Do you want a more environmentally sustainable seed starting method that does not use plastic and provides more oxygen to the roots for healthier plant growth and less transplant shock? Soil Blocks may be your answer. Plants are grown in compressed blocks of soil that are pressed from a metal tool. They are an ancient method of growing starts that the Aztecs developed. Europe has been using this method for more than 100 years and refined the tools that create the blocks. It is an easy process to learn and the Milagro Community Garden produced 1,200 starts in three hours with a handful of gardeners that were using the soil block tools for the first time.
The soil mix includes sand, compost and other elements that help the blocks stay together. There is a 2”x2” tool to start seeds and then a larger block that the 2”x2” fits inside to reduce shock to the young roots.
It is an investment to purchase the soil block tools, but the garden hopes to use these for all future years of seed starts. The other tools needed were a large “bowl” to mix the seed starting mix. Milagro Community Garden used a children’s swimming pool. The trays used did not have any perforation so that watering can happen in the tray. It wicks into the soil block in a few hours. The starts are in a hoop house with a plastic cover directly over them to maintain temperature during the New Mexico spring with 65-degree days and freezing nights. You can contact the garden at MilagroGarden@yahoo.com with questions about their experience.
If you would like to learn more about the soil blocking system and soil starting mix, visit the potting blocks website.
Do you want to grow vegetables, but don’t have enough space in your yard? Want to learn more about gardening from your neighbors? Meet more people in your area? Join a community garden this year.
Santa Fe has eight community gardens. They are gardens that are divided into individual plots of approximately 10’x12′ but will vary between locations. They have five to thirty-five plots in each garden. Each plot is leased to families or people in the neighborhood for an annual fee of $15-$25. They are open from April to October or some locations may be open year-round. Garden members have access to their plot during the garden season.
The Parks Division has opened four gardens in city parks in the past few years. There are also gardens on privately owned land that are 15 years old. Two more gardens are planning to open in Tierra Contenta this year in Plaza Contenta and at the Zona del Sol location as Earth Care builds youth, community and education gardens. Despite the differences, the gardens all operate in a similar way. Residents can join the gardens in March and April. Each garden has a group of neighbors that coordinates the community, plans activities and may offer classes.
Here is a list of garden contacts:
1. The City of Santa Fe Community Gardens are Sunny Slope Community Garden, La Familia, Maclovia Community Garden and Frenchy’s Community Garden. Contact Jessie Esparza at 955-2106 for details.
2. Plaza Contenta is opening a community garden in 2012. Contact Dave at 986-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The El Dorado School Community Garden has a website for more information.
4. The Milagro Community Garden on Rodeo Road is currently accepting new gardeners and has a waiting list. Email email@example.com for information.
5. Railyard Park has a website www.railyardpark.org for more information on joining the garden and events and workshops.
Come to Home Grown New Mexico’s March 27th Potluck at 6:30pm at the Santa Fe Complex on Second Street to meet Fabian Chavez and Jessie Esparaza from the Parks Division to discuss community gardens in city parks. Bette Booth from the Community Garden Council will also be available to discuss updates from the spring planning meetings and her experience as a community garden member. Watch our website menu Community Gardens to see updates and additional information.
Posted in Community Gardens
Tagged Community, Community Garden, Eldorado, Frenchy's Community Garden, Garden, La Familia Community Garden, Maclovia Community Garden, Milagro Community Garden, neighborhood garden, Parks Division, Plaza Contenta Community Garden, Railyard Community Garden, Santa Fe, Sunnyslope Community Garden, Zona del Sol Youth & Community Garden
Garden Seed Starting Class
Saturday, March 3
10:00 to 11:30 am
Presented by Home Grown New Mexico and the Railyard Stewards
DESCRIPTION AND BIO:
Jannine Cabossel, a Master Gardener and ‘The Tomato Lady’ at the Santa Fe Farmers Market will teach a class on how to start seeds for your garden. Jannine has extensive experience in growing vegetables organically on her 2000 square foot garden using all organic methods. Follow her blog. COST: Suggested $10 donation
LOCATION: This event will take place in the Railyard Park. Meet at the community room behind SITE Santa Fe, off of Paseo de Peralta. It is a metal corrugated building.
QUESTIONS: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 473-1403. Visit homegrownnewmexico.org for details of other community homesteading classes this year.
Posted in Education Classes
Tagged Community Garden, Garden, Garden Classes, Giant Veggie, Giant Veggie Gardener, Home Grown New Mexico, Jannine Cabossel, Master gardener program, New Mexico, Plant, Railyard Stewards, Santa Fe, Seed, Seed Starting Class, Square Foot Garden, Tomato Lady