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.



Mulching the Orchard

The morning started off with a frosty cold. To help warm the bodies for the Garden Leadership Block A class, students helped fill the trailer full of wood chips. Being October 10th, we have not received much rain yet so getting the Suburban and trailer through the field was no problem. Had we received more rain, the mushy field would not have let us pass. This was tried last year resulting in a stuck van, tire ruts through the field and a overall muddy mess.


Once the trailer was full, we were able park in front of the orchard gate and use wheelbarrows to transport wood chips to the fruit trees.


This year we are trying laying cardboard down around the trees before placing wood chips down. In years past we have not used cardboard when mulching the trees. According to Debra Lauer, Master Gardner for OSU Extension  “Mulch itself is a good weed suppressor if applied properly, so adding cardboard should not always be necessary. As to how close you can move the cardboard to the tree and still allow for water penetration a good rule of thumb is no closer than the drip line of the tree.” We will monitor the results of the cardboard mulching mix to see how it works for the Phoenix Orchard.

After working with Block A and Block B to mulch the orchard, we have transferred over 3 trailer loads and have completed about 2/3 to 3/4 of the orchard trees. When it comes to mulching the trees Debra goes on to say “Do not allow mulch (wood chips) to come into contact with the base of the tree. Allow six to twelve inches between the base of the tree and the mulch. You should be able to see both the trunk of the tree AND the flare of the tree. The flare is where the tree widens out from the trunk as it goes down into the soil. Mulch increases moisture retention and you do not want to have the bark of you trees constantly moist as it can soften bark and allow in too much moisture to penetrate which can actually suffocate cells that move food and nutrients up and down the tree. It can also increase the introduction of insects and diseases.”

Wet weather is on the horizon for Roseburg and we will try our best to complete the mulching with the help of the Suburban and trailer. I would like add a larger orchard gate higher up on the orchard to better accommodate the trailer.  With an orchard gate closer to the top students wouldn’t have to push the heavy wheelbarrows up the hill.





Mantiade CL

Mantiade or Praying mantis as we call them  is the largest family of the order Mantodea.

Mantids eat mostly annoying or bad bugs that are harmful to the garden. Their diet consists of butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers or even house flies and much more. They keep pests that eat your crops down to a minimum and keep your garden voluptuous and growing to the fullest.

Mantids can be found in many different sizes and colors. The sizes vary from 2 inches to 5 it depends on the climate and bug itself. Different species vary in  color from dark brown to green.

Mantids can be used as an alternative to pesticides if you don’t want potentially harmful chemicals on your plants.

Aphids are Horrible CL


Image result for Aphid

Aphids or otherwise known as plant lice are nasty little buggers, They destroy plants and ruin gardens.
When you see Aphids in your garden its never a good sign, they could have already spread out along all of the plants in your garden and already laid thousands of eggs.
When aphids attach to your plant they’re pretty much sucking all the nutrients and good stuff from the plant. They carry Plant viruses and these viruses can sometimes kill the plant and destroy all the crops with it.
Aphids almost always have soft bodies but they come in a large variety of colors such as Green, Black, Pink, Brown or almost colorless. They can also Create winged offspring so that they can travel from plant to plant.
You can kill aphids by spraying, especially under the leaves, with a solution of 2 tsp mild dish or laundry soap to a bottle of lukewarm water. The soap washes off the aphid’s protective waxy coating and causes dehydration. You can add a tiny amount of cayenne pepper to prevent them from coming back.
Take this advice and keep them outta your garden!!

Plant Spotlight! -CM

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) , or Balm Mint, is a member of the mint family (Lamiacea)and can either be a delight or a pest in your garden. Native, like many other plants in our garden, to the the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Central Asia, and has now naturalized itself within the Americas.

Medicinally, Lemon balm has a soothing effect on the mind and body much like other members of the mint family. Used internally with a tea may help with your gastrointestinal tract, bile, liver and nervous systems. The essential oils extracted from this plant may be used externally or in aromatherapy.

If you pinch the leaf of lemon balm and give it a sniff you will notice that lemon balm has a very unique sent that can be very pleasant. This has caught the eye of many people causing them to create pleasant dishes out of this herb. From teas, and candies to fish and pesto the list may go on.

Though knowing all this how on earth might one find this generous herb a pest? Well it comes down to the speed in which it grows and where it grows. This herb, if left alone can spread and engulf your other garden beds. Though at least you wont have as many mosquitoes, for this plant naturally repels them.

Lemon balm has proven itself to be a lovely plant with both many good and bad qualities. Its up to you whether or not it is a weed in your garden.

Plant Spotlight!-Cm

While walking into the garden you may find yourself admiring the various types of flowers, and soon you may come across one known as Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla). Chamomile is a daisy like plant found in the Asteracea family and holds many medicinal and culinary properties.

This herb can be used medicinally to help with conditions like hay fever, insomnia and ulcers. This can be used in a herbal infusion to help the symptoms of your issues lessen. A tea can be made for external issues as well, such as eczema and chickenpox. In skincare it is often used for its anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe the skin.

Most often you will see chamomile in your grocery store in tea bag or in boxes with this herb being advertised as soothing and calming. This isn’t wrong for chamomile contains no natural caffeine and has anti-anxiety properties.

Those ready to brew yourself a cup of chamomile should carry on with caution if you are pregnant or are also allergic to ragweed. For this herb may cause miscarriages and allergic reactions.



Plant spotlight!-CM

Walking into the garden and look to your right you might notice some brightly colored yellow flowers growing towards you. This plant is known as St. John’s Wart.  This bright plant has a short flowering life and extensive medicinal history.

St. John’s Wart is native to parts of Europe and Asia and was often used to hang above religious icons in their homes during St. John’s Day (June 24) to help with the warding of of evil spirits. It is also revered for its medicinal uses that help with Depression though may have side effects and issues when taken with other antidepressants. ]

This plant is often referred to as an invasive species because of how fast it spreads and is listed as a noxious weed in more than 20 countries. It can cause issues with livestock if they are consuming it. It may cause symptoms like restlessness, skin irritation and depression in livestock as well as spontaneous abortion in pregnant livestock. So it is important to be aware of what plants your livestock is eating for it may be life threatening and cause discomfort for your animals.

All in all St. John’s Wart can be an amazing cure for your depression or the worst thing that could happen to your livestock.

Happy gardening!

Field trip with kate IS

The first farm was kinda of weird. he had a lot knoledge about farming. I thought that he made his bio diesel, and used it in his tractors was pretty cool. He also made his own saw mill. I feel I was more into the second stop the circle star ranch. They had four hundred chickens that’s a lot eggs but they produce the eggs to the community which I thought was cool. They also had a hundred pigs. they do not breed the pigs they take them up to the Eugene stock market. Which is pretty cool but overall I had a lot of fun.

Rototilling garden beds IS

1497565843700-196062522Kate had me rototiller the garden beds. Rototilling benefits the garden by mincing up the dirt to make it easier for us to plant. She also had me teach so of the students how to run a rototiller. Because know how to run one is a important skill to learn if you wanna start your own garden.

Farm work !! TF 5/17/17

One Wednesday, we went to Big Lick Farm with Kate the garden lady. We learned how to water huge green houses fast. We also planted over a 100 strawberries. We had a plan down were I dug the holes and another person planted the strawberries. We planted a lot of strawberries that day. We had fun helping the community. We had some extra fun on the side because there were two farm dogs. Then after we were done with are work, Kate got us ice cream cones because it was 90 outside. We got a little sun brunt.

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