Presented by Ana Tolentino
By Ardis Young
Rosedale Bees Update
The honey bees at Rosedale did not survive the winter and spring. Recently, Tom Smedley, Carey, and Ardis set up two new bee hives in the Southwest corner to replace them. As you probably know, we are losing honey bees worldwide at an alarming rate because of many things such as insecticides, disease, air pollution, habitat destruction, stress and more (bee colony collapse). A couple suggestions for the Rosedale honey bees, please avoid activity around the hives and loud noises which are stressful for the bees. When stressed, bees may swarm and move to a less stressful home. When walking near the bees, try to avoid their flight pattern, which is a straight line when leaving the hive. Staying further away, you will avoid interrupting their flight and less likely to be stung. We are also trying to communicate with the Denver schools regarding their spraying schedule as we feel that weed spraying this spring may be the cause of the demise of one of the hives.
Here are some interesting facts about honey bees: honey bees perform about 80% of the pollination in the world and increase production of produce by one-third. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. The following website shows what would happen if we did not have honey bees in the world. “A picture is worth a thousand words” as shown in this website about what our grocery stores would look like if we lost honey bees. http://www.huffingtonpost.
Here’s a shout-out to Dave Shreve who spent an entire afternoon cleaning the empty hives and purchasing new wax foundation so that the new bees could be placed in clean hives when they arrive. This was very much appreciated.
Three Days Only!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
May 30, May 31 and, June 1.
10:00 a. m. to noon
At Rosedale Community Garden
Tomato plants expertly raised by the garden’s own Charlie S.
Several varieties available.
Also, dehydrated garlic chips and garlic powder from Rosedale’s garlic will be available for sale. Amy and Syd spent many long hours peeling, slicing, and dehydrating the garlic just for you, so pick some up with your tomato plants.
All proceeds benefit Rosedale Community Garden.
It was unexpectedly
chilly cold on Saturday, but we had a great turnout and were able to get a lot done in the garden. Many thanks to all who helped out on the various projects. Sorry if we fail to recognize anyone on a specific project–we’ll try to keep better track next time.
Hopi Blue Corn Plot
The blue corn plot was turned over and prepped for planting thanks to: Russell, Sissy, Charles R., Matt S. It looks great, and fingers crossed for a bountiful blue corn crop this season.
Read about the Hopi Blue Corn Project here.
Sorry, no photo, but imagine the smell from combining fish emulsion with the bokashi compost tea. We could smell it all over the garden! Thanks to Edward and Linda B. for tackling that task. The garlic will love it.
North Fence Line Weeding
The biggest job of the day was weeding the north fence line and exposing all of the perennials along it. It took a huge crew, but they got it done! Many thanks to: Charles R., Trishia P., Russell, Terry M., Scott M., Suzanne B., Sissy, Sarah, Priscilla.
The next phase of this project, before the weeds have a chance to return, will be to lay black plastic or landscape fabric down and around the perennials, then cover with wood chips. If anyone has time to spend on it this week, the black plastic and/or landscape fabric and staples are in the tool shed. Send an “after” photo to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of the progress.
Front Gate Perennial bed
Thanks to Terry G. for all of the weeding by the front gate.
Thanks to Charlie for loaning his mower to the garden for the day, and to Sarah for getting the grassy areas mowed. The garden looks great!
Rosedale’s first barrel of compost using the bokashi method was opened on Wednesday, May 10.
Bokashi is a composting method that uses organic microbes to breakdown plant material into usable compost. The method is much quicker than traditional composting–this barrel of garden plant material(including weeds) took just over a week to break down into a usable compost “mash” and compost “tea”.
The goal is to be able to process all plant material from Rosedale Garden using this method. The result will be a very nutrient rich compost, and compost “tea”, for gardeners to use on their plots, ultimately eliminating the need to buy compost from any outside source.
Here’s the process:
First, fill the bright blue barrels with all of the plant material you remove from your garden. Plants, weeds, bindweed, EVERYTHING, can be tossed into the barrels. When the barrels are full…
The compost team will mix the bokashi inoculant with water and add it to the barrel…
The barrel will be sealed and left to ferment for approximately a week. Once the fermenting process is complete, the barrel is opened. What you’ll see is a very soupy mixture that looks a lot like sauerkraut…
The tea is poured off to be used as a foliar feed and the mash can be added directly to your garden to serve as compost, creating a very rich topsoil. Once the mash is added to your garden, the breakdown process continues, and within just a few days will be completely incorporated into the soil.
