Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Written by a friend of Project Grow, the following piece tells the story of some of the gardens and gardeners to be found at our Clague site. Transplants themselves, the gardeners have found a taste and feeling of their former homes and histories in their new country.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Project Grow's Heirloom Tomato Tasting Extravaganza
Saturday, August 22nd, 8am to 1pm
Ann Arbor Farmer's Market
Join us at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market to share the joy's of organic heirloom tomatoes. Volunteers will help tasters find the tomato of their dreams, share their enthusiasm for these tasty jewels, and probably find a new favorite to grow for next year.
Saturday, September 12, 5pm - 10pm
Ann Arbor Farmer's Market
The Second Annual HomeGrown Festival promises to be even more fun than the last, and volunteers are needed to help work the Project Grow table, help with fun food-focused activities for kids, and assist in a second tomato tasting. Come on down and be part of some good old-fashioned local action!
Interested? Drop Leigh Ann a line or give her a call at 734-996-3169, and she'll get you squared away.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
A favorite edible flower for summer salads is without a doubt calendula. Those blazing petals sprinkled on the verdant green of lettuce, chard, and kale is one of the prettiest sights going this time of year. Yet, like basil, there can be a wee bit too much as the season kicks into high gear. Caryn Simon, local doula, will be teaching a class on how to make a handy salve out of that excess.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We are writing to request your support on an urgent issue. As you may have heard, the City of Ann Arbor is proposing to make drastic cuts to its 2010 and 2011 budgets. Many local programs, including Project Grow, are slated to lose funding. While we receive a modest amount of money from our local government - $7000 annually - this financial contribution comprises 15% of our annual budget. The loss of this support will have a major impact on our ability to deliver the accessible and inclusive organic gardening activities that Project Grow is known to offer.
You can help make a difference! If you believe in building community, living sustainably, and growing organic vegetables here in Ann Arbor, then we urge you to contact your city councilperson and the mayor, and ask them to continue supporting Project Grow. Below, please follow the link to locate your councilperson's and the mayor's contact information. Please be sure to share with them a personal story and request that they continue to support Project Grow. Also, please feel free to share this information with your family and friends.
The Project Grow Board of Directors has identified the following important issues to address with City Council, so feel free to use them in your communication:
::locally and throughout the country more people are gardening in this poor economy
::the demand for Project Grow garden plots is so high that we have had to turn away over
::Project Grow's garden activities provide opportunities for all, regardless of income or
::Project Grow is reaching out and fostering new relationships with other area nonprofits,
We thank you in advance for your continued support. Together, we can make an impact on our community!
The Project Grow Board
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Just a quick reminder that Arbor Brewing is brewing up a special something for Earth Day this Wednesday, April 22nd. Their super scrumptious Spruce Ale will be on tap for the first time ever, and for each pint purchased they'll donate $1.00 to Project Grow.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Natural materials are the best bet, although they might be a little more expensive and perhaps a little harder to find. Reusing has obvious benefits as well, but is not without some cons. Be sure you know which materials are safe and what the reused materials are made from. Pressure treated lumber for vegetables may be a bit controversial.
A good basic plan for building the raised bed can also make all the difference, too. This video offers some interesting ideas and techniques, plus his dogs are pretty entertaining. Garden Girl offers a good video on building a raised bed and a ton of information on urban sustainable living. Inspiring stuff!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Saturday, April 18th
1pm - 4pm
Little House Farm
$40 for the class; $60 to take a log home
Limited to the first 8 people
Call Matt at 734-255-2783 or email at mdemmon(at)gmail.com to register
(Herbal tea and a tasty, healthy snack included!)
PG: How long have you been growing your own mushrooms?
MD: Six years.
MD: I worked for a local landscaping company owned by Mike Levine and Erica Kempter that also has a shiitake growing operating in Mike's backyard. I helped them inoculate logs for two years, and then I read a bunch of books and started off on my own.
PG: Why did you get started?
MD: Once I had eaten homegrown shiitakes, I was hooked. I also think fungi are really fascinating, understudied and underutilized by humans. I'd like to know more about them, and I think they can help us alot - with healthy food, medicine, creating great soil, and helping other plants we grow through mycorrhizal associations.
PG: Do you have a favorite mushroom to grow?
MD: Well, I thought it was shiitakes, which is probably still my favorite, but I soon realized that it is growing them in your own backyard and on logs that makes mushrooms so good. Oyster mushrooms that are grown on logs are firmer, more flavorful, and have less water content than what you'd buy in the store. Mass-cultivated mushrooms are generally grown on sawdust or straw or some sort of bullk substrate, which is easier to handle in large operations and faster, but with less tasty results.
PG: How long have you been teaching other people (formally and informally) about growing mushrooms?
MD: I taught one class last spring, and I've been explaining it to my friends for several years. I have 3 classes and a free demonstration lined up this year. There's alot of interest in it, and not many people who know much about it and are willing to teach a class!
PG: What do you like about growing your own mushrooms?
