Tag Archives: 2012 GANG

Ommigod. FRUIT!

So. We spent a wonderful afternoon on Sunday’s Earth Day weeding and mulching. Alexandra will write up a fuller post on it, but here’s a great shot of the workers working,

and another shot of strawberry/blackberry bed fully mulched.

But today I want to talk about fruit. FRUIT. We got some! Not just grapes and berries (which came on strong the second year, not so great the third year, and this fourth year, are again strong — thanks to addition of rock dust),

Grapes, so tiny! This cluster is about the size of one of the digits on my little finger.

Blackberry buds. Can you see 'em?

Strawberries, still whitish, but large! (Only the second year for the strawberries)

but peaches, apples and pears!

I had noticed that these little trees, after four years, finally had some flowers on them this spring, but not until today did I actually notice that they now have fruit!

Me, with apples. (I THINK they're apples!)

Peaches. (They're fuzzy.)

Pear. (I think it's the only one on the tree!)

Plus, some little berry buds on some kind of bush, not sure what it is, but it was the very first thing we planted in the very first permaculture workshop that we held, back in 2009, and I had wondered if it would ever produce.


On the other hand, the seedlings are still gathering sun, awaiting transplanting.

I’ve had to cover them one night in the last week, since temps dropped into the mid-30s. But since then they’ve been okay. However, the way they are situated now, they only get sun after 1 p.m. About six hours total a day. Barely enough. And they are pale, need more nitrogen.

So it goes, as the magical GANG garden ramps up its activity, freeing the abundance of Nature year after year, fuller and fuller, as permaculture gardens are designed to be. Eventually, this place should look like a jungle, with stacked stuff to eat everywhere, and a natural magnetic draw for gathering neighbors into community. Blessings!

BTW: the fish are doing swimmingly, despite (because of?) the purgation of twelve days ago. About a dozen in there now, and I’m expecting little ones soon. Frogs are hopping and honking. All is well.

Sprouting Spring

Thursday Alexandra, Sarah and Stephanie had a productive working meeting at the GANG with the help of fellow neighbor José.

Alexandra, Stephanie and Sarah awed by the seedling-baby growth

We were thrilled to see the seedling so bountiful… but wanted to thin out some of the ones that really sprouted up, like the cilantro and basil, so we cleaned out some potters with herbs and re-planted the little plantlings. We also put some into the garden tower (more on that to follow!) With the recent frost warning, Ann had been taking the plants in overnight, so they are still alive and kicking. Now, we have been covering them with plastic overnight to keep them safe.

Happy gardener weeding the bed for the arugula.

Then we decided the pouty, wilty arugula was ready for a re-planting, having outgrown its little container. So Alexandra and José weeded out a bed in the garden,

Doing the dirty work... José with the bucket of manure

then José got a giant bucket of manure

and together we spread the nice, mulched horse manure over the bed.

Spreading the love...

Stephanie went to check how far apart to plant the arugula (about 6 inches) and together with Sarah, we re-planted the arugula plants in this bed.

Planting the arugula.

Sarah also had fun planting and trimming the Garden Tower.

Sarah planting herbs and arugula in the Garden Tower.

Stephanie added some amendments to the raspberry bush, from a mixture of liquid fertilizer (all natural, of course).

We hope these changes make the plants happy!

We made a final circuit around the garden, and Stephanie showed us the successful results of our de-weeding experiment:

Clear boundaries from where plastic was pulled up - no weeds underneath! It worked! A quick, easy, and efficient way to weed large spaces.

in March, we had put black plastic over a bed with a lot of weeds and clover that needed to be er one bed that was completely covered in clover and weeds that needed to removed before planting there. The black plastic, held down by rocks to keep down, would kill the weeds (with the help of the sun!) to free us of weeding. Stephanie lifted up the black plastic, and we could see the effect! Here you can see, too, the clear line where the plastic left off, and how nice and weed-free the soil is underneath the plastic! We left the plastic on, and will remove it when we are ready to plant.

Until next time, GANG!

Seedlings in, seedlings out, seedlings in and out, in and out . . .

This strange spring had us setting seeds in pots way earlier than usual. At first, it was no big deal, since they were in a winter greenhouse that has lots of sunlight — until, that is, the leaves come out on the trees. Which they did, again, way early.

So Stephanie and Sarah and Alexandra carried all the little seedling trays to the porch, where they’d still get sun. And that worked fine too, until it got colder at night, and started to damage the little squash seedlings.

So I put a sheet over all of them for a couple of nights. And then Stephanie told me to put plastic over them instead (to keep the heat in — DUH! Right!), and that worked okay last night.

But tonight, grrr.  . . it’s already cold and is set to go down to mid-30s. So . . . I put the plastic down on my living room floor and carried them all inside just now. That’s fifteen trips. Then fifteen trips back outside tomorrow. And probably tomorrow night as well. That’s 60 trips altogether in and out during this very strange spring which has us all either scratching our heads or highly aware of global warming/weirding.

Action in the Garden

A photo update of the work taking place around the garden.

We hope you come and get involved.  Next work day: EARTH DAY, April 22nd from 2-5 pm !!

Spring is sprung. The garden in its weeded glory.

Seedling power! Stephanie and Alexandra planted some seedlings over Spring Break… and within days they were popping up like champs!



This eggplant jumped up right away and needed to be re-planted into bigger containers!




Compost here! We got a lot of help from the neighborhood, including Jim making these awesome compost bins! THANKS!!! Now, we need all of your compost, grass clippings, coffee grounds, etc!











Mmmmmmmanure! Thanks to Steve Headley and his horses for this wonderful natural fertilizer! (FYI – his farm is on Mt. Gilead Road in Bloomington for others who might benefit from using this manure on their gardens). We will be spreading the manure over the beds to get them chock full of vitamins and minerals for healthy plants!




Weeding… a necessary evil. Thanks to all who pulled weeds to get GANG ready for yummy plants!







Yes, Shadow absolutely helps, too!









Ann is excited for the brambling blackberries and raspberries!





Ahhhh, planting. Steph and Sarah had some fun planting beans and peas along the perimeter (they’ll grow up the fence) and around the teepee (another good structure for their vines to climb up).

Hope to see you soon at the GANG!

Balancing Spring: Equinox and GANG

I can’t let today pass without a quick blog about the garden. It is, after all, Spring Equinox. And spring is definitely in the air!

Last week, over IU’s spring break, we got pretty excited about the garden. The 80 degree weather helped encourage that excitement, and it led to some action.

First, we planted seeds and placed them in the greenhouse. We have tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, and arugula – which was also very excited for spring and peeped up after only 2 days! These little starter plants will be re-planted in a few months in a clean, mulched, frost-free garden.

A few days later, we got even more ambitious, and we started to weed. Shadow the dog helped us enormously (by digging his own hole to rest in the shade) and we made great progress. More remains to be done, but it was rewarding to see how in such a short time, all our work together made a difference.

We are planning some changes in the garden for this season – moving some of the beds so the plants get more light, a night-blooming garden with delicious-smelling flowers, and, of course, the city-required gate. More news on that to come soon!