Soil&Water Garden update: We're making lots of progress!

A quick update on what's been happening at the garden...

  • We planted a small-scale garden a couple weeks ago.

  • We finished building the raised beds, coated them with an eco-friendly stain, and filled them with dirt. So they're ready for planting! 

  • We planted the 2-tier raised bed in the center of the garden over the past two weeks.

  • The children planted one raised bed with sunflowers (so far).  

  • We moved the dirt pile. 

  • Irrigation is nearly complete as we connect to the city water system.  

Please come join in the progress, gardening is fun!

 

What do egg hunts have to do with beans?

 

A lot if you hold a garden egg hunt.  Yesterday, April 12, kids hunted for eggs around Heritage park and found seeds hidden in some of them (and candy too!, of course).  One of the main seeds they found were Petaluma Gold Rush beans.  A variety that Soil&Water has been asked to grow for the Silicon Valley Grows seed bank.  
Silicon Valley Grows has an annual project where gardeners in the community all grow the same seed.  The 2018 project is the Petaluma Gold Rush bean and we are excited to participate in growing some this season.  We'll get to try them out and save seeds for the seed bank.  In fact, they may be available next year through the Mountain View public library's free seed library.  If you don't know about this great resource, the public library has a seed library where you can go and take seeds for your personal use for free.  
 

 This is what the beans look like: photo borrowed from  Seed to Table blog

This is what the beans look like: photo borrowed from Seed to Table blog

 The kids planted gold rush beans, asian long beans, sunflowers and are experimenting with direct seeding some melons this early in the season.  

The kids planted gold rush beans, asian long beans, sunflowers and are experimenting with direct seeding some melons this early in the season.  

Sustainable Grains and Wheat Planting

On March 25th 2017, Monica Spiller from the Whole Grain Connection shared her knowledge of ancient varieties that grow well in California and we planted Sonora wheat @ Soil&Water Garden.  We also planted a few other varieties for comparison sake.  The kids will get to see the difference between wheat, barley and rye.

We all learnt a lot about grains. Kids really enjoyed planting a row of Sonora wheat. We will watch them grow everyday. 

Lets wait and watch them grow. We will keep you updated on the progress of the growth. We look forward to harvest and process the seeds and make flour.

S&W @ City of Mountain View Volunteer Fair

 April 1st 2017 was a volunteer fair held at the MV Community Center. Archana, Ronit, and Rita set up a booth at the fair which received a lot of interest.  You may meet some new members at upcoming volunteer workdays so please be sure and welcome them to the group. 

We received lot of interest from people. S&W setup the table with Garden progress pictures, Vounteer signup sheet, Sun flower seed planting to give away and scallions transplants to give away.

Kids were really excited to plant sunflower seeds in a little pot.

Based on the response, we are hoping to have more volunteers to the garden. 

 

First Planting @Heritage Park

On Wednesday few of the S&W volunteers started planting on the ground. We had seeded Beans and Sugar snap peas earlier in February. Last week (on Wednesday),  we transplanted them on the ground.

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We are planning to build a Trellis for the Sugar snap peas in the corner of two beds. We have planted row full of three varieties of beans. All of the S&W volunteers were excited to transplant them. It's so beautiful to watch them grow. Two days of rain covered the water to the baby plants.

 Sugar Snap peas

Sugar Snap peas

We had put bunch of carrot seeds on the ground few weeks and they have started sprouting slowly. 

Even enjoy the garden space and love to play in the dirt while we work.

More and more planting is on the way in the next few weeks. Keep following us.

Saturday at S&W: Sustainable grains & Wheat planting

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, March 25, 2017 at Soil&Water Garden in Mountain View to learn about sustainable grains and wheat planting. 

Monica Spiller from Whole Grain Connection will be giving a talk about sustainable grains and then we'll plant some wheat.  

We look forward to seeing you at the garden!

🌱

 

Bed building is done!

All the structure for the garden is nearly complete. This means things are right on schedule and we'll be able to start planting the garden as early as this coming Saturday.  Thanks to everyone for your hard work and especially to Eva from the Google Community Gardens for her help! 

