Sunday, May 31, 2009

Soil Testing 101+102 @ Roots Down - New Bedford, 4PM Tuesday June 2nd.

Lots of great garden events happening in New Bedford this coming week ...

Roots Down New Bedford
continues in June with a free workshop focusing on: Soil Testing 101 + 102 - Soil Testing for Safety and Health, Understanding Soil Test Results, and Selecting Organic Fertilizers. Soil testing is extremely important in urban areas where many soils are contaminated with lead; soil tests also provide important information for making informed fertilizer decisions in the garden. This workshop will include demonstrations on soil testing procedures; assistance with interpreting soil test results and a hands-on activity that will help participants build a deeper understanding of nutrients, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and pH.

Our monthly workshop will be held at 4PM on Tuesday June 2nd at the Lawler Branch Library (745 Rockdale Ave) in New Bedford. All of the Roots Down New Bedford workshops are free and open to the whole community. See our Summer 2009 Roots Down Flyer for information on July and August topics.

Also, happening this week is our next neighborhood workshop at 4PM on June 3rd at the Peaceworks Garden (522 Maxfield St. - sincere apologies to community members who were unable to attend the May meeting due to the posting of an incorrect address on Roots Down posters). The neighborhood workshop will focus on non-toxic methods for insect control and labor saving weeding techniques.

And on Friday, we strongly encourage folks to check out the One Earth Concert and Garden Night Too, part of First Fridays New Bedford. As part of the celebration there will be a plant swap; so bring your extra seedlings or show up and receive free compost and free seedlings.

Hope to see you at one of this weeks events.

*Roots Down - New Bedford is part of the Safe Soils for Healthy Food Project presented by Brix Bounty Farm and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House&Garden Museum and is made possible by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts - SEEAL Fund.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Know Your Vegetables - Summer Schedule and Next Workshop: May 18 2009 6:30PM @ Brix Bounty Farm

Our next Know Your Vegetables workshop will be held this Monday evening at 6:30 PM at Brix Bounty Farm (858 Tucker Road in Dartmouth).

We'll be focusing on weed control strategies on organic farms/gardens: stale bedding, cultivation tools and techniques. We'll be covering a bit of everything: weed identification (got a weed you aren't familiar with? bring it along), cultivating tools (again please bring along your favorite tools - we'll be demonstrating the use and technique of all kinds of hoes, stale bedding techniques to make weeding more effective, and more.

The attached photo is a field of Potatoes in early june 2005 at Norton Farm on Martha's Vineyard; one of the farms where I managed field production before starting Brix Bounty Farm.

Know Your Vegetables is a free monthly conversation series hosted by Brix Bounty Farm focusing on small-scale vegetable production. Conversations are usually held the third Monday of every month. We invite farmers, gardeners, and anyone interested in learning more about growing healthy food to join us.

Note: During the months of March, April, and May we will be available from 6:00-6:30 right before Know Your Vegetables to answer questions about soil testing. We can review testing techniques, different soil testing labs, and help you to understand what information your soil test report includes. Come with specific questions or general interest.

Upcoming Dates and Topics
(all of the following Know Your Vegetables are at Brix Bounty Farm at 6:30 PM) this summer we'll be focusing on techniques used to improve the nutritional quality of crops...

June 15, 2009: Alternative Soil and Tissue Testing in the Field - Monitoring Soil Conductivity (ERGS), pH, and Brix of Plant Sap
July 20, 2009: Foliar Fertilizers: Compost Teas, Biodynamic Preparations and Foliar Sprays to Increase Production and Improve Disease Resistance
August 17, 2009: A Celebration of Summer - Know Your Vegetables Community Potluck

On a separate note; today's Standard-Times has a nice article about the new wind turbine raised at Silverbrook Farm on Chase Road. Silverbrook is one of a number of local farms with alternative energy generation on the farm (Round the Bend Farm and Sylvan Nurseries are two others with wind turbines).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recommended Article Focusing on Food Justice

Will Allen demands action (on a local and national level), asking for renewed focus on increasing food security for all in his recently published article, "A Good Food Manifesto for America". Well worth the read! For those that don't know Will Allen; he is the director of Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a recent recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. He'll be one of the keynote speakers at the 2009 NOFA Summer Conference, aptly titled "Know Food, Know Freedom".

For more on the food justice movement - check out the Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative and the Community Food Security Coalition's website.

Get inspired on the Southcoast by checking out Tem Blessed "Green Anthem" Video.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Green Youth Brigade Urban Agriculture Apprentice Position with Brix Bounty Farm

Help urban agriculture grow new roots in New Bedford. Brix Bounty Farm is hiring a seasonal urban agriculture apprentice as part of the planned Green Youth Brigade Summer Job Initiative coordinated by Northstar Learning Center, Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction (PAACA), and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Office of Campus and Community Sustainability.

Position will start the week of May 25th, pending the release of funding support for the project. This is a 40 hour per week position, covering 15 weeks (through the end of August).

Please send a letter of interest, resume, and list of references to Derek Christianson at Brix Bounty Farm. Resumes are due by Wednesday May 13th.

For more information please see the Urban Agriculture Apprenticeship Announcement.

New Garden Resources Added

I've added a couple of new Brix Bounty Tip Sheets to the Farm and Garden Resources list on the sidebar of the Blog. If you haven't checked out the Brix Bounty Resource list before I would encourage you to do so. The list includes a number of pdf files that were developed in conjunction with our Know Your Vegetables and Roots Down New Bedford workshops.

Community Gardening Organizing Seminar - Wednesday May 6th

The Victory Garden Project at Freedom Boulevard invites the community to a free seminar focusing on community garden development presented by Betsy Johnson. Betsy Johnson is a nationally recognized authority on community gardens and serves on the executive board of the American Community Gardening Association . Additionally, she is the president of the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust, which manages 16 community gardens and pocket parks in Boston. Betsy has been active in the community gardening movement for more than 20 years and previously worked for Garden Futures and the Boston Natural Areas Network.

The seminar will take place at the warming house at 224 Brock Ave. in New Bedford at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, May 6th. Community Members interested in a garden plot at the Community Victory Garden at Freedom Boulevard and those involved in other community garden projects are especially encouraged to attend.

The Victory Garden Project at Freedom Boulevard begin in 2008; when community members took the initial steps, including testing to assure the safety of the soil, to develop a garden at Victory Park in the south end. New Bedford resident Chuck Dade, interim garden steward for the project, is acting as an agent to follow through with last year's efforts. With a focus on expediting the development of a garden at the site, Mr. Dade contacted Betsy Johnson and invited her to visit New Bedford and share her expertise with the community. One hope for Wednesday’s seminar will be to identify community members interested in taking leadership roles in the new garden project(s) and to get volunteers to help prep the land for planting this June.

Community Gardens are springing up throughout the Southcoast as a step to increasing food security in tough economic times. Spurred by the recent installment of a vegetable garden at the Whitehouse, gardening continues to enjoy a revival throughout the country. Additionally, gardeners can produce food with the knowledge of exactly how their fruits and vegetables were grown; and thereby address growing food safety concerns.

For additional information please contact Chuck Dade, Interim Steward, Community Victory Garden at Freedom Boulevard, 508-999-0691,