UCLA Student Garden Before and After Pics

UCLA Student Garden Before and After Pics

Here’s a blog post documenting the progress of the garden thus far:

http://campusgardenatucla.blogspot.com/2013/01/documenting-progress-so-far-aka-before.html

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Tuesday Garden Activities

Tuesday was a super busy day for our garden! We watered, trimmed, tasted, planted, transplanted, and composted!

The day started by tasting a few of our plants, noticing that the texture was a little chalky and the taste a little bitter. We think that some of the plants may have been in too small of a container while they grew, so the normal taste may have been lost. At the same time, the cabbage wasn’t “bad” necessarily, but it simply tasted different than what we may have come to know as “normal” for cabbage. We realized that it was probably a good idea to collect the plants that seemed to be outgrowing their current potting situation.

Cabbage!

Cabbage!

Our collection of plants that needed transplanting!

Our collection of plants that needed transplanting!

We went around and collected a number of the plants that were definitely beginning to burst out of their improvised pots. Unfortunately we weren’t able to transplant everything, but I think that we were able to salvage a few plants.

Some of the cabbage found a new home!

Some of the cabbage found a new home!

Due to the strange weather patterns, some of the cabbage began to grow tall and woody, signs that it would not be very productive, but that we would be able to collect seeds from them. Perhaps we can start up our own small version of a seed bank in the near future!

We also noted that while the radish growing in one of the beds was doing super well, it was time to thin out the crop to ensure that each plant had enough space to grow. In the same bed, Professor explained that buckwheat, while growing, is generally a plant to regenerate soil, which is not totally necessary for our new environment. We were able to replant seeds in that area, though I’m unsure what we ended up placing there.

Radish and Buckwheat are growing! They might be a little hard to see...

Radish and Buckwheat are growing! They might be a little hard to see…

Of course we had to water! Most of the plants are looking fairly healthy, so we must be doing something right!

Watering like a boss!

Watering like a boss!

After the build this past weekend, we have a few more beds in the garden, which is super exciting. We planted all sorts of seeds within our new bed, but had to transplant some plants on top of some of the seeds, we’ll see if they sprout anyways.

Planting some new seeds!

Planting some new seeds!

We had a great opportunity to help develop some of our compost as well, adding in some less than vibrant plant material, and mixing everything around. It was hard work!

Compost!

Compost!

 

Make sure it's like a damp sponge!

Make sure it’s like a damp sponge!

A major project throughout the day revolved around the very successful blueberry plants growing in pots all around the garden. We decided to plant them near the front fence by the pomelo tree, and it was no easy task. Collectively we dug out 6 spots for the plants, and transplanted them into the ground, being sure to provide plenty of water so that they could continue to flourish. Hopefully we’ll have some blueberries to eat soon!

Extracting the plants from their pots...

Extracting the plants from their pots…

Planning for the operation...

Planning for the operation…

Digging!

Digging!

More digging!

More digging!

Even more digging!

Even more digging!

All planted! Time to water!

All planted! Time to water!

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

Last, but not least, James mentioned the plans for a new bed with an attached bench, currently being stained to match the other redwood. The garden is shaping up to be a great place to relax and enjoy!

Looking good!!

Looking good!!


Chickens in LA

We don’t work a lot with animals, beyond insects, in this class. Yet one of the most interesting movements on the urban ag radar in the LA area is the “urban chicken” movement. According to a piece in today’s San Gabriel Tribune, even San Marino, noted for its large lawns and private park-like spaces, has just lifted its chicken ban.

Source: San Gabriel Tribune.

Source: San Gabriel Tribune.

People see chickens as different than pets, and enjoy eating fresh eggs available just outside their door. A whole cottage industry (coop industry?) has emerged to design and build spaces for chickens into urban residences in the LA area.

[Mike] Scott, who quit his corporate job two years ago to start his backyard farm business, said he has seen a similar boom in business since he started his company. He has built chicken coops, “edible gardens” and bee hives for residents throughout the region and most recently constructed one for the Los Angeles County Arboretum.

“It’s basically sustainable living, and chicken coops are a big part of that,” he said. “You’re basically creating a mini ecosystem.”


Monday Garden Update

Today, Monday January 28, I stopped in the garden to check up on the plants, see the new raised beds (they look awesome, good job to the builders!), and water then plants.

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Lettuces on a ladder

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Lone tomato plant

Watering — All of the beds and many of the potted plants on the edges of the garden were already damp and well-watered by the time I arrived at about 2:30 this afternoon. However, I did notice that some plants were getting ignored: the lone tomato plant in the corner , the lettuces/cabbages in pots on the ladder , and some other herbs/leafy veggie plants on the northern part of the garden. When watering, we’ll have to make sure to check all around the garden and not skip over any hidden plants.