MD: Just like gardening, you get delicious healthy food which is often less expensive than what you can buy. I also love using under-utilized wood species which might get chipped or just left because they're not good for firewood or lumber. I'm also just fascinated by fungi in general, and really excited about growing them in situations like a vegetable garden, where you might be able to get a crop of mushrooms in the same space without decreasing your vegetable harvest and possibly even increasing it.
PG: What are some techniques and methods you will be discussing during the class?
MD: The main technique is growing mushrooms on logs. There are several ways you can inoculate the logs, but the one I concentrate on is drilling holes in the logs and inserting dowel spawn, which are are impregnated with mushroom mycelium. We'll also be creating a bed using sawdust spawn mixed with wood chips and a little earth for another species of mushroom that prefers to grow in the ground. I'll also talk about totem inoculation, and growing mushrooms on strawbales and compost or manure.
PG: Do different mushrooms require different techniques and methods? Can you give me a couple examples?
MD: Yes! In a natural setting or an outdoor growing method, shiitakes only grow on logs, and it is best to use dowel spawn. Oyster mushrooms are very cosmopolitan and can grow on logs, wood chips, straw, and even coffee grounds inoculated with a variety of methods. Wine Caps prefer to grow in a shady moist bed on the ground and need fresh wood chips mixed into the soil. Inky caps grow best in compost or manure beds on the ground.
PG: How long does it take before you have mushrooms you can eat?
MD: The shortest time I've gotten mushrooms was 4 months for oysters and wine caps started in the spring. Shiitakes usually take 12-18 months. A log can last anywhere from 3-10 years, depending on the type of wood and species of mushroom. A bed of wine caps can last probably forever, as long as you feed it fresh wood chips every year. So it is a long-term investment, but you can results pretty quickly.
PG: Do you have to protect mushrooms from any kind of predator. Rabbits eat lettuce, but does anyone come along to forage your mushrooms?
MD: I haven't had too many problems. Squirrels seem to like some mushrooms, but if you keep an eye on them and harvest at the right point, it's fine. They seem to prefer mature or over-mature mushrooms. Insects are the main problem, just like if you don't harvest your tomatoes at the proper time, you'll find a big soggy insect laden monster!
PG: Is it a special kind of log for inserting the dowels? What's a dowel, by the way?
MD: Not a special log, but some mushrooms will only grow on certain types of trees. The only requirements are that the log is more than 3 inches in diameter, is freshly cut from a living tree, and is a manageable size for you. Holes are drilled into the log in a pattern, and the dowels (little wooden pegs) are pounded in.
PG: Can you grow mushrooms only during a certain time of year? Is Spring best or are there fall mushrooms to be started, too?
MD: Outdoors, in a northern climate like ours, spring and fall are the best time to start most mushrooms, although you can start some in the summer. It's too cold in winter for most of them to grow at all. Indoors, you can start and fruit mushrooms year round. And outdoors, most mushrooms fruit in the fall in our climate, but there are species that fruit from spring to late fall, as long as the weather is right. Humidity and temperature are the key!
PG: What sort of atmosphere do mushrooms require? Should you have a shady spot in your backyard or is a musty basement good?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
If you decide you eventually want to really get outside to try your hand at 3D gardening, consider coming along to our upcoming plant sales:
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Heirlooms: A Journey in Taste
by KT Tomey
According to Royer Held, the ideal tomato texture should be creamy to slightly succulent. A creamy tomato, in his opinion, is one that you don’t have to bite into. You can just press it against the top of your mouth and it squishes. Succulent, on the other hand, is more firm than creamy, with more substance. The worst possible texture scenario is crunchy, a dire situation Held refers to as “a grocery store tomato in winter.” Software developer by day, Held has become something of an heirloom plant authority in
Take two tomato varieties: Olga’s Yellow Round Chicken, a Russian heirloom variety, vs. the Celebrity Supreme hybrid tomato. Whereas a bucket of the “Chickens” will each have a slightly unique shape, size, texture and color, the “Celebrities” are bred to look like a
One thing the “grocery store in winter” hybrids are not known for: taste. Mark Wilson of Wilson’s Farm has been specializing in heirlooms since 2001, and his preference for these varieties can be summed up in two words: “better flavor.” Wilson, who got into farming about ten years ago
Erica Kempter, co-owner of Nature and Nurture LLC and organic gardening teacher, worries that the disappearance of heritage foods will create a loss of genetic and cultural diversity. According to Kempter, who is particularly fond of a purple carrot named the “Dragon,” “we’re losing genetic diversity because farmers are not growing open pollinated varieties.” This concern, shared by farmers, gardeners, environmentalists, foodies, and chefs across the country and, in fact world, was the inspiration for The Ark of Taste. Launched by Slow Food just over ten years ago, it aims to preserve and celebrate traditional foods at risk of being forever forgotten—and never tasted. The
Preserving these varieties, according to Kempter, is also important in keeping seeds and crops in the hands of the people, not corporations (we are facing a conglomeration of seed companies since Monsanto has been buying up seed companies of late).
Thinking you might give heirlooms a try this season? A good place to start is the Seed Savers Exchange catalog, “in person” seed savers exchanges, or by contacting Project Grow for information about seed and seedling sales. Look for seeds that originate from the