Spring has tried to sprung - spring. Sprout!
Welcome back to our greenhouse page!
In our last post we mentioned that we would be picking up some bags of compost and sunshine mix. Surprise! We picked up 100, not 40, bags of mushroom compost (in addition to the 5 bags of sunshine mix). We recruited some extra hands for the heavy lifting process. They were tanks! One of our guys lifted the bags like he was spreading room temperature butter. Mmmmm.... butter.
Once the bags were in the greenhouse we stacked everything for thawing and started for mixing when we need it. The bags of sunshine mix have been the major task for this week in filling pots to prep for seeding.
Aside from the thawing process, we are also still working on figuring out a plan for the heating in the greenhouse. We got the heat going with the help from Forge North, and are hoping for a follow up to get the heat above the current 6 degree temperature. We're in the North, we're groanin' the grown. Wish us luck!
We've started looking in to water tanks for the greenhouse to get water in during the remaining winter. We will have to update you further, later.
In the meantime, we built two tumbling composters. What a morning! We also built a wagon this week that has a lifting/dumping option. Two brains are better than one. I would have been still holding the pieces without that second brain.
For our 6-plex work, which we thought we might be done but we aren't, we had some flooding problems to troubleshoot. We troubleshot by filling the center of the tower with coconut coir to help absorb some of the excess water.
We also started parsley and mint sprouting here to be transplanted in to the tower at maturity. Must be patient.
Wish we had more to report on - we've been delayed because of heating difficulties. Although we will be finishing in the program on Friday (tomorrow) we will be spending some time in the greenhouse next week in an attempt to have more to share with you for next week's blog post adventure. These will be taken over by Jessica after today.
As a fun experiment, before leaving, we started a pineapple scraps growing project. If you want to learn how to do this in your kitchen, check out the website:
The million dollar question - and the answer is - a windy plant has no bugs land on it.
I (Terri) would like to take this opportunity to thank the Challenge Program and the greenhouse for the wonderful experience, for all the personal growth that we all had, all the training (Curtis), and wish the next participants all the best.
Goodbye little lady bugs! We pass the torch to the new planters.
Long time no see, friends!
Apologies for the delay in posting but, my, have we been busy! Since we are getting to the end of this program we had our practicum last week where we were out of the classroom. One of us went to Kilrich and one of us went to Health Promotions Unit, and had a wonderful WEEK. We are back in the office this week and back to business as usual.
Because our spring hasn't sprung, the first bit of our week was spent troubleshooting how to get the heat going in our big, 'ol greenhouse. For our heater to kick on, and make the space roasty toasty, we have to have the heater at 10 degrees which just did not happen. We've had the coldest recorded March in Yukon history this year meaning our seedling babies don't stand a chance. In the meantime, we have been shoveling to at least keep the walkway clear. We have a guy from Yukon Electric coming in tomorrow so that we can hopefully start planting on Monday next week. In troubleshooting, we tried different combinations of heaters, in different locations, at different times - to no avail. Boo hoo!!
On the plus side, MORE TOYS!!! We had WAY too much fun opening the boxes of gardening items from Lee Valley Tools. Some of the items we unpacked include portable kneeling stools for working on the sidewalk out front, a water bag to help transport water in to our winterized greenhouse and a handy tool that pumps out one seed at a time. How excited we are to use these! Another thing we got was the Grow Light Garden which uses a self watering mat and grow lights to start little plants!
In order to get the seeds for the planter boxes started we will be picking up at least 40 bags of compost and 5 bags of sunshine mix early next week. Remember, always lift with your legs. Although we could have picked them up this week, they were frozen (-35 will do that) so will be defrosted first. Thank you Mother Nature.
Sprouter, sprout stuff! Triton radishes, sandwich booster and Kamut, oh my! We have started new sprouts, with a second attempt at ch-ch-ch-chia seeds. Wish us luck! The last batch was a little... little.
We planted some parsley for the 6-plex as these seeds need to be sprouted before being transplanted in to the tower for the best growth.
Did we mention we also gave the 6-plex a trellis for their snow peas and nasturtiums!? Cause we did.
Speaking of garden towers - Holy Hannah, there's mold! EVERYWHERE!! Just kidding, only in one spot. There was some bread that didn't escape the hole of darkness. It has now been removed and all is well.
And in between all of that, we built some resumes.
Lastly, thank you reading. We love sharing our experiences and we appreciate your views!
The first several photos are of our lovely participants with our new toys from Lee Valley Tools. The 3rd and 4th pictures are of our Grow Light Garden! We talked about building this on your own with a water mat, some suspended grow lights and maybe a nice flat tupperware container (photos to come when we try building our own). The photo with the plastic wrapped metal poles are our tomato growth pipes (or cucumbers, or peas, or anything else that needs to climb) for our own growing season this year. Lastly, updates of our tower and the trellis at the 6-plex. The trellis photos show another image of a tomato growing option with bamboo sticks. Anything can work for trellis work - some other staff use twine tied to the top of the greenhouse beams although these are not quite as strong.
Hello friends of the Challenge greenhouse!
Oh the things that we did this week!
Firstly, we completed more inventory work. Our shelving units have now been reorganized and labelled. Our current sprouts are looking adorable and green (check out the growth process below). Our mites experiments seem to be working and we have sorted out our Bokashi issues. The solution for our Bokashi bucket was fixing one of the washers but we ended up throwing everything out because it was frozen and left outside - Jess' fault. The gang also checked in at the 6-plex as the snow peas have already started sprouting and required a trellis to continue on upwards!
We did some purchasing of heaters today to ensure that, when we do get up to the Changing Gear greenhouse in a couple of weeks, it will be warm and ready to start growing. We plant the planter boxes that are located around the city here and will be starting our seeding ASAP.
We organized ALL of our seeds as we received another shipment of seeds from West Coast Seeds which were specific to our planter boxes. Terri organized everything wonderfully as you might noticed the yellow tabbed tupperware in the shelving photos below. As well as organizing seeds, the group went and checked out the extent of damages to some of our planter boxes - we now have a plan and will hopefully be getting some of them fixed this summer. In organizing the seeds, the team spent a lengthy amount of time setting timelines for growing the different seeds and planning to make sure that everything grows when it needs to. What an amazing amount of work! What an amazing team!
Troubleshooting lights - we had one of our LED tower lights flicker out yesterday and called our representative from Earth Connections Corner. He helped us out right away and we figured out, with his direction, that we had a fault connector wire. We can't thank the ECC team enough for all of their help throughout this garden tower adventure we've embarked on together and look forward to continuing working with them. We will be fixing the issue by next week, I bet!
Another task that this team has taken on is the daunting task of creating things that can be used in future programs! The team has created a binder of growing information for towers, greenhouses, companion planting and sprouting (and more!) - to be used in future. They also took time yesterday to create a job description for a greenhouse helper which involves focusing on the tasks they currently do, or are planning to do, also if we ever need to hire a volunteer at any time! Way to go guys! Much administration. Many success.
We are part of the Employ Ability Skills Program with Challenge Disability Resource Group. We take part in a 12-week program that allows us to learn new skills and foster our interest in growing our own food organically.