Monday, February 28, 2011

Unity Salsa

The Notre Dame students that have been working hard developing a business plan to keep Unity Gardens sustainable. One idea of many is marketable consumables to sell to raise funds. Last weekend they did a test run for Unity Gardens Salsa . Looks like a tasty project !!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Great Class

Phil Sutton with Purdue Extention taught a great class today on pest management . The class was packed with over 50 students for the 90 min class . Phil work for the St Joe Co. Purdue ext. and teaches the Master Gardening class in St Joe Co. It was great having him guest teach at Unity Gardens series on gardening .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seed Fundraiser

This Year we teamed up with a seed company in Southern Indiana to do a seed fundraiser for Unity Gardens . 25% of the money spent on seeds by clicking the link on the right side of this page goes to Unity Garden. We Love this company because the they do great things for the Community.

Nature's Crossroads is dedicated to supporting organic gardeners in the Midwest by rebuilding the supply of locally-adapted,organically grown, Earth-friendly seeds. We are also working to increase the number of organic gardeners in our region through our community partner program, our school fundraisers, and our educational outreach. Buy local. Eat local. Grow local.
Please click on the link on the right hand side of this page and just check them out.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making the Connection

Its the little connections that make the big picture so great. On Friday Joel Schipper from WNDU news came out to the Greenhouse to do a peice on Unity Gardens classes. Charlie a grandmother saw the morning news. She was taking her grandaughter & grandson for the day . She thought planting seeds would be great fun for the kids. They came early because they had a party to go to. It was a great learning process . They spent a hour, and a half mixing dirt, filling trays , and starting seeds. Learning about the plants they were seeding. Isaac was not to into getting dirty, but by the end he was pretty into it . Isabelle was all about it digging right in . Every connection made helps bring a community together, teaches another child where food comes from.
Did I say we are growing more than vegetables here !

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seed Starting & Seeds Started

What a great day at the Potawatomi Greenhouse . I came to see Don's class on Orchids. Before class I was watering the seeds starts from last week , and wow little plants in every tray . Its Awesome. After Don's class we did some seed starting in the Greenhouse . Great day at the Conservatories

Friday, February 18, 2011

News at The Greenhouse

Today we were up early at the Potawatomi Greenhouse . Joel Schipper from WNDU came out to do a live shot about Unity Gardens , and how the use of the Greenhouse has helped with Unity Classes , and seed starting . He also spoke with Don Keim about his Orchids class this Saturday . Not sure how Joel does this every morning . I am beat

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

South Bend Sail, and Power Squadron

Last night Sara presented the Unity Gardens to the South Bend Sail, and Power Squadron . Its a group dedicated to community service, education, and friendship.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Awesome Class Today

Spring is here !! Well almost ..Part 4 of a 6 part series on growing your own vegetable garden was on Indoor seed starting . more than 50 people attended . The book learning part was short . Then we got right into starting seeds in the greenhouse. Over 1000 Tomatoes & Peppers were planted. We plan on starting seeds after every class over the next 6 weeks. So there will be plenty to share with the class & to plant in the Unity Gardens all over town. Great Day Great Class !! Afterwards it was some good food at the Greenhouse Potluck lunch !!

Oh and thank Jim for helping out with the class ...

Classes & Unity Gardens Opening

Busy day today Sara started the day on WNDU talking about the Unity Gardens classes, and also took the opportunity to invite the guys to plant some seeds April 9th at the 2011 Unity Gardens season garden opening at the LaSalle Square Unity garden . The planting party starts at noon on Saturday the 9th . Everyone is invited to come out, and celebrate the kickoff of the Unity Gardens Season.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting Ready

Sara Stewart the Face, and the backbone of Unity Gardens cleans seed trays for Saturdays class.
10 am Potawatomi Greenhouse
Seed Starting Basics
Then hands on planting

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Indoor Seed Starting

So with spring right around the corner its time to start thing about starting you seeds indoors.

Ok so lets assume you have picked you seeds, and you are just sitting home looking out at the snow waiting for spring . Well just about anything can be started indoors , although you do want to avoid root crops like Radish , carrots etc..