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Pea Seedlings

Seedlings — In one of the planters, rows of bok choy, radishes, and buckwheat were sprouting up nicely.

In the seedling containers, there was something sprouting that looked like a garbanzo bean. Update: During class on Tuesday, I asked James what was sprouting, and he said it was sugar peas.

Harvesting — Anne McKnight said we should be getting ready to harvest some lettuce soon, but I let it be for now so the harvest might be more substantial in the next few days. Per Anne’s instructions for harvesting lettuce: “Start from the outside. Grab the bottom of the leaf down near where it enters the ground, maybe an inch away from the soil. Hold it tight (thumb and forefingers?) with one hand. With the other hand, grab just above that and snap. the spine will just snap, and you will have the big leafy part in your non-holding hand. Move your picking from outer to inner leaves.”

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Blueberries are coming!

The blueberry bushes are also starting to look really good! We should look out for these to start giving off lots of fruit. I used to have a blueberry bush at home, and once they start producing ripe berries, the harvest is plentiful and frequent. There is a blueberry bush in the back, sort of hidden, so we should perhaps move it to a more accessible location once the fruit starts coming.

I also notices some lettuce that was nearly busting out of its pot, so I moved it to the planter with the lone cabbage. It looks like it’s doing really well, and should be harvested in the next few days, I think.

I did not happen to notice any quinoa sprouting, but we should continue to check on that situation.

I found a green pomelo on the ground. Unfortunately, it looked much too green to be eaten. I was about to toss it in the compost bin, but after doing some research, I found that pomelos can be stored and ripened for up to 3 months. We should keep on eye on the pomelo and see if it can be salvaged! A ripe pomelo should be light green to pale yellow.


Enclosed Ecosystem that Can Sustain Life for Decades

Enclosed Ecosystem that Can Sustain Life for Decades

You guys might have seen the “I Fucking Love Science” post that went viral over the weekend.  It features a man and his large antique ecosystem that has only been opened once in 40+ years to add more water.  What’s awesome about this is that you don’t need the fancy big bottle to make one and it is a great way to learn the basics of the Earth’s ecosystem.

Original Facebook Post (my apologies if this link doesn’t work):

How To:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5164713_make-ecosystem-bottle.html


Garden Visit: Sunday Jan 27 (Part 2!)

E3 + Hillel work day

E3 + Hillel work day

As Ellen explains in the post below, we both visited the garden today, helping build the beds and water plants. I’ll be writing about  the plants here:

1. There were pine needles and leaves covering all the beds, so we cleared them off.

 Pine needles & leaves are everywhere
Pine needles & leaves are everywhere

2. The bed with all cabbages looked a little wilted, some were brown on the edges and bottom, with dead leaves hanging on that I picked off.

Pretty, but a lot of them are wilting and brown on the edges

Pretty, but a lot of them are wilting and brown on the edges

3. Buckwheat and radishes are sprouting!

Buckwheat and Radishes going strong

Buckwheat and Radishes going strong

4. We added some extra soil to some. Even though it rained and they seemed watered enough at 11:30, by 3pm they were drier so we watered them a bit.

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5. We planted another cabbage because it was sitting in a plastic pot thing without any drainage.

The new lone cabbage

The new lone cabbage

6. The pomello tree doesn’t look wilted anymore, at least to my eye, like a previous blogger posted. There are 2 yellow pomellos and a few green ones growing on the tree right now.

Pomellos!

Pomellos!

Pomello tree

Pomello tree

 7. Carrots and onions are starting to come up!

Carrots are sprouting!

Carrots are sprouting!

Carrots are sprouting!

Carrots are sprouting!

Onions are sprouting!

Onions are sprouting!


Garden Visit: Sunday January 27th

Aviva and I met up at the garden early this afternoon around 11:30. While her blog post focuses on the progress of our plants (which look great!), I chose to write about the work that was being done to the garden site itself! As I am also part of the team mapping the garden this upcoming week, this info will be great for some before and after maps.

Members of E3 and other students were busy building 4 new raised beds. The new beds are the same size (3×6 ft) as the 8 current beds, and will be located in the open space to the right. An additional L-shaped bed was supposed to be added, but due to miscommunications with the lumber company, we did not receive the properly sized pieces of wood.

Here’s a link to the garden’s blog if you would like to check out some the more recent posts about the wood delivery and why redwood was the chosen material.

http://campusgardenatucla.blogspot.com/

Working hard to finish off the first bed!

Working hard to finish off the first bed!

Location for newly constructed beds.

Location for newly constructed beds.

Work in progress!

Work in progress!

Me with power tools...

Me with power tools…