black gold=berkeley city compost

black gold=berkeley city compost

Soil organic material

That apparently is the answer to most gardening dilemmas.  Whether the pH of your soil is off, if there are pests eating your kale, or your plants just look sad, just add SOM a.k.a compost.

Two weeks ago we learned about how to create a compost pile.  I am not an expert in compost, so if you are really interested in it I’m sure you can find a better resource than me.  However here are the basics:

        -create a min 3’x3’x3′ pile of layers of equal parts green and brown materials

                -green materials are freshly picked plants and food scraps

                – brown materials are dried leaves, branches and newspaper

       – water the pile periodically, it should feel “as wet as a wrung out sponge”

       – poke holes in the pile to aerate it, this prevents it from smelling

       – turn the pile (put the insides on the outsides) every two weeks until it is

          finished

                -this is called hot composting, where the inside of the pile reaches about

                 140°F which kills the weed seeds that may be in the pile

The city of Berkeley runs their own industrial composting facility and gives the compost away for free to the community.  We have a huge pile of it in the student garden along with our own compost piles that are in various stages of “development”:

the beginnings of a compost pile

the beginnings of a compost pile

the leafy greens and brown material break down into dark, rich compost

the leafy greens and brown material break down into dark, rich compost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we learned about plant reproduction.  Bees pollinate flowers, birds eat seeds and spread them out when they poop or the wind carries pollen in order to help plants reproduce.  Almond orchard farmers bring in thousands of bees in order to pollinate the almond trees.  Each almond flower needs to be visited by multiple bees in order to produce an almond.

Random interesting fact: Plants create a little bud above leaves in case the leaf is damaged–then the bud is ready to become a new, healthy leaf.

 

rainy day in the garden

rainy day in the garden

top of the brussel sprout plant

top of the brussel sprout plant

 

 

 

 

 

garden meeting in the shed due to rainy conditions

garden meeting in the shed due to rainy conditions

baby pole beans?

baby pole beans?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we learned about pest control.  Organic, sustainable farmers do not use chemical pesticides in order to kill pests.  Instead, they use other plants to ward away pests.  For example, you can plant basil next to tomatoes to keep the tomato worms away.  In order to get rid of slugs and snails, place a yogurt container flush with the soil level and fill it with a few inches of beer–the slimy critters will fall right into your trap.  You can also create your own pepper spray with peppers grown into the garden.  Spray it on certain plants to keep pests away.

 Most importantly, know what pest you are targeting and find a solution to target that pest.  You don’t want to kill the good guys. 

If you have any organic gardening questions please let me know.  I can ask my gardening teachers and let you know what they suggest.

 

 

the beginnings of a good dinner

the beginnings of a good dinner

time for some new plants in the bed

time for some new plants in the bed

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