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New ‘Starts’ for the Garden–PART TWO

March 11th, 2010

Yesterday members from the UC Davis Grounds and Landscape Services staff managed to plant all the new starts we received from Kelly’s Color Nursery in Davis the day before. (For more information on this story click here.)

It was truly an efficient operation. Arlene Kennedy, Gardener for the UC Davis Good Life Garden, had the ground prepared and soil amended. (For more information on how to amend your soil click here.) The day before she lightly watered the soil so it would easy to plant in the next morning. Then, the morning of the planting, Arlene, Ed Norstrom, Grounds Supervisor, and Elias Mbvukuta, Groundskeeper matched the starts to the exact area where they would be planted. (See detail of rhubard chard below.)

Next, a small and very capable crew moved from one end of the garden to the other, and within a half hour, all the starts were planted! See the photos below.

Below, Pat Stoffel, Groundskeeper, loosens up some of the bound roots with her fingers prior to planting.

From left to right, Jose Aguayo, Lorenzo Guzman, Felipe Olivares, Elias Mbvukuta, and Arlene Kennedy plant flower starts in the UC Davis Good Life Garden wine aroma bed.

Jessie Flores, Groundkeeper, finishes planting the leek starts and prepares to move on to the next job.

Depending on the size of the start and the condition of the soil, our groundskeeper will use typical garden trowels, hoematics, or simply their hands to plant the new starts into the beds. Here Felipe Olivares employs the use of a hoematic to plant a row of celery starts. Hoematics are a great tool for any gardener. One side is a small hoe the other side is a garden hand rake.


Gardening Along with Arlene: Amending Your Soil

October 2nd, 2009


Before you plant, it’s important to amend your soil in order restore nutrients that may be depleted after your summer crops were harvested. Soil quality can vary a great from yard to yard. If you believe your soil may be the root of an underlying problem, you may want to consider getting your soil tested by your county agricultural cooperative extension. That is what we’ve done. You can read more the amendments we employ in the garden and why here. (This is a large .pdf document because there are four short videos embedded in it. You can also view the videos on our Facebook Fan page or below. If you aren’t already a fan you can become one here for free!)

Long story short, the soil in our garden requires a bit more amending than most. Overall, for the average organic garden, we recommend, and we also will add gypsum (calcium sulfate), 3-4-3 dried chicken manure pellets, and compost. For a garden that is about 100 square feet, sprinkle on about 1 coffee can full of gypsum, and another 5 coffee cans full of dried chicken manure pellets; then layer on about an inch of compost. Work it into the soil by using a spading fork and hula hoe. Last, use a bow head rake to smooth and level the area.


Olive tree update

September 9th, 2009

If you have been by the garden lately, you may have noticed that some of the olive trees in the grove aren’t looking very healthy. The poor health of the trees is not due to neglect, but is due instead to a percolation problem that presented itself after the trees were transplanted last October.

What is a percolation problem? It simply means that the water cannot percolate, or absorb, into the soil. This is due in part to the the recent construction of the courtyard which contains the same compacted soil necessary to create a stable foundation for the surrounding buildings. The soil was compacted and then hardened, and now water simply sits there without draining, creating the perfect environment for a bacterial infection of the root system. Nevertheless, despite the fact that two of the trees appear to be dead, they still have live growth on them, and our Grounds crew is working hard to come up with a solution. Below is a photo of one of the trees being transplanted last October.