Monthly Archives: May 2011

mycorrhizal what? (and square foot gardening)


Video footage above of Chris talking about square foot gardening. More videos and photos at the end of the post.

We got our deep beds planted this weekend – yay! (Well, three out of four of them anyways).

As part of our project, we’re experimenting with how and what we’re planting in each deep bed in an effort to figure out what works best for our soil and climate. As such, we’ve prepared the soil of each deep bed slightly differently. The soil on our land is very wet and contains A LOT of clay, so we have to do a lot of work to improve to improve it to make it an ideal growing environment. Each deep bed has a base of our original soil and topsoil, but we’ve added different kinds of compostable materials to them individually. In one we used steer manure, in another newspaper, another has food compost scraps, and the last had the chicken tractor (with chickens) over it for awhile (taking advantage of chicken poop and chicken scratching/ weed eating). Chris has also been adding home-made, organic fertilizer to the beds.

When it came to the planting, we decided to experiment as well. As much as possible, we want to pursue a form of planting that results in high yields with low maintenance needs. We’ve been reading about companion planting (planting certain veggies together because of the way their characteristics compliment each other and the soil) and are trying out some methods that have worked well for others.

The deep bed that took the most planning and planting work was our square foot garden deep bed. Square foot gardening is a method that has proven very successful with higher yields and by design, naturally sets up plants in a companion-friendly structure. We mapped out an entire deep bed in square foot sections with string, after first laying down a layer of weed protector (natural paper that will break down organically in the bed while hopefully keeping weeds away). We’re thinking that we should have laid some soil over the weed paper first, but you live you learn… you’ll see what our attempts at planting through the paper look like in the photos below. Our friend Cary directed us to this planting planner website that we used to determine what seeds (and where) we were going to plant in our square foot deep bed. Then we set to work cutting out holes and lines in the weed paper to seed our veggies. Veggies in this bed include beets, lettuce, carrots, leeks, kale, onions and nasturtiums.

In our second deep bed, we used more traditional methods of planting a variety of seeds in rows and we filled our third with 80% potatoes and 20% cucumbers. The fourth bed, which we have yet to plant, will have what are known as the ‘three sisters’: corn, pole beans and squash. These three items are apparently very complimentary and grow well together. The beans grow up the corn stalks and the squash acts as a nourishing ground cover.

I took some video footage of our efforts on the square foot bed. Apologies for the low sound quality. Check them out to find out more about the hows, the whys, the hopes, the doubts and the mycorrhizal whatchamacallit. Photos from the day below.




baby bunnies experience the chicken tractor


This weekend, we gave the baby bunnies a chance to stretch their legs in our chicken tractor for the first time. They LOVED it. Lots of grass to eat, lots of space to hop around in… We’ll have to do it more regularly – once they get a little bigger that is. Turns out some of them are still small enough to squeeze out of the chicken wire. Luckly we were able to catch our three escapees. One of them hopped right over to and through the wire fence of the chicken run. We found him running around with the chickens who seemed pretty intrigued by their new buddy.

While the bunnies were enjoying their freedom, Canaan and Kai enjoyed a gorgeous day outside, searching for worms, climbing up on the chicken tractor (Kai, of course) and hugging/ wrestling each other in the deep beds.

Ahhh… warm weather. Finally.

PS – I’m drinking a Granville Island False Creek Raspberry Ale while I type this. Doesn’t get much more spring/ summer than that!

PPS – the greenery around here is just BURSTING with life. Throw a little sunlight in after all that rain and this place is positively lush. SO good.

May long weekend productivity


It was a bit of a quiet long weekend on the farm. Half of the farm members were away for most of it, but despite the lower body count, a few of us still got out and took advantage of the mostly-nice weather to get some stuff done. Photos above and a list below of some of our weekend accomplishments. Big kudos to our newest farm member Ryan who has jumped right in to help. Lovin’ the extra pair of hands!

  • got topsoil delivered and shovelled it onto all of the deep beds;
  • started planting some veggies in the deep beds (carrots, leeks, beets, and turnips);
  • transplanted tomato seedlings into pots on the south-facing side of the garage;
  • chopped and stacked firewood;
  • burnt through at least a third of the old, disgusting junk wood pile;
  • weeded the garlic, peas and bean patch;
  • got some leftover blueberry bushes planted;
  • got free rainbarrels from Ryan’s dad (thank you!);
  • hosted two bonfire evenings for friends;
  • had a visit from some new friends (and regular blog readers) who delivered us some compost from their household to add to our pile (thanks for coming Sherry, Jeff & the kids!);

We hope everyone else had a wonderful long weekend and got a chance to spend some time outside – hopefully in the dirt!