Soil&Water Tomato planting workday

S&W had planned for a Tomato planting workday last week. We purchased different variety of Tomatoes like Cluster, many varieties of Heriloom, cherry tomatoes, Sun Gold and many more. We had many volunteers come to the garden to plant. 

Row of Tomato plants

Row of Tomato plants

Our plan is to try out the 'Florida Tomato Weaving' technique. It is supposed to be a effective way of trellising tomatoes in a row. It is fast, easy and simple to setup, maintain and use the space efficiently during the growing season.

With the Florida Weave, the idea is to “sandwich” your plants between lengths of twine. The twine gently holds up the plants without the need for additional stakes and clips.
 

Volunteers planting on the ground

Volunteers planting on the ground

For this year, we are planning on trying this method and see how successful it is instead of tomato cages. We will keep you updated on the progress with bunch of pictures in few weeks.

Keep following us and we will keep posting more pictures. 

The philosophy behind small-scale garden rows

If you've visited the Soil&Water garden, you might be wondering why we created a layout with mixed edibles in small rows.

"What's the philosophy behind small-scale garden rows, anyway?"

I thought it would be a nice way for people visiting the garden to consider ideas for planting edibles mixed together in a small space. If you have limited planting space at home – and who doesn't?! – how would you plant it? There are a ton of cool ideas out there for small garden plots, container gardening, even vertical gardens. (Check out this article on 16 cool raised bed designs from Sunset.com.) 

Our small-scale garden layout is based on an article from Sunset Gardens that plants mixed edibles in a 16' x 16' plot which came down to two main beds 11' x 3' approximately with beans and sunflowers along a back fence.

In the Soil&Water garden, our garden rows are 3' wide already so where two rows come to an apex was perfect to mimic the same idea. Thus I used their model for planting our small scale garden 'plot' with mixed edibles. 

Another reason this is a nice method is because you can consider companion plants, natural pest deterrents, even pollinator attractants in the plantings. I modified the design slightly based on veggies that made it on our planting list.  

The small scale garden was planted pretty early in the season (for stuff like tomatoes, squash, and eggplant) so another thing this will provide is a comparison of how these crops do with an early planting vs. regular suggested time.  

small-scale garden planting of mixed edibles

small-scale garden planting of mixed edibles

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.

IMG_5217.jpg

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.