomposting is a composting technique in which red wriggler worms are used to more effectively break down food, and produce “castings” that can later be used as fertilizer or to make fertilizer tea. In early June after digging through bins of vermicomposting material, RHG staffmembers Matt and Kim, along with volunteer Erica found what was to be the original red wriggler worms used in the first ever RHG vermicomposting bin. Later that month, four more bins were made with volunteers from Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (http://digitalmediazone.ryerson.ca/). Thanks to the convocations and awards office, the worms had a place to stay and work their magic, and quite a bit of castings were produced. Unfortunately, only a couple weeks ago as the worm bins were temporarily being set out to dry, the bins went missing (stolen? perhaps) and RHG is worm-less once again, for now ..

     Another new development at RHG is the picking of the service (or Saskatoon) berries. Service berry trees are located all throughout campus and after almost a week of picking, (and generously leaving some to the local birds and squirrels, a total of 8 KG of berries were picked. The berries are now being stored in a freezer awaiting a special guest cooking lecturer, who will show us how to make savoury dishes with this little known berry. Stay tuned for details!

     To deal with the crawling, sprawling nature of some of the plants in our Gould garden (mainly being squash) a group of volunteers and staff members got together to create home-made garden trellises, with donated wood from the architecture shop. These trellises will allow of plants to sprawl upwards, instead of out into the garden. You can see the trellises in action when passing the Gould St. garden, in their shiny, lacquered beauty.

Whats to Come 

     Along with a flood of photos and video taken of the garden and of the workdays, more updates will be streaming in. Outside of the confines of the internet, the Victoria container garden workshop is taking place, and hopefully with the help of volunteers it will be completed this Thursday (July 12th) or Friday (July 13th). Along with work on the Victoria site, Gerrard is continuously expanding and will see many more plants soon.

Thanks for reading!

RHG




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