Happy sunny Sunday everyone

Happy sunny Sunday everyone,

This week we were joined by folks from Valent and Promoting Leadership Among Youth (PLAY) and thanks to so many of you patient weeders and FGW wood chip gym members the weeds are surely trembling in their boots these days. Together we got another 6,700 sq ft of paths weeded and sheet mulched with about 52,000 pounds of wood chips. The wood chip pile is almost gone! THANK YOU everyone! I hope no one is too sore to enjoy the good weather while we have it.

On top of weeding and spreading wood chip everywhere so we won’t have to weed this spring/summer, we were also able to harvest 82 pounds of fresh winter veg to share with our neighbors and we also sent out two of the whopper Musquee de Provence, ~ 97 pounds of pumpkin to be turned into yummy soups by the students of the Del Valle HS Culinary Academy and volunteers. This squash was a new variety for us in 2023 and exceeded our growth expectations for it. Can’t wait to hear how folks enjoyed their soups and maybe even some pumpkin pies! 

In addition to the harvest and gym workouts we also got warm in the hoop house starting seeds and tending seedlings for our succession plantings. This week the we started 1,440 seeds for more greens, broccoli and cauliflowers to plant out in a month or so. Not sure if they will all germinate well, trying to sow the seeds of some of our older seed stock. When we use older seed we usually put two seeds in each cell of a six pack as one never knows how well seed will hold over the years. In the last couple weeks we focused on sowing older seeds for greens, this week we had the pleasure of the pricking out ( separate multiple seedlings in the same cells) 92 seedlings that were growing in the same cells as their 144 brethren. YAY! 236 bok choy seedlings now have the room they need to grow enough for us to plant out in the garden in a couple weeks. 

We also started seeds for about 204 green onions. You know I never knew that green onions and scallions, Japanese bunching onions, Welsh onions and spring onions are all monikers for any non bulbing allium (onion). I always figured they were truly different plants and I was just incapable of detecting the differences. Who knows both things may be true but it was one of my new things to learn this week. 

Another thing I learned was definition of the phrase ‘mini broccoli’. We found it on the seed packets of a couple of the older broccoli seeds. Made us giggle but just had to look that up too. Turns out mini broccoli are a cross between grocery store heading broccoli and gai lan (Chinese broccoli) which has smaller heads with longer, thinner and less fibrous stalks to facilitate their preparation for raw and stir fried dishes. Got to love learning. Speaking of learning, Hannah got her first tractor driving lessons this week too, she is a natural! Thanks AW for the scooping advice. I am so glad to to have another happy tractor operator out in the garden. 

Plus the Scouts of troop 815 started their work on a new shed to house our chipper. It will be so nice for it to have its own little home to stay dry in right next to the compost bins where we need it most.

This week was also one of wonderful surprises, while pumping out the smaller rain catchment tanks for storage in the larger 5,000 gallon tanks we discovered that the 3rd tank is almost full already! YAY! That was exciting. 

My other joyful surprise was getting to work with Mari on Saturday, some of you may remember her from her time as an intern nigh on 5 years ago. She has finished her graduate studies and is now officially an urban designer working on increasing open spaces, bike lanes and public transportation with her municipal clients. GO Mari! 

Fertile GroundWorks could not do what we do without the help of each of you. Thank you for sharing your time and hard work with us. I do hope that you all will be able to come back out to the garden to see how your efforts help the garden grow and change with the seasons.

FYI, if any of you are interested we just opened up the online ordering for our spring 2024 plant sale. Please do take a look ( https://www.fertilegroundworks.org/plant-sale/ ) and order what you would like to try growing in your own gardens .

Until next we meet may your new years continue to be full of health and joy. 

All my best