Let me start by saying I like to push the envelope on starting plants indoors & outdoors . With that said there are many places to find charts on when to start your seeds indoors . Its all based on a number of weeks before the last frost. One I like is a seed company called Natures Crossroads They have a great planting chart online. Also Purdue extension is another good source.
All you need is a nice warm location, some sun , seeds , seed starting soil , and some containers.
Lets start with the containers. You can buy new seed trays at the store or you can recycle old ones . You can also use a varity of containers, plastic cups etc.. They just need to hold soil , and you can put some small drain holes in the bottom. Best practice when useing old trays is to wash them out with soapy water or a weak bleach water mix to sterilize them. This helps keep fungus away that might kill young plants. More on that later !
Next good soil . I prefer to buy a good seed starting mix in a bag ( not potting soil ) You can mix your seed starting mix . there are several formulas. Whats inportant is making soil light, well drained yet have the ability to hold moisture in . One easy mix is 2 parts potting soil 1 part peat moss 1 part Perlite or Vermiculite, and if you choose a little fertilizer.
Sterile soil is good soil . Many times you sow the seeds indoors after taking care to by the best seeds you could find . Next the seeds sprout, and then just die off . This is called dampening off . A fungus attacks the young plant , and it looks pinched at the base of the stem then just dies !

How to stave this problem off ...Clean trays , sterile soil ! even bagged soil is not always sterile. So bake it in the oven for 200 degrees for 30 min , and you should be good . If you are doing lots of plants and this is not going to be to big of a task, then try to get the best freshest mix you can. Also do not over water, get good air flow around the plants, even a fan on low. You can try spraying a 3 % mix of hydrogen Peroxide solution on the new seedlings it works as a fungicide. I have also heard a light sprinkling of Cinnamon on the soil before planting helps, Also smells good.

So now its time to go clean soil, clean trays, and all your favorite seeds. First fill your trays to the top with soil. Tap lightly to let soil settle, yet keep it loose so roots can grow. Wet the soil before you plant the seeds . Check seed pack for planting depth. After you plant wet the soil again. Over the next few weeks keep the soil moist, but not to damp . Water dailey. Once the seedling are 2" tall or so they will need lots of water, sun , and warm air . Once plants are taller its good to put trays under pots , and water from bottom . If plants get too large, and start to get root bound its time to transplant into a larger pot. Once its getting close to time to transplant outdoors you need to harden off plants. Put them outside during the day , and get them used to the cooler weather. Be sure to bring them in at night. Make sure its past the last frost then plant them in your garden . Most plants get put in ground at the same level they were in pot . However Tomatoes get planted deep. As much as 1/2 the plant can go underground .

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Excitement Builds

The Excitement builds as we get closer to our first seed starting at the greenhouse . Time to transform some plastic trays, soil, and seeds into a sea of of green growing plants. Thanks to JFNew in Walkerton for the Soil & Seed Starting trays, and Thanks to PNC Bank for making this education series happen. Helping people grow their own food is money in the bank.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Veggie Tasting

In keeping with the mission of community building, and teaching healthy eating habits. Unity Gardens held an open house / veggie tasting at the LaSalle Branch Library. Bringing folks together to learn about Unity Gardens, collecting data on vegetables , and talking about healthy eating in a casual atmosphere. Spring has arrived early

The Dirt on Soil

The 3rd part of Unity Gardens 6 part series on growing a vegetable garden at The Potawatomi Conservatories was a sucess again. Each class has had over 40 people in attendence. The soil class hit a record high of 45 people attending. The class as always is very engaging, asking questions, and giving helpful tips. The survey's we are giving out are guiding us to plan some more classes. We are also thinking of re-running the series. Next week is a very hands on seed starting class were we will start plants for everyone to take home with them, and coming up in 2 weeks The Bontanical Society has a class on Orchids. Then the following week Phil Sutton with Purdue extension will be talking about garden pest, and then after that we wrap up the series with a class on garden maintence. After this series there will also be classes on Container gardening, Herbs , All about the top 12 Vegetables, and growing a Victory garden.
To learn more about the classes click the above on the events tab
Unity Gardens also needs your support to keep serving the community so if you would like to donate please see the donate button on the upper right side of blog to donate on line .

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday at the JJC

More sign painting at The Juvinile Justice center Friday . Kim contacted us a while back looking for a project the kids could do in the winter. Sara came up with the idea to have them paint signs to put at the Unity Gardens. Its the 2nd week , and everyone is enjoying it. " We Are Growing More Than Vegetables Here "

Friday, February 4, 2011

Some upcoming stuff !!

Saturday Feb 5 at 10am class at the Potawatomi Conservatories . The class is on Soil & Soil Prep for your garden . This is part 2 of a 5 part series. on growing your garden , The class is free . If you missed the first class on Garden planning don't worry we are thinking of running the series over .
Feb 7 Sara will be hosting a Unity Gardens open at The LaSalle Branch Library from 2pm to 5pm Speaking about nutrition , and even bring some food to Sample .
**Also if you want to start a Unity Garden or just learn more about them Sara Stewart will be giving 2 presentations on Unity Gardens in Feb.
Feb 17th at 5:30 pm at the Potawatomi Conservatories
Feb 19th At 1pm At The LaSalle Branch Library
Free please come join us