Phoenix Garden

Phoenix School Learning Garden is focused on teaching students agricultural practices with hands-on experiences. Through this blog we hope to educate others and also learn from community members through discussions.


August 2015

Farmer’s Market Checklist

Every other Saturday, we at Phoenix go to the local farmer’s market. And every other Sunday, we forget at least one thing.
The day before we start prepping and loading up.
We start by getting the tent.
We grab two tables, two chairs from the shed.
We grab the large chalkboard with everything already written on it, ready to go for the market.
We try to remember the chalk, too. We grab table cloths and extra mason jars for the flower bouquets and sunflowers.
We pause and think for a second, and realize we’ve forgotten the weights for the tent- they’re in the greenhouse, squirreled away.
We grab extra bags.
We grab the cash box.
We grab paper, so we can write down what we sell.

The next morning, we grab the produce, harvest the sunflowers, put everything in the van and head over!
You’ll find us at 1771 Harvard street from 9am until 1pm all year long. Come on down!



Kevin’s Experiences in the Garden:

During my year of working at the Phoenix Garden, I’ve learned a lot about both Planting and Garden Maintenance. In just the past month, I’ve learned how to water succulents and how to transplant squash. Working out in the Garden has taught me more about plants in the year then I’ve learned in my life. I look forward to continue working on it and growing fruits and vegetables for our school and our community.

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Surprising critters in the greenhouse

While watering the other day, we noticed our parsley was looking a little sparse. It looked like a bug had been chewing away the leaves. We noticed, one, two, three, four of these little cuties. I wanted to remove them from our plants, but I didn’t want to hurt them, so I put them outside under a leafy bush and promptly went inside to find out what exactly they were. This is what I learned:

Name: Papilio Oregonius- A baby swallowtail butterfly, and the state bug of Oregon!

Diet: It feeds mostly on tarragon sagebush as a caterpillar. As an adult, it will feed on nectar.

Their chrysalids can overwinter.

Keep your eyes peeled!


Lucky times at Phoenix High School

A couple days ago while Kevin and I (Jewell) were weeding, I stumbled upon a four leaf clover. I have one already, so I gave it away to Kevin. I started having bad luck immediately so finally, I set out determined to find another one this morning. Low and behold- I found 4! And two five leaf clovers! It going to be a good school year at Phoenix.

From wikipedia:
Four leaf clovers occur once in 10,000 regular three leaf clovers. Each of the four leaves represents something. Faith, hope, love, and luck. A five leaf clover occurs even more rarely, and the fifth leave is believed to represent money. The occurrence of four leaves is an aberration (either caused environmentally or genetically- there is debate) from the normal three leaf clover. Some people collect four leaf clovers. Collections reach up to 160,000 clovers! The most leaves ever found on a single clover is 56. This was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009. Some farms have successfully cultivated four and five leaf clover varieties for people to come and harvest.

Phoenix Garden

Adventures in herb propagation!

So, I’ve had pretty bad luck in the past with getting cuttings to root. I’ve tried different kinds of soils, different kinds of cuttings (soft wood v semi-hard wood), and still, I’ve never had any luck.

In a determined frenzy I decided that I was going to successful, no matter how many cuttings I had to try. Pictured below we have three different kinds of soil. One is a heavy starter mix/heavy vermiculite/light soil mixture. The next is exclusively vermiculite. The third is a heavy soil/light vermiculite mixture. Hopefully, if it is my soil mixture that has been causing problems, that variety will ensure success. [Note, I made my own potting soil from coconut husk, greensand, rock phosphate, lime, sand, and vermiculite]


Then I took Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme cuttings, and I lined them up in two rows- one with rooting hormone and one without.


I will report results of the experiment back to you!

Damping off- A common problem for seedlings

Are your seedlings falling over and dying, and you aren’t sure why? Take a look at the stem, if you notice that it has turned black, you have damping off disease. This is a very common problem for seedlings, so don’t feel bad. Notice the picture- our Swiss Chard has it too!

Damping off is caused by a fungus, often brought on by overwatering. If you have poor germination rates- this might be the cause. Damping off can be spread through contaminated soil, or a pest like fungus gnats, who transmit fungi from plant to plant. If you are reusing old containers, be sure to sterilize them, otherwise you will have the same problem year after year.

Try to keep your plants watered, but not constantly moist, and be sure to have fresh soil and containers. Try topdressing your seedlings with vermiculite to help with excess moisture.

Happy planting!



“Don’t forget about me!” -Basil

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your basil. When you see flowers forming at the ends of stems, you will want to prune them back. This will encourage the plant to become bushier and more productive. It will also keep your plant from dieing prematurely. Take a sharp pair of scissors or pruners, and cut right above the next pair of leaves below the flowering stem. You can then take these cuttings and add them to your food dishes!


Pollinator Paradise

The Phoenix school garden is going crazy with flowers! We thought we would just let a few sunflowers volunteer, but before we knew it, we had them everywhere! Fortunately, they make great guides for hoses to keep them from crushing vulnerable plants in our garden beds. Plus, our garden is full of bees! Sunflowers and borage are easy to grow, and they will help keep bee populations healthy and happy.


Yarrow and lavender bouquets become hot items at the farmer’s market

Many of you have yarrow in your yards, you might not even realize it. Yarrow is a highly medicinal herb, historically used topically as a coagulant to treat wounds, and internally to help with stomach aches and aid digestion. But in addition to its medical benefits, yarrow is a beautiful flower that smells heavenly and dries well, holding it’s color and smell for long periods of time.

We took yarrow and added it to some of our lavender blossoms to make a lovely scented bouquet, that will dry attractively and serve as decoration for as long as you want to keep it. Come by and get one! We sell them for a dollar a piece (thats right), and we are at the Roseburg farmer’s market every other Saturday, from 9am-1pm. IMG_20150723_095052_719 IMG_20150725_084506_104

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