Friday, 29 June 2012

CSA: Week One!

Garlic scape

The sun came out just in time for our CSA to begin on the summer solstice last week!  We currently have 11 shareholders- 9 full shares and 2 half shares.  Last week the harvest began with greens, turnips & radishes, and potatoes.
This week I had the chance to help with the harvest and what a bounty it was... head lettuce, chard, cilantro, oregano, Asian stir-fry greens, kale, turnips, fava beans, garlic scapes, radishes, peas and calendula.


Fava beans (recipe to come)

Snap & snow peas

French breakfast radishes

Purple top turnips


and more scapes...

11 shares bagged and ready to go

Beautiful job, Jay & Natasha!

Second bee hive arrives!

Warre hive on left, Langstroth hive on right

We installed our first honeybee's last spring in the Langstroth hive (yellow box on right), and they were quite happy until this spring when we noticed a lack of activity and wondered if our hive had found a new home...
On Wednesday Jay & Natasha installed our new Warre hive with a second set of bees and now both hives are busy in the garden.  The Warre hive may produce less honey but is easier to maintain and is preferred by the bees, as it mimics their natural systems.

Thanks to Greg Dougherty, we are also excited to have our first mason bee houses installed along the south end of the garden.  Mason bees are excellent for school gardens as they are even more efficient pollinators than honeybees but do not sting!  They look more like a blue-black fly, do not create a hive and also do not make honey, but they do wonders for pollinating fruit.  Here's an excellent site from Washington State University on the mason bee:

Mason bee house 

Cheers to increasing our biodiversity in the garden!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Community, Celebration, and Gratitude

Check out our new sign!!  Thanks Chessa!

As has become our tradition, we gathered in a circle this afternoon to acknowledge the land, humans, and more-than-human beings that make The Orchard Garden possible.  Today we came together for our 2nd Annual Summer Celebration as a kick-off to the growing season (CSA starts next Thursday!), to recognize the efforts of our team, our volunteers, and our university administration that continues to support our work as students and learners in this space.

The Dean of Land & Food Systems, Murray Isman, spoke of the power of student determination and grassroots efforts, as well as the unique urban agricultural context of The Orchard Garden on a university campus.

We enjoyed garden-inspired food and drinks made by the student team including:  grilled potatoes and herbs from the garden, blackberry and apricot juice, green salad from the garden, local strawberries, rhubarb crisp, grilled Asian greens from the garden, quinoa salad, lemon poppyseed cake, and lavender shortbread.  The food disappeared in a matter of minutes!

People ate in the grass and enjoyed the rare sunshine.
After our shared lunch, we were joined by a class of teacher candidates in art education and two local artists, Sharon Kallis and Brian Jones, who discussed their work in traditional and contemporary weaving practices.

Sharon describes her work of weaving with invasive plants and engaging community in ephemeral, place-based eco-art throughout the city.

Sharon uses invasive Himalayan blackberry

and Scotch broom...

The group is intrigued by Sharon's innovative and sustainable ideas...

Continuing the conversation of engaging with the land in creative ways, Julia discussed her performative PhD research and the ways she's considering the history of school gardens as well as the assumptions of how classrooms and classroom management are constructed (indoors and outdoors).

Julia points out that maybe weeds represent the chaos and noise that erupts and interrupts an ordered classroom...

Brian Jones, also a local artist, hails from England and is trained in agriculture and traditional forms of weaving.  He discussed the importance of harvest celebrations and the many intricate methods of weaving with almost anything at hand.

Brian's box of weaving treasures

A visitor learns how to braid spelt

Plates were scraped, grasses were woven, weeds were pulled and the rain held off even as clouds loomed ominously.  Susan & Julia graced us with their music and people continue to explore the garden and chat until well past 4pm.  

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day beautiful- especially to Julia, Jay, Natasha, Chessa, Susan, Lauren, Alison, Brian, Sharon & Dean Isman.  What a privilege to be part of this community...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Hiring in The Orchard Garden!

We are currently hiring for a work-study position in The Orchard Garden for the remainder of the summer term.
If you are:
  • a UBC International undergraduate student
  • have some experience and/or interest in gardening/ farming/ education
  • are interested in learning more about gardens as educational spaces and the teaching possibilities within
  • enjoy being outside and being part of a collaborative, student-led team...
Come join us!  
Please send a letter of interest to by June 18th!

Join artists at the summer celebration on Friday!

Reminder: Friday June 15th is our 2nd Annual Summer Celebration at The Orchard Garden.

Everyone welcome! 1-4pm at the garden

There will be food, music, garden tours, garden activities, and local artists.

Sharon Kallis from The Urban Weaver and Brian Jones, a wheat weaver (ever heard of corn dollies?) originally from England, will join Julia Ostertag in talking about gardens, art, and the connections between place/land/education.

And, best of all: The forecast suggests Friday will be a splendid day!
See you,
The Orchard Garden Team

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Reflections on Pollination Workshop

Alison & Lauren

To wrap up the Enhanced Practicum in The Orchard Garden last month, Alison & Lauren planned and led an informative and fun workshop centered on the theme of pollination.  The workshop was well-attended by Bachelor's of Education students and blessed by sunshine.

Meeting under the iconic apple tree

Exploring our perennial fruit bushes

Calendula is edible!

Perennial herb and bee forage area planted by a class last summer

Bees love chives!

Our newly built Warre bee hive (waiting for our second hive of bees)

Snacks and curriculum

Here are some reflections from Alison:

A great time was had by all who attended our Sweet Education Pollination workshop! Lauren and I were joined by teacher candidates from Art, English and Socials cohorts on a beautiful afternoon. We opened our session with an introduction to the space, and an acknowledgement of our being visitors on Musqueam territory. We took a tour of the garden, and looked at Mason and Honey bee houses, as well as the plants bees use for forage. Julia also explained her PhD research project, and Chessa filled us in on the history of the Chinese Market Garden. After our tour, we returned to the picnic table to share some resources and curriculum links that Lauren and I had been working on during the alternate practicum. We broke out some snacks (and mead!), and then wrapped up the afternoon with a seed ball making activity. 
Here are the steps if you'd like to try it yourself!
  1. Source pollinator friendly seeds (Bee Blend seed packet from West Coast Seeds works great). 
  2. Get some healthy soil/clay/compost and create a ball(s), making sure to mix the seeds throughout. Let air dry. 
  3. Throw, release, or gently place where you want the seeds to grow. 
Lauren makes a seed bomb
The concept is accredited to Masanobu Fukuoko, a Japanese farmer and philosopher who developed the basic formula of mixing clay with humus orcompost, and seeds. - Excellent source for non GMO seeds! archives/2011/01/step-by-step-how-to-make-seed-balls/ - Step by step guide to seed bomb creation and more.

Friday, 8 June 2012

CSA begins on June 21!

Squash seedlings harden-off before being planted in the beds

We are excited to announce that our CSA will officially begin on Thursday June 21!  We will usher in the summer solstice with our first harvest of lettuce, radishes, chard, braising greens and chives (and maybe a few more treats if the weather cooperates!)
CSA pick-up will happen every Thursday in The Orchard Garden between 1-4pm.
Don't forget to stop by the Summer Celebration this Friday June 15th to see where all this delicious produce is growing!

Calendula in full bloom- delicious on salads!

Chard comes into its prime

Spinach is fattening up

Beautiful red romaine lettuce

Perennial herbs come back in full force


Peas just starting to bloom

The hands behind this beautiful produce:  Jay, Natasha & our awesome volunteers!