The compost team will keep the garden posted on how this new composting method is working and how gardeners will be able to use the compost that is created.
Rosedale is trying out a new composting solution for the garden. Bokashi (acidic anaerobic) fermentation is the simplest, least costly, and fastest way of recycling organic waste. It is an anaerobic process with specialized microbes and requires only 10 days to reach its end point.
Victor Restrepo of Innovative Organics was at the garden on Saturday, April 23, to demonstrate the technique to gardeners. Everyone in attendance agreed that we should give this new composting method a try.
One of the great aspects of Bokashi is that all plant material in the garden can be composted–even the dreaded bind weed. The acidic nature of Bokashi composting ensures that weeds and pathogens are eliminated, and that the resulting product is a healthy addition to the garden soil.
We’ll have a more detailed description of the Bokashi composting method in the next few days, but in the meantime, look for the new blue barrel in the garden back by the composting area. Feel free to add any plant material that you pull up in the garden to the barrel. When it is full, we’ll add the Bokashi microbes and start the process.
After an initial testing period, we’ll be able to determine how many barrels we’ll need in order to manage the amount of plant material generated by the garden.
Here’s Marilyn tossing in the first batch of weeds, grass, and plants that she pulled from her garden.
In the fall of 2010, Jackie and I were with an archaeological group at the Hopi Mesas. We met many of the elders and became interested in the way they have grown their corn for over a thousand years. It occurred to us that it would be something we could try at Rosedale. I ordered blue corn seed from Seeds of Change. We read about the traditional methods of planting, and when the weather seemed right at the end of May, we began.
Each hole was dug and organic material added. With a stick, a hole was made 12 inches below the surface and seed dropped into it and tamped down. We moved four paces and planted the next hole. We had been warned not to water, but to wait for rain.
We set up a little shrine with a picture of a katsina tacked to a pole.
(Aholi is the patron saint (wuya) of the Pikyas or
Young Corn Clan who care for the seed corn. The colors are said to represent the flowers and brightness of summer.)
Our Hopi friend, Donald, agreed to give a long distance blessing to our project. He told us that in order for the corn to prosper, we needed to dance and sing amongst the rows. Since neither of us dance or sing, we found Colleen at the garden willing to sing. She has a beautiful voice and sang a lullaby to the corn. It was very touching, especially since she was pregnant at the time. I had tears in my eyes.
Hopi corn geminates from the moisture deep down in the hole. We began to see little green shoots. As the summer progressed and the rains came (more than they would have at Hopi), the plants were beautiful. Soon we could see evidence of ears appearing. We were almost dancing in the patch!
Soon, they were mature enough that we could peek and see blue color. We kept Donald informed of the progress and sent him photos by email. He was pleased and very encouraging.
Finally, it was time to harvest our crop. We had such beautiful ears.
Some were sapphire blue and some looked like garnets. We kept a few to use for seed this year along with the commercial seed we used last year. The best ones we send to Donald and to our friend, Tessie, at Santa Clara pueblo.
Upon receiving the package, Donald responded that it was a very sacred time at Hopi and he was about to go to the kiva for religious ceremonies. Our blue corn would go with him.
Tessie wrote us that she will grind the corn we sent her—by hand, using a mano and metate and will sprinkle the corn meal as blessings.
After harvest, we bent the stalks over in the Hopi way so that they could rest. We found out that according to tradition, the stick used to make the 12 inch holes should be left in the patch to give strength to the crop. We will do this when we plant this season.
Rosedale’s influence, through our experiment, has been extended all the way to Arizona and New Mexico!
2015 Blue Corn Update
On June 15, 2015 we planted the Hopi Blue corn seed that I bought from Janice Day on Second Mesa in Hopi.
Other years we have used a few different types of seeds. However a Hopi elder tole me that was not a good idea and perhaps why some of our ears last year didn’t have any color.
Using a stick, Jackie made 3 holes 14 inches deep in each of 6 hills. We put in each hole 2 seeds for the Katsina, 2 for Mt Evans (since we can’t see any of the Hopi sacred mountains), 2 for the mice and 2 for us. The ground temperature was 70 degrees and very wet.
On June 22 we saw the first blades coming through the ground – only 7 days and it came up 14 inches!
On June 25 we had a heavy hail storm. The corn survived though many of the leaves showed signs of being shredded. The pounding and the cold couldn’t have been very good for it.
Today is July 11 and the corn is well below “knee high”. We have had some hot days but also some very cool rainy ones so it is not surprising that the corn, though growing, is not flourishing.
More news and photos later.