This past Saturday was bed building day. To prepare for this day, I ordered all the redwood pre-cut from the Home Depot. They were so helpful by pre-cutting the wood and delivering it to Heritage park.  The list of wood I ordered with all the requested cuts was asking a lot of them but they made it easy with very few errors so thank you Home Depot.  Having it delivered was especially a good choice too.

We also ordered soil (the CK mix) from Ciaradella's, which is organic and contains mushroom and organic compost.  This particular one came highly recommended from Eva.

Then we had several people bring drills, tools, and wheelbarrows to build day.  On Saturday, we got to work.  Some people shoveling dirt into wheelbarrows and bringing it over to the garden, some assembling the wood and drilling, and some with the important job of keeping an eye on the kids.  Even the kids got to work filling buckets with dirt and what fun they had playing on a huge mound of dirt.   By the end of two hours, we successfully assembled all the beds with some adjustments to the specs to decrease the potential for wood rot.  Thanks to Tod, Jose and Eva for all their advice and expertise in the process. The rest of us learned a lot.  Check out a few pictures from the workday.
 

Saturday at Soil&Water: Raised bed building day! 

The community garden space is coming together and we'll be ready to plant soon. This weekend, we'll be building the raised beds for the garden space at Soil&Water Garden and could use your help. No experience is necessary, we'll guide you through it.

Our friends at Google will be bringing their expertise in raised bed building bringing lots of volunteers to help. We'll provide all the materials and some snacks too. We hope that you'll join us!

 

Successful 1st workday at the Soil&Water garden

The first volunteer workday was a huge success!  We are in awe at all the excited volunteers that have come out and gotten involved.  We had planned several things for this workday and finished all of it in the first 40 minutes.  So we continued digging..... until we laid out all the in-ground beds in only 2 hours. Check out some photos from this workday.  

 Does this look like the model?

Does this look like the model?

 The kids had a great time tree climbing and exploring!

The kids had a great time tree climbing and exploring!

Final design for the Soil&Water garden

We finished up designing the garden space and can't wait to share the design with you! 

Thank you to Matt M for putting this final model together, and to the many people on the design committee for volunteering your time and effort over the past month to put this together.  

This model will serve as a plan of our garden layout for this first year. This layout kept the planter boxes to a minimum and maximized the in-ground planting areas.  In total, we have approximately 1000 square feet of plantable area, including all beds and boxes.

To help you navigate the models:

  • Center octagonal ,two-tiered planting bed, approx 8' wide
  • A compost area to the right side and kid's garden area to the left side.  (These are still in flux)
  • One main entrance and 1 or 2 exits near the compost area for easy access to the tool shed and picnic table.
  • Main path into the garden is 3' wide
  • In-ground beds are 3' wide. 
  • Mulch walking paths,  2' wide (just wide enough to garden from both sides) No obvious throughways but more indirect access paths with a main cross path to avoid excess traffic through the garden
  • A simple post and wire fence to encompass the garden
  • Compost box - a configuration of three compost bins and worm bin.

This plan provides a pretty informative visualization of the size of the space and what can fit in it.  Keep in mind that it serves as an excellent guideline but will be modified as needed upon implementation in the garden.  

Hope you are as excited about it as the design committee is!

Next steps: 
Jason took a soil sample and submitted it for analysis. 

Matt, Kathleen, Jason, Archana, Heather, Tod, Ronit, and Kavita began laying out the model on the ground based on this plan.  

A plant list has been drafted and will be completed over beers at Bierhaus this coming Sunday.  
You all are invited to come for a beer or provide input on what edibles you want to have growing at the garden.

  • Where: Bierhaus, 383 Castro St, Mountain View, CA
  • When: Sunday, Feb 12, 2017
  • Time: 3-4:30pm

Soil&Water design concept renderings

After our initial design meeting, several of our volunteers created designs for how we will lay out the garden. Architect and design-jedi Matthew Monson submitted the following orthographic views of his design proposal. Enjoy!

 Perspective view, from park entry. 

Perspective view, from park entry. 

 Top view. 

Top view. 

