Happy Aboriginal Day (yesterday) everyone! Thank goodness this is now a recognized holiday! It also meant we got a fun little mid-week break to go see all of the amazing First Nations activities and projects going on right now. There is a voyageur canoe being carved, which is now outside and being steamed, that has been a project for this summer and is occurring just around the corner from us. One of our program participants helped move it outside yesterday - good thing we had the day off to help!
We are thoughtful today as we want to recognize all of the awesome efforts of the local First Nations groups in the Yukon as they have had many conferences, projects for building and activities throughout the summer (already!). It is wonderful to share in the growth of our community.
Last week the team, even though they were incredibly busy last week already, spruced up our OWN building too!! The photos below show our beautiful front boxes - they're even fuller now - and some hanging boxes. The hanging boxes are a new addition to our team and we've already gotten some compliments on them. Ah, so fun!!
For our guys here in programs, they were certified in FoodSafe at the beginning of this week. So proud. So exciting! Much of the work done by our own guy who didn't do FoodSafe was transplanting our larger marigolds, the ones which were donated by Springtime Gardens, and some other vegetables which were getting cramped in their pots. We were so busy with the move that some of our plants could have used transplanting even last week. We also did a large amount of pruning as the move was a bit taxing on some of our plants and, again with the move, many of the maintenance tasks typical in a greenhouse had to be put on hold. It's nice to be back in regular operations. One of our gals will also be starting some seeds either this week or next as she has an interest in learning how to grow plants for tinctures. It is the first time in a while that we've had a participant interested in using the greenhouse for her own projects and we always welcome these ideas. It will also help build some skills which she can take with her after programs.
Speaking of planter boxes - our tasks this week are focused on filling them! We filled one, as you can see through the progress photos, on Tuesday and are planning to fill the rest this week or early next week. We are recruiting someone from the woodshop to help with the lining and drilling as each box will be lined with poly and have holes drilled in the bottom. The poly acts to protect the wood from rotting out and the holes allow for air to get in, to aerate the soil, and to allow water out if we accidentally get too much water in there although that is unlikely as these beds are HUGE! We used four large totes/plastic containers of old soil which has been sitting around in the greenhouse with this soil simply acting as filler to bring our levels up. We put about one small bag of propogation mix in to the one box although I was informed that this was not the right thing to do ;). I mistook propogation mix for compost - it's not compost mix. It's best for starting seeds at the beginning of the growing season - lessons learned! Hopefully sharing that here will prevent someone else from making this mistake. We will use around 8 small bags of mushroom compost to make everything nice and healthy and used two bags of Sunshine Mix #4 from Cliffside Greenhouse. We love Sunshine Mix!! As you can see in the photos, we have our awesome cucumber trellises which were built by our winter greenhouse carpentry program - thanks again guys! The idea is that the cucumbers, once we plant them in the planter box, will climb the trellis and the cucumbers will be able to hang down, through the mesh, and grow more plants. It is also nice for our plants which like a bit more shade as they can grow underneath the trellis so we don't waste good growing space.
The boxes will also allow us to clean up the greenhouse a bit by getting rid of large, old totes full of soil and plant some plants in there which will reduce the clustered shelves currently in there. My organizational brain is very excited to see the boxes full and the shelves a little more empty. This will also make watering much easier for our team as they can see whether they are watering everything.
Today the team harvested all of the plants out of the garden tower so we may start fresh, or move the tower, if we wish. Now that we have a bit more time and heat and sunlight it will be nice to start fresh and watch some healthy growth particularly for this program as I think the growth they observed has been underwhelming. Here's to new beginnings!
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.