Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fertilizers and Strawberry Fields

Hi fellow gardeners and other gracious followers of this blog!

My name is Sara, and I’m the newest intern at the Cultivating Community. In my first week here, we’ve been happy, busy little bees. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Last Wednesday, we used organic fertilizer to give the Ginsberg Garden a boost. We used a combination of kelp meal and bat guano to encourage our veggies to grow, grow, grow! Kelp meal is brown seaweed harvested from cold sea waters. It acts as a mild fertilizer, improving the overall health of plants and helping them to become heartier and less affected by extreme temperatures. Bat guano, on the other hand, is far from mild. It is extraordinarily high in phosphorus, making it a very effective aid in root and flower development. Its nutrients also improve the texture of soil, kill fungus, and help to activate compost piles. It can be used to clean up toxic spills (useful?!), and is so valuable that the War of the Pacific (1879-1893) was actually fought over the taxation of bat guano. Not too many species can say that their poop started a war! Although bat guano is organic, there are components in the fertilizer that make it dangerous to inhale, hence the fashionable face masks and goggles we wore as we fertilized. On Friday, at our first lunchtime workday in the Ginsberg Garden, many of the plants showed remarkable growth!

Tonight we’re taking a field trip to Rowe’s Produce in Ypsilanti to pick fresh strawberries! Most of the yummy little gems will be used for our jam making workshop on Friday afternoon. An update on those and many other exciting adventures is soon to come!

Happy gardening!


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