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.

Garden work L.B

Today in the garden I helped plant fig trees so that we can have fig trees out back. That was my first time planting fig trees and I liked it   It was easy and simple. First you take the fig tree and take a tree pot then you hold the fig tree in the pot and then you get soil and put it in the pot and. Then when the soil gets up to the fig tree you let the fig tree go then you start to put more soil in the pot until its at the top but you don’t want it all the way at the top just a little bit at the top then you push the soil down with your fingers until its packed. Then you go outside and water them and you let them stay outside so they can get sun.


Sifting microgreens IS

img_20170301_122119So Kate used to have me sift micro green a lot.  The way you do it you take the trimmed micro-green trays (harvested greens) and dump them in a square box that has wire in the bottom.  The wire acts like a strainer and removes the dirt from the roots. You rub the micro-greens into the wire to get the dirt away from the small roots from the plant. Then we take any leftover greens and large root chunks and put them in the compost bin. The leftover dirt is put into a black garbage can to dry then we reuse it.


Taking care of Basils -JF

Basil is an annual plant that’s used in several Italian dishes, but this is a great plant to get creative with when cooking. Basil like it hot, so you’ll want to plant them after the last frost in your area.

up above is a young basil, about 1 month old. it’s about 3” tall which means we can start to prune it up in order to help it grow bigger and bushier. Perferably once it gets this tall you’d want to transplant them so that it has plenty of room for the roots; however, if you don’t have the time to do that yet the other solution is to trim it.

As you can see here, there is lots of new growth under the big leaves, we want lots of big basil leaves for cooking so we are going to trim off the big ones right at the end of the stem so that there isn’t anything in the way for the other leaves. once they’ve been trimmed, the plant will then focus its energy on the new leaves which make them get bigger a lot faster. With basils, you can trim off almost all of the leaves off of it and they’ll still grow more, so you don’t have to worry about accidently killing it.




After you trimmed it, it should look something like this. I left the 2 top leaves alone so that it will continue to shoot up; however, once your basil gets really big you can actually take those two off so that the basil will stop growing up and focus more on the leaves themselves. You can probably harvest the basil once a week, or sometimes more if it’s hot where you live.

Now you have some basil leaves! you can either use them right away or store them for later. If you plan on using them within the same week, just wrap them up in a wet paper towel and stick it into the fridge. If it’s going to be longer than thaat, you can chop them up, fill ice trays with olive oil and put the basil into the olive oil, and into the freezer. you can plop these cubes right into whatever you’re cooking for a nice basil kick.

Sometimes, even young basils will try to flower, which will end your leaf growth. If you want it to go to seed so you can harvest them, then leave it alone and let it do its thing, but if you still want to keep harvesting the leaves, you’ll want to pluck off the litle developing flower on top. It will stop growing up for awhile, but it will find its way.

Once your basils are big and strong, it is very easy to take care of. just harvest when you want basil, pluck off and developing flowers, and remember to water daily with well daining soil. Enjoy!





Making a compost DL

I started to compost pile in the old roller we had in the back. We just used things we had around the garden like ouster shells, and older compost. I havent checked it in awhile bbut last i checked it was looking well(:

Wine – TF 04/19/2017

Last week we went to Freed Estate vineyard with Kate the garden lady. We learned how to cut the vines, how the ship the grapes, and how the protect the harvest from the birds. They show us where they bring the guests during wine tours. They talked about how they were not a state of the art vineyard. Since the don’t have the tech a huge vineyard would have, they have no frost protection. The vineyard overseer says they hope their vines and grapes don’t freeze. The overseer said they leave the baby grape vines on a drip water system for three years before the vines can get water on there own.

Grape vines back on track! – JF

For the last year, our two grape vines have been completely ignored… but we have changed that! A few weeks ago, a small group of students and the garden AmeriCorps coordinator Kate all went to Freed Estates Vineyard to educate ourselves on the process of growing, pruning, harvesting, and even fermenting the grapes.
With the newly acquired knowledge, we got some clippers and string. The string helps train the shoots to go in the direction we want them to go. Since the grape vines were badly neglected, there were shoots of vines going in every which direction. Throughout the growing season, the main vines grow nubs, lots of nubs. Each nub will turn into 3 different shoots, and each shoot will try to grow two bundles of grapes. If you don’t trim back last years shoots then they will make more nubs which make more shoots which make way more grapes. Sounds like a good thing, right? well no. If there are too many bundles and shoots on the vine, it will become overburdened and the grapes will not ripen. Not to mention the amount of shoots going in all directions(which makes a really bushy mess). each year the vine should have 70-90 percent of the plant cut off to keep the vine in order. We cut off about 75-80 percent of the entire vine this year. With each shoot we cut off from the main vine, we left two nubs nearest to the bottom of the shoot. this means that we will get six new shoots per old shoot. Because most of the vine is trimmed, it can now focus on ripening the fruit, which is exactly what we want!

Building garden beds- by IS

Trevor and I built garden beds out of cedar planks that were 25 ft long by 4 ft wide and 4 inches tall.  These new beds will be used to plant things like lettuce and marigolds. We plant marigolds to keep away certain types of bugs that eat up plants and destroy the crop. The type of bugs that we want to keep away are nematodes and sometimes tomato worms.

We give the lettuce to the kitchen here at Phoenix School so that the kitchen can use it in the salad bar. I like to eat at the salad bar when the hot lunch options do not sound good.

We also build garden beds to keep the plants and flowers we plant from spreading to the walkways. It also keeps us from accidentally hitting the plants with the weed-eater.

Plant spotlight! #2 -CM

Choosing a plant in which to highlight can be very fun, tricky and tedious. You must know what plant seems interesting and what that plant might have to offer to humans and other creatures alike. Whilst searching the garden I happened upon a lovely bush full of purple bunches that the bees loved. This, I would soon realize, was Lavender.

Lavender is the common name of Lavandula augustifolia, a fragrant shrub that is native to the Mediterranean. Lavender can be used in many ways including aromatically,  medicinally and within the culinary arts.

Using Lavender to relax is a very common practice. You can find lavender in lotions, soaps, bath oils and many other relaxing products. Some will say that lavender does wonders on the mind for it is a soothing properties and they wouldn’t be wrong. Lavender contains an oil that has a known sedating effect.

Medicinally, Lavender is known to have many benefits. The herb might help you cope with your anxiety and depression as well as help those sleep who have insomnia. You can also use it for pain, acne and upset stomach. The list really does go on.

Some are surprised when they find out that they can use Lavender in the kitchen… and I was to! Though it may most commonly be used in a spice like the French herb blend known as “herbes de provence”. You can also use it in baking and herbal tea blends.

Lavender truly can be a wonderful plant to remember, though many might stumble by it without much thought. I am glad I was curious to look to lavender to know more about.

Happy gardening!

Work with Kate in the garden L.B.

When I work with Kate in the garden, I usually wait till she is done talking to other students to see what she wants me to do. She usually asks me to cut the broccoli that needs to be cut and the lettuce. If I don’t get asked to do that I pick weeds that are growing by the vegetables I mostly pick the weeds growing by the vegetables with Justine. Or re-plant flowers which I only did once and pull weeds. I sometimes go and pet Oz when I’m working. Kate also sends me out to go deliver the vegetables that need to go to the kitchen.

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