Draft design for Soil&Water garden

We wanted to share an early draft of the design for the Soil&Water garden in Mountain View. It's just a pencil-sketch at this point, but you can start to see the direction that the garden is taking. We'll update this blog with more details as we complete the design. 

Urban Demonstration Garden - Design has begun

The new urban demonstration garden at Heritage Park in Mountain View is just getting started. We'll be meeting every Saturday morning this month to create the garden design plan. The first meet up is this coming Sat, January 7, 2017 at 10 AM. We'd like to invite you to come out and provide your creative ideas for a garden. The space is one long football shaped space. Right now it is just soil and mulch. Here are a few photos of what the garden currently looks like. The three wood beds next to the Immigrant house are a kitchen herb garden and will be planted with herbs. The rest of the space (2200 sq ft) is for edibles and is yet to be created.

 

 Garden space - overall view

Garden space - overall view

 One long football shaped space

One long football shaped space

 Garden space - right side

Garden space - right side

 Garden space - middle

Garden space - middle

 Garden space - left side; 3 garden beds next to Immigrant House are for a kitchen herb garden

Garden space - left side; 3 garden beds next to Immigrant House are for a kitchen herb garden

 Tool shed

Tool shed

Heritage Park Grand Opening

The Heritage Park grand opening was this past Saturday, Dec 10, 2016.  It was pouring down rain but there were still loads of people attending!! (and for gardeners, rain is a good sign)  The park is a beautiful and unique space from the historic Immigrant house to the fruit trees, demonstration garden, and home for the bees. If you haven't had the chance to see it for yourself, stop by and take a stroll.   Thank you City of Mountain View for creating this space for all of us to enjoy.

Heritage Park Grand Opening

Exciting news!!!

Soil&Water was awarded the urban shared garden at the newest city park, Heritage park (771 Rengstorff).  The park is officially scheduled to open December 10, 2016 with a ribbon cutting ceremony from 11am-12noon.  After that, Soil&Water can begin designing, building and gardening there.

http://www.mountainview.gov/events/default.asp?ViewBy=7&CalDate=12/10/2016&EventDateID=22415

The park is amazing.  The city will have it all set up for us, we just go in and start planting. Create beds, irrigation, etc.   There are a couple trees perfect for gathering areas.  The garden itself is one large football shaped space.  They are planting the area near it with sensory stuff like lavender and rosemary.   There is a patio area that will have a storage/tool shed.  There is another patio area surrounding the immigrant house that is right near the garden area so thinking cooking demos on the patio. 

This community garden is intended as a shared space where anyone interested is welcome to get involved.  We’re just getting started and are actively looking for volunteers.  If you have an hour a month or a few hours a week, we’d love to have you be a part of this.  You don’t need to have gardening experience.   Learn more at soilandwatergarden.org.   If interested, come join our group and definitely come to the opening event on Dec 10th @Heritage park.

See you all there!

 

Summer Planting and Harvest

Soil and Water has been Gardening since March at this new site and have been exciting to see the growth of each plant. We had planned in such a way that there is a Common space gardening and 8 individual plots for the gardening.

In the Common space we planted bunch of tomatoes with different varieties. We picked many different types like Roma, Green, Cluster, Vine, Heriloom and Cherry yellow and red tomatoes. It's so exciting to see them grow and produce bunch of tomatoes. 

In the plot we have planted Tomato, Peppers, Zucchini,Eggplants, Cucumbers, Fennel, Onions and Chili.

We have started getting bunch of Zucchini and Cucumbers coming out. It tastes so awesome and fresh. We have also started harvesting tomatoes and they are so juicy and red in color.

These planting and harvest are totally organic without any pesticides and sprays.

These are few pictures from our garden and will look forward to see more post on the harvest.

Summer Gardening @Iwai Garden

Soil&Water is pleased to have our first Backyard Gardeners network site in Mountain View. We have named this site as Iwai Garden. Iwai and his family have shared their backyard with Soil&Water to work on this project. 

This is an exciting opportunity for us to start with Summer Gardening. Here the space will be distributed with Individual plots for interested people who needs a space to plant and enjoy gardening.  This garden will also have shared areas where the area will be done by Volunteers. This is an exciting opportunity for people without Backyard and Patio.

