A summer of gardening and where are we now? The vegetables are exploding out of the beds! Hooray. Tons of kale, good broccoli, cabbages, peppers, beets, and flowers. Check out the tomatillos (we learned that we shouldn’t plant these guys too close together). More
So as June approaches. the Dacha continues to plant and plan. Here in our sun room we are overflowing with starts. We’ve got all your basics – tomatoes, cucumbers, beets – but also some experiments like luffa (for sponges!).
The beds in front of the house are all done and we’ve put in as much as we could cram into them.
Here are some more beds in front of the pond. I’m hoping that this stuff won’t get eaten by creatures. My dad in New Jersey is battling a groundhog that’s had a lovely dinner for the last few weeks, and I don’t want the same for us. Wish us luck.
I really like these new beds. Don’t ask about the old garden – it’s a mess of dandelions. And, yeah, we’re working on it. But having everything close by and in view is such a good idea. You are reminded that you need to water or weed these guys every time you look out the window. And the sunlight bounces off the front of the house and keeps everything extra warm.
So recently the Dacha has been working on a new permaculture plan, thinking about our Zone 1 and how we can get food closer to the house. In the last few years we noticed that things were growing really well right in front of the windows so we made some new beds.
What started out looking more like Dacha graves, soon took on a better look. Here is our first bed:
Danila picked up some black locust wood – a truck full of odds and ends which made pretty sweet boxes.
Thanks to our visitors, Lauren and Brian, we took a day to cut and put it all together.
This snake was watching us lazily from the pond rocks!
Well, we were goofing off a bit…I mean, we were just measuring the beds to see how comfy they would be…yeah…
As of now, we’ve planted some broccoli, lettuce, kale, more kale, and beets into these babies. More to come as we make room for our many plants, which I can’t wait to eat.
Hey Greater Ithaca Community, it’s mad nice out, and we’ll be working outside all weekend and today long. Come and join us today or Saturday or Sunday for getting your hands in the dirt and getting up close with squishy worms. Planting, mulching, cleaning and building. Let us know if you are thinking of coming out, by dropping a line. If enough folks wanna come out maybe we’ll bbq! Love, the Dacha.Hey Greater Ithaca Community, it’s mad nice out, and we’ll be working outside all weekend and today long. Come and join us today or Saturday or Sunday for getting your hands in the dirt and getting up close with squishy worms. Planting, mulching, cleaning and building. Let us know if you are thinking of coming out, by dropping a line. If enough folks wanna come out maybe we’ll bbq! Love, the Dacha.
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Every extra hour that the weather holds out, is very possibly an extra hour of serious outdoor business getting done at the homestead-in-progress. Check out this photo essay of vital last minute projects, and some less vital – but still very nice projects, we’ve been up to.
We put windows in the sun room, goodbye wind-torn plastic, hello warmth and being able to see. Also, notice the sweet mortar job at the bottom;)
Now that I have my mornings free, I like to drink coffee early on and then wander around outside birdwatching, observing the seasons change, and last-minute gardening. It’s not the season to get excited about these particular activities, but hey, what more is there to life in pre-winter Upstate, NY than marveling at the hardiness of juncos and cabbages. This particular morning I found inspiration and instruction on how to brave the long winter coming. From the cabbage I’ve learned about dressing in layers. From the juncos, a crazy dance-move to repeat pretty much non-stop.
Harvest, muddy and cold
note- this calendar is mostly thanks to Skippy’s Garden Calendar (customizable), with a number of rarer additions, such as orach and butterfly weed (thanks Sean Dembrosky!). The customizable calendar will ask you for your last frost date, which might vary from ours here in zone 5b. You won’t need to know your zone, but will have to give your last frost date. So get some seeds and get to planting! Suggestions for when to grow and how/when to grow it are encouraged to be posted in the comment section of this blog or on our Facebook page!!
Vegetable Garden (based on a last frost date 6/1/2011)
3/16 – Sow onion, celery and celeriac seeds indoors. Also- lavender & butterfly weed (indoors)
3/30- Sow broccoli, kale, cool weather lettuce, escarole, eggplant and thyme seeds indoors. Also- orach and spinach (indoors)
4/6- Sow pepper seeds indoors (keep temp above 78*F for germination). Also sow indoors marigold, parsley, basil and beet seeds. Also- kholrabi
4/18- Start watching the soil for the first direct planting! As soon as the soil can be worked its time to sow peas, fava beans, arugula and radish directly in the garden. (Note: In warmer climates, where the soil doesn’t freeze, this tool may not give an appropriate pea planting date.
In April, the Dacha hosted a mushroom log workshop, where participants got to inoculate aspen logs from our property with oyster mushrooms. After a rainy and cold early fall, I’m happy to report that the first crop of oysters have fruited on our logs!
One thing I’ve learned from this process is that logs need to be as fresh as possible for the best result. On some of our logs, which were harvested 6 months before the workshop, I’ve noticed some competing mushroom growth in addition to the oysters. If you’re cultivating mushrooms, make sure you can identify the mushrooms you’ve “planted.”
What’s next in Dacha mushroom cultivation? Shitake logs, perhaps?
If you’re interested in mushroom cultivation, or mushrooms in general, I highly recommend Paul Stamets’ excellent book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
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On April 10th the Dacha hosted it’s very first workshop led by Danila on inoculating logs with oyster mushrooms! The event proved what a group of 15-20 novice naturalists can accomplish with a little knowledge, 750 spore infested dowels, and several drill guns. Although many of the attendees were new to mushroom growing, almost thirty logs were successfully inoculated.
To maximize efficiency (and to let everyone try their hand at each aspect of the process) the students formed a loose assembly line: drilling holes on all sides of each log (the hardcore part), whack-a-moling the dowels into the holes (the fun, anger management, part), and painting the holes with wax to keep them moist (the messy part).
To witness this feet of fungal mastery, check out the little wooded patch at the dacha, where the logs are casually leaning in a patch of dappled sunlight preparing to pop little white oyster heads.
Join us for a hands-on workshop this Saturday, April 10th, as we learn about mushroom cultivation on logs. We will be inoculating poplar logs with oyster mushroom spawn, using a method that is sort of like a game of Whack-a-mole.
We’re certainly not experts (yet), but we’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and it should be a fun learning experience. All the necessary tools and materials will be provided.
This workshop is free! If you want to take an inoculated log home with you, there’s a suggested donation of $5-10 to cover material costs.
The event is expected to run from 1-4pm on Saturday, April 10th, 2010. To RSVP or get directions, email Danila – dapasov (at) gmail (dot) com.