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BNAN, TFP to Present Tree Pruning Workshops

Ever wonder how proper pruning of orchard trees can keep them healthy and improve their production of quality fruit? Find out how by attending one of two workshops sponsored in March by the Boston Natural Areas Network’s (BNAN) Boston Orchard Program.

Two sessions are planned. The first, which is being presented by The Food Project as part of our Winter Workshop series, is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at the Shirley Eustis House Orchard (33 Shirley Street, Roxbury). The second is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, at the Blake House Orchard (735 Columbia Road, Dorchester).

Both programs are free, but you need to register in advance. To do so, contact BNAN at 617-542-7696 or info@bostonnatural.org. For more information, and to spread the word about these important winter learning opportunities, download this flyer.

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Garden Workshop Series Kicks Off Next Week!

Mark your calendars!  The Food Project is excited to announce our first ever Winter Workshop Series. We hope you will join us to get an early start on your garden planning.  Please email buildagarden@thefoodproject.org with questions. 
 

Winter Workshop Series

All workshops will be held at our new Greenhouse, located at 11 Brook Ave in Roxbury
(just off of Dudley Street and around the corner from our Dorchester office)

Planning your Garden - Tuesday, January 25, 6:00 - 7:30pm

We will walk you through all the steps of planning your garden, from designing its layout to ordering seeds. Join us for this hands-on session and you will be sure to leave with a plan in place!

Starting your own Seeds - Saturday, February 12, 10:00 - 11:30am

Learn how to start your own seeds inside your home! We will share simple, affordable ways to get a head start inside, and suggest where to get supplies.

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How to Keep Gardens Safe

Recently, new findings from research led by Dan Brabander of Wellesley College, conducted in partnership with The Food Project, have been reported by various media. They show that lead particles in urban soil can move over time, perhaps by wind or rain, and settle on the top layer of clean compost inside of raised beds. Because these findings are likely to cause concern, we want to make sure that people, especially urban gardeners, understand fully what they mean. The good news is that gardeners can take simple yet effective steps to keep their gardens safe.

Importantly, gardening in raised beds is still highly encouraged in places where contaminated soil is prevalent. It’s also important to know that the movement of particles happens over time – generally, at least a season must pass before changes in soil quality can be observed. So proper maintenance of raised beds should minimize or eliminate concerns.

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Garlic Planting Mini-Workshop & Fall Compost Pick-up

Saturday, October 16, 10am-12 Noon
West Cottage Farm, Dorchester
(intersection of Brook Ave & West Cottage St)

Mark your calendars! Come out to our West Cottage farm in Dorchester to celebrate the end of the growing season. At this fall's event, we will offer:
Compost (pick-up only). By adding compost to your garden now, you will have a head start in the spring. 5 container/bag limit per raised bed. $5.00 per person. Please bring your own containers/bags. Limited bags will be available at additional cost.
Local garlic (for sale) for you to plant in your garden this October. Limited availability.
Straw (for sale) for mulching your garlic and raised bed for the winter months.
Questions? Please contact Kathleen at buildagarden@thefoodproject.org or 617-442-1322 ext 12
 

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Freezing your Harvest

By Intern Brian Nichols and Kathleen Banfield

Are you suddenly finding that you have more collards than you know what to do with? Do you want to save some kale or tomatoes for a cold winter day? Try freezing your vegetables! These vegetables will taste just as fresh as the day you picked them, and it can be quite satisfying to reminisce about your garden during our long, cold winters. Freezing some types of vegetables is actually a very simple process. Just follow the instructions below to stock up on those plants that produce more than you know what to do with!

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The Wonders of Weeding

Weeding is an important part of maintaining your garden. Regular weeding (at least once a week) is most beneficial because it's more manageable and they won't grow too big, which will prevent weeds from stealing too much space, water, and nutrients from the plants you actually want in your garden. Some plants eventually go to seed if not weeded right away, which will result in more weeds growing in your garden.

Sometimes the hardest part of weeding is being able to differentiate between the weeds and plants you seeded. While labeling what you plant and keeping an accurate map of your garden bed can help with plant identification of what you planted, it is even better to know a little about the weeds you are pulling up!

Check out this chart (4 MB PDF) with some of the most common weeds you'll find in your garden. Remember, not all weeds are "bad!" We distinguish between edible and nutritious ones and those you can just get rid of!

 

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Checking in on Your Gardens

by intern Mayra Class

Build-a-Garden interns
Build-a-Garden interns
It's summertime and here at The Food Project, that means we are working in full force. I am 16 years old and I started at The Food Project last summer as a crew worker in our Summer Youth Program. Now I am at the intern level, which means I have grown as a worker and I have a better understanding of what it means to work hard and build a better community. In fact, this summer, eight interns joined the Boston internship to work alongside Kesiah and Kathleen on many projects, and one of our main focuses is the Build-a-Garden Program.

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Pests in the Garden

We all know that some of the bugs we find in our garden are pests and they damage our beloved crops that we work so hard to grow. It can be frustrating and disappointing to find evidence that some type of pest has been eating at your plants, or perhaps has already destroyed a crop.

The most important first step you can take to manage pests is to monitor your garden closely and regularly. Check plants for signs of pests at least twice a week throughout the growing season. Pay extra close attention to young plants that are just sprouting or were recently transplanted. Look at the undersides of leaves and at the inner stalks of plants and inspect for any holes in foliage. Many insects that feed on your crops are easiest to manage early on, when their populations are still minimal.

The second step to managing pests is to identify the culprit. Try to identify what bug might be damaging plants by collecting as much information as you can. Look for any bugs that are around the plants: either on them, in the ground nearby, or flying around. Pay close attention to their appearance: color, size, and any other defining characteristics.

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The Legend of The Three Sisters

This week, we planted a combination of vegetables know as the Three Sisters with students from our partner schools. They enjoyed this story about the ways that plants can help each other

In a time before clocks and watches and trains and boats, and farms even, there lived ancient Spirit Children who could tell time from the setting of the sun and the colors in the sky. The Spirit Children were not like us for they could switch into different beings in the blink of an eye: One moment a human with two legs and two arms, the next moment a fox, swift and sly.

They lived to create life on earth such as plants and animals so that the world could be a beautiful place. They roamed freely and in peace with the eyes of Mother Sun and Father Moon watching over them from the skies with love in their hearts.

Among the Spirit Children there lived Three Sisters, no more alike in looks than in personalities. Sister Bean was tall and frail with green hair and graceful limbs. She was always dancing and twisting and twirling.

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Drip Tape for your Raised Bed

This past weekend I set up a drip tape irrigation system on my raised beds. While drip irrigation systems requires a little more upfront labor, the set up is relatively easy and inexpensive, and over the course of the season it will allow you to water less and more efficiently with less effort.

Drip irrigation allows a gardener to focus water where it is needed- at the base of the plants, focusing on the root zone. With overhead watering (which includes using a sprinkler or watering can) it is much harder to concentrate your irrigation efforts, resulting both in using more water than necessary and watering weeds and/or weed seeds that are undeserving of attention. Here are instructions on how to set this up (PDF) in your own beds.

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