Organic Gardening: 14 Tips for Starting Your Own Seeds.


As winter has had us shoveling our walkways and driveways but good so far, I am sure many of us are thinking how soon Spring will be here. Well in only 90 days or so, Spring will arrive. I have already looked through various seed catalogs and have ordered a few packets of vegetable and herb seeds and while I have them stored in a cool dry place I came across this interesting article. (Link Above) It has some great tips and tricks of the trade in starting up your own seeds ensuring your garden and production is organic from the get go.

Feel free to check out organicgardening.com yourself to learn of many ideas for making this year the year that you finally go organic!

Dear Gardenistas,

Long time, no see!
I apologize for the lack of activity regarding the Peekskill Garden project. The crux of the problem has been time; Scott was totally unavailable this summer, and I, too, was overly busy, (including a trip to India).

The good news is that Laura P. has worked diligently with John Cooley of the Peekskill Middle School and they got a wonderful, thriving garden going for the science club students to run, with help from adult volunteers through the summer. Way to go, Laura!

Now, it’s time to get back to planning the Forrest View garden.
I’d like to get back to regular meetings, (maybe every other week?) to brainstorm with you all on how to proceed, and assign tasks to those who can commit to getting them done. I will be out of town this coming Saturday, so can we meet on Saturday, October 16th at 9:30 a.m. at the coffeehouse?

Scott has tried over and over to chase down suppliers who promised to donate materials we need to get the drainage work done, (and I followed up once). No response yet.

See them face-to-face and set up a DATE for the donation to be made.

– Raise money with fund raisers. I think a big tag sale could be a good start. Don’t we all have friends who’d like to get rid of stuff and help create this project at he same time?
-Get Head Start or Americorp (Emily works with them) or some such young volunteer man power to help us.

My friend Donna Sharrett emailed me this notice about the Ossining Community Garden (below), along with a link to a LoHud story about their very impressive accomplishment. It’s inspirational.

Barbara Lipp

About the garden from Bill Cary’s Journal News blog: http://gardening.lohudblogs.com/2010/10/04/meet-ossinings-community-gardeners/

This Sunday at our garden:

Ossining Organic Community Garden to host 350.org Global Work Party

Fall Clean-Up at the Garden

This Sunday October 10, 2010

12 noon to 3 pm.

Activities will include:

Winterizing the Compost System with members of our compost team

Creating a New Garden Plot Using the Sheet Mulching Technique with our gardeners & the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Youth Group

Installing a Rain Barrel with the St. Paul’s Episcopal congregants

Mulching & Composting with our gardeners

Join us in this international event! More information about 350.org: www.350.org

Come early for a Learning Event with the Master Gardener Volunteers of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County

Closing Shop: Preparing the Garden for Winter

Final Harvests, plant removal, cover crops & care for overwintering or late season crops will be discussed. Garlic planting will be demonstrated.

10am – 12noon.

Ossining Organic Community Garden is located at:

Cedar Lane Park, 235 Cedar Lane, Ossining, NY

The garden now has ripe tomatoes, lots of swiss chard, really good string beans, and plenty of herbs.  For a first year garden, I think its great.  Especially for me, as John Cooley and the science club group did so much work getting this garden off the ground.  I just showed up to help out where I could;  share my experience, watering, planting and weeding,  and now I am reaping the rewards.

Robin, Jake and Johnna, Barbara, Karen, Susan and I shared watering duties and got together a few times to do work parties over the summer.  With such a small garden however, the work was done within an hour.  That was another nice thing about starting small.  Very low stress.

Myra from the Garden Club steered us right with that soil.  The garden is producing beautifully right now.  It had some bumpy spots in July, but that could have been any number of things, water, heat stress, for example, or maybe certain nutrients werent available at the moment the plant needed them.

It continues to be a hot, dry summer.    Dry enough to remind me that I can’t assume that it will rain in time to save the plants I just planted this year.  I have been watering my blueberries in the route 6 gardens.  They are growing slowly, which is OK by me because it is so dry.  To water them, I go to the spring with a 3 gallon bucket.  It is about 5″ deep in the deepest part.  It takes about 8 trips back and forth to water them what I think is well enough.

I am trying to be bold enough to trust that nature has adaptive skills to many things, drought included.  The trees look like they are getting ready to go to bed early, and maybe thats OK.   However, since I just planted the blueberries this spring, I think it is good to keep them watered, for the first year at least.   Next year maybe their roots will be strong enough to be able to mine far for what they need, and a few roots lost to extremes wont impact the integrity of the network.

Its hot.  A week of close to 100 degree weather, and no rain since one in June about 2 and 1/2 weeks ago.  It has been a dry summer so far.  We measured .9 inches of rain for June compared to 24 inches last June (2009) at the farm I work at in Sleepy Hollow.  I think we got a little more here but not much.  The lawns are looking like august, weeds along the roadsides are dying back.   There has been no rain so far this month, and only a chance of thundershowers this weekend.

The good thing is it is  a wake up call that we cant take the rain for granted.  Especially in this time of climate change, anything can happen, although a few predictions have been made to give us a sense of what may come.  One is, that as the air heats up it will hold more water.  When it does rain the rain will come down harder, more of a deluge.  The other that as the air temperature is warmer more water will evaporate out of the soil.

At the school garden, we need to focus on a rainwater collection system so that as the garden expands we wont be relying so much on water from the hose.  The kids of the science club already initiated this, so it will be fun to follow up and expand on the idea, hopefully with them in some way.    We mulched the garden well with leaves to conserve water.  At Forest View, the spring is still running.  The ground has become hard, the way wetlands do when the soil drys up.

