Saturday, July 17, 2010

July Beehive Garden Update

The Beehive Garden, early July, 2010

Vancouver has experienced a cold cloudy summer up until these last two weeks, so our garden has been slow to flourish. Our veggies and fruits seemed to be struggling, not green and verdant as we all hope for, considering how much time we are putting into our urban plot this year. Also, we do not have a full sun garden.

We consulted with Jodi, a local expert in permaculture (also in aquaculture). One thing she told us is to water with URINE. Dilute it 3 to 1, or up to 10 to 1 for tender sprouts. Heavy feeders like it best: squash, corn, kale, tomatoes, & peppers. We've noticed a MASSIVE spurt in growth in our garden since we began this fertilization method.

It is fun to talk about too! I hear the Swedish Government has been researching urine-on-plants for 20+ years because they recognize the importance of closing the nutrient cycle. Urine contains really big amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, both essential nutrients for plant growth. In Sweden they separate urine in the wastewater and use it on crops on a large scale. It does seem strange now that I understand the value in urine that we just flush it out to sea.

Some hints on using "liquid gold" on your garden: use the urine before it starts to smell, so the same day is best. Also, about once a week is a good goal for heavy feeders. Following up after urine-watering with some plain ol water helps the nutrients soak in to the level of the plant roots.

Anyways, really I just want to post some pictures here of our garden over the last few weeks, but the pee is a pretty big deal I guess, too.

Heading out to water the garden in the early morning

Hose around the big rock

The Tomato Greenhouse built by Michael. They've grown TONNES since this picture was taken. There are also big basil plants, a pepper from our CSA, and some starts (amaranth and collective farm woman melon).

Michael and the Collard Tree, which has fed us all through last winter and this spring. We were trying to save seed from it, however all the pods seem to be infested with worms. Plus, the ants are farming aphids all up and down the tips. Into the compost instead! Good thing we still have collard seeds which Travis saved previously which we can use this winter.

A wee Patipan squash. Four days later it is more than doubled in size!

Wild Carrot (aka Queen Anne's Lace) with one red flower per umbel, and one wasp on the left blossom. Click to enlagre any of these photos!

OK, and now to the things we harvest from our garden and make in our kitchen:

Brassica Flowers in salad and steamed greens.

Strawberries! We've had a tremendous strawberry crop this year!!! They're done for this year, tho.

Rye FROM OUR GARDEN went into this three grain salad! The Rye is the brownish grain with the orange tip. Also in this salad: kamut and barley grains. Click to enlarge.

Three Cherry Jam! In a pot on the stove, using green apples for pectin.

This Cherry Story should almost be another blog post, because it's so long!

One morning this week Andria and Ilan and Sara started off on bicycles, with Andria pulling Ilan in his WeeHoo, and Sara pulling a trailer with a ladder in it.

Andria had arranged to pick some sour cherries from the neighbourhood. We picked the sour cherry tree, then called the rest of the crew from the Beehive. All 8 of us rode about the alleys of eastvan picking cherries off trees (only when the owners gave us permission of course). We felt like cherry pirates in the windy wind!

Sadly we do not have any pictures of the adventure. All that remains are the jars of preserves which we made afterwards: sour cherries in apple syrup for pie, sun cherries in brandy, and three cherry jam, pictured here. Oh, and the legendary stories!

Yay for free fruit, and for the luxury of time to acquire and make use of it!

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