S&W is excited to design and plant for this growing season. We have completed setting up Drip irrigation to the plots and have planted few herbs and Tomatoes to start with. We also have setup Bean Tepee and are planning on planting beans or Cucumbers for the season.

Kids love to come to the Garden and help us plant and also play around with the chickens, Swings and play area around there.

Kids love to play around the water area while irrigating the plants. We have setup Drip irrigation in all the shared and Individual plots.

The nets around the plots are for the chicken. They are Chicken nets and we had to handle them due to baby plants.

There is a huge Walnut tree with swings. Kids love to spend their time in the swing with the chickens around.

If you are interested in volunteering with Soil&Water Please contact us.

Mountain View Spring Parade 2015

In the month of April 2015, Mountain View celebrated 37th Annual Spring parade. Soil and water was a part of the parade along with Kiwanis. We were really excited to be a part of the parade.

This year the theme was  "Around the World in Mountain View"! The parade will began at noon on Castro Street at Villa Street and continued all the way into Pioneer Park for crafts, games, music and fun. It was a family event.

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Bee Tour

In the month of April 2015, Soil&Water visited Google for a Bee tour. Thank you Google beekeepers for inviting us to the campus and sharing your knowledge of beekeeping. We are really very thankful to Google for their support and collaboration with Soil&Water. They have also funded the Soil&Water Gardening project and are supporting us so many ways. Google has been so welcoming to us.

 Getting ready to start the exploration and learn about Bees

Getting ready to start the exploration and learn about Bees

 Frames with Bee wax and honey

Frames with Bee wax and honey

The Bee tour was arranged for kids to show them whole process of honey making. The tour with Google @Google campus was scheduled on April 2nd 2015 @ 1530hrs. It was a one hour tour and was very informative for all of us.  The kids got to learn about the process of making honey and explore the surroundings.

Kids love honey and also very curious to know 'how bees make honey?' and 'What equipment is used to go near the Hive?' ''What is the use of wearing a suite?' and at last they all got to taste the fresh, pure and natural honey. We could even see different colors of Honey formed from various types of flowers.

 Bee suit

Bee suit

 Bee Smoker

Bee Smoker

Honey Bees collect pollen and nectar from many types of flowers and stores this in their stomach to carry to the Bee hive. They use their long tongue to take the nectar from various flowers. After storing in stomach for a while, It drops (essentially spits) the honey into the Bee-wax comb which is usually hexagonal shaped cells and made of wax formed by bees. They repeat this process until the Bee-wax comb is full. Once its full and honey is collected it is ready for harvesting.  This process is so amazingly perfect (take another look at the photo of the hive).

Beekeepers wear a protective suit to go near the hive.  The kids got to see and have explained to them how to wear this suit.  Google keeps four hives.

 Bee suit and Gloves

Bee suit and Gloves

The second thing they need is a 'Smoker'. Bee keepers use a smoker to visit the Bee hive in order to prevent them from stinging. A smoker is a tool to blow smoke into the beehive before inspecting. It consists of a fire pot and nozzle. During the tour, the bee keeper asked the kids to fill the fire pot with some dried leaves and the bee keeper closed the lid and lit the fire and smoke came out through the nozzle. This is used because smoke alerts the bees to move further down in the hive (they sense danger and so move inward to protect themselves) so that a beekeeper can safely access the hive without disturbing the bees.  

 Bee smoker filled with dried leaves

Bee smoker filled with dried leaves

Finally, we were lucky enough to have the bees share some of their yummy honey with us.  The kids got to break the delicate honey-filled comb to sample wonderful honey.  We could see different layers and different colors of honey formation.  These variations in color are due to the type of nectar the bees gather. All the kids fell in love with it and the whole tour was spectacular. Once finished, the beekeepers replace the frame into the hive and the bees will simply continue to refill the honey and rebuild the comb. Amazing!  

 Frame with Hexagonal bee wax filled with honey

Frame with Hexagonal bee wax filled with honey

 Different colors of honey from various flowers

Different colors of honey from various flowers

 Kids checking out the hive and tasting delicious Honey

Kids checking out the hive and tasting delicious Honey