Good thing Alison and I incorporated peat moss in the planting holes for the high bush blueberries at Forest View.  I am not sure they would have liked how dense and brick like the soil is there, especially when it is dry.  They needed water.  I watered them, in the nick of time.   Looks like I will need to stop by once a week at least especially while this heat lasts to give them a drink.

I harvested some of the garlic we planted while I was at Forest View and ran into CJ and Carol, who came out because they saw I was there.  I shared the bounty with them as CJ was one of the troopers out there with us planting them on that freezing day last december.  They werent country fair prize winning bulbs, what with the absolutely no care they received all year, but they thrilled us anyway and they are beautiful, harvested late, their graceful seed heads on slender 4 and 1/2 foot stalks.   I made a great spaghetti sauce with the ones I harvested.   Only about 10 made it.  There are 4 or 5 out there if someone wants to harvest…Barbara?   Scott?

update on gardens

Its been a hot dry year.  Fortunately, where we have the gardens there is a hose bib (middle school) , and moist ground (forest view).

Karen, Barbara, Robin and her kids Johna and Jake and I have been working regularly at the middle school garden.  The tomatoes, squash, and strawberries plants are  taking off.  The peppers are coming around.  The swiss chard is a mainstay, providing harvests of really tasty chard on a regular basis.

The lettuce is finished.  Next year we need to plant less or let the kids start selling it.  We are batting around an idea of inviting the student council to sell it as a fundraiser for their club.  The peas are also finished.  They worked out well too.  They provided nice snacking opportunities for the kids just as they were wrapping up school.  A nice send off, and then later they provided enough for about 6 meals  for us.   I think next year we could get more.  Germination was spotty, and next year we should use innoculant.   There is some native to the soil judging by the nodules, but not a lot.

We are also starting a journal to record data such as observations and harvests.  It would be nice to know how much we actually pull out of that garden.

The Open House for the garden went really well, and it appears there is an abundance of energy to make this garden a success.   John Cooley’s instincts advise him to keep the garden the size it is this year and see how it goes, and maybe expand next year.   I think he is right about this.  I think we should channel extra creative energy this year into hammering down the infrastructure so the garden can expand – increasing the composting capacity, and installing a rain barrel system so we aren’t depending on city water.

The blueberries at Forest View are doing really well!  They get along beautifully without any input from me.   I have only watered them once since Allison and I planted them.    So far they appear to love their new home.  The spring is still running.  Its a lovely meadow.

There is an open house at the Middle School Monday evening at 5:30.  This event will give those who are interested in being part of the school garden to meet faculty from the school.    John Cooley, the science club adviser there told me that we don’t have to bring everything, they will have it covered.  The garden is behind the school.  The easiest way to get there is to park on Washington street behind the school and come up the stairs, take your stairway on the right.   There are apparently a dummy set of stairs leading nowhere to the south of the stairs that you would take.

Look forward to seeing you!!!!  If you have some time and want to work there I will be there for a few hours around 4 – 6 this evening and then 3:30 on on Monday.

Myself, Ellen and Karen are going to meet up at the middle school garden tomorrow evening at around 5:30 .   Join us if you like!    the garden is behind the middle school.  Park on Washington Street, and walk up the stairs, take the stairway on your right  to get to the garden.

garden update

We got a nice thank you from John Cooley at the Middle School last night for our involvement with the garden there.   He gave thanks to all the supporters, including me, representing the Peekskill Community Garden, Myra Marsocci of the Peekskill Garden Club, and Wheelabrator, who supports the science club every year.   His thanks closed out  the presentation that the science club gave explaining the process they and their advisor, John Cooley, went through to create the garden behind the school.

Its a beautiful little garden, and got off to a great start this year producing copious amounts of delicious lettuce and parsley and arugula.

Now everyone who made the garden happen is about to leave for summer vacation, and John has cleared the way for community members to get on board.  I think its a great opportunity.  No deer problems there, a hose bib, beds made, its good to go.   I just planted peppers and tomatoes and basil and chives, oregano and squash and watermelon.  There is still plenty of room.  We are looking for people who love to garden and eat good food and would like to benefit the school in the process.  I have been volunteering there since March and I have found it a truly rewarding experience.

If you, dear reader, are interested, let me know!!

Also, the blueberries at the Forest View Garden look great!  And the spring is still running strong and the meadow is as lovely as ever.  The mint is growing like crazy in there and it is good!  Refreshing!  Go harvest some!

Thanks to the extraordinary vision and effort of John Cooley and the members of the Science Club, the middle school now features a vegetable garden and picnic tables.  Myself and Myra Mysocci of the Peekskill Garden Club have been helping  to get the garden up and running by providing consultation at critical times and weeding and watering as needed.

The garden got off to a great start, and rewarded us with delicious lettuce and parsley.  Now we need to transition into a summer garden, ideally before June 1st, which is when the garden open house is and the school board will be by to see the progress.   We need about 4-8 more volunteers to commit to the garden.  Its a bit different than having a plot at the Forest View Garden, because as a school garden, its purpose is to augment and enrich the teacher’s educational curriculum, and make the school experience more pleasant for everyone there.

I have been involved with the garden there since March, and I find it a very rewarding experience.  One of the rewards is the yummy vegetables.  Especially over the summer, the garden would be maintained and enjoyed probably mostly by community volunteers.   While enjoying the bounty of summer, we would also be preparing a fruitful garden for the kids when they come back in September.

Let me know if you are interested!  I would love to meet up there this weekend sometime.  Either really early Saturday, or Sunday or Monday morning.. or an evening next week..