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This spring has been an exciting season at the Urban Training Farm in East Waco. We started this winter-spring season with a great group of 50 hard workers composed of community members and Baylor students – who helped prep the garden for the spring growing season on the 2013 MLK Day of Service. Winter weeds had overtaken a number of the beds – but within 3 hours, everyone had cleaned up the entire garden and built a trellis for our sugar snap peas and nasturtium (edible spicy flowers!) out of branches found around the periphery of the Training Farm. We also capitalized on the amount of extra hands that day and put some of the strapping young lads and ladies to task of hand building a new 80-foot bed! All in all, the day was a success!

Throughout these early spring months, we’ve continued to have a number of great one time work groups out in the garden for large one time projects – especially over spring break, with groups touring the country in search of service projects enjoying a morning of weeding and seeding at the Training Farm.

However, we want to highlight two special groups that we’ve been working with throughout the past couple of months: the Baylor’s Reformed University Fellowship and the Junior League Provisional Class.
We continue to have community work days every Friday afternoon – but have put the early morning workdays on hold until the weather consistently warms. We’ve been fortunate to have a dedicated group of Baylor students from the Reformed University Fellowship every Friday – since last fall – come out to the garden for weeding the peas, planting carrots and cover crops, fertilizing with fish emulsion, and harvesting the bounty of broccoli for Market the next day. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to get half as much work done in the garden each week!

Last fall, the Urban Training Farm was selected by the Junior League for the winter/spring project for their provisional class – specifically focusing on developing an expansive four-part herb garden at the Training Farm. They first decided to incorporate recycled elements into the garden – including repurposed tires for the tea garden, reclaimed brick pavers for the healing herb garden, repurposed pallets for the culinary herb garden, and reclaimed cinder blocks for the edible flowers garden. For irrigation, they also installed a two-barrel rainwater catchment system, collecting rainwater off of the roof of the HOT Produce building – which will supplement our irrigation needs. Right now the Herb garden is in full production – including blooming calendula, fragrant lavender and rosemary, tasty chives and cilantro – as well as five freshly planted fruit trees: a plum, a pear, and three peach trees. Since this February, the women of the Junior League have diligently tilled, mowed, planted, and watered the newly installed herb garden.

Lastly, we are so excited to have received several great applications for the 2013 Intern Program – and will be revealing the final five candidates shortly! They will begin their orientation process of the business curriculum and growing season at the Training Farm and the Waco Downtown Farmers Market starting on April 4th.

Calling backyard gardeners! If you have more zucchini, chard or other veggies than you can eat, why not sell them at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market? Starting August 25, Edible Lawns will have a booth and you can sell your veggies there for $5 per week. We can accommodate a maximum of 5 sellers per week and only approved Edible Lawns staff will be able to work at the booth. Sellers should drop off their produce by 9am and be back by 1pm to collect their sales at the end of the market day. If you would like to give your sales to Edible Lawns, you can get a discount on our products and services. Contact Lucas Land at (254) 307-0274 or lucas@ediblelawns.net to sign up.

NCAT is happy to announce that they are hiring a Sustainable Agriculture
Specialist to work in their office in San Antonio. They are looking
for someone who can provide superior technical assistance to farms and
ranches in Texas and surrounding states.

Please pass along the attached job description to anyone you know who
may be interested. Applications will be accepted until June 15, or
until a suitable candidate is found.

For more information please visit the main NCAT website (www.ncat.org)
and also the website of our ATTRA project (www.attra.ncat.org), the
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Thanks and best regards,

Mike Morris, Ph.D.
Southwest Regional Office Director
National Center for Appropriate Technology
118 Broadway, Suite 524
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 265-3905
mikem@ncat.org

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Since we started garden club at Brook Ave. Elementary School last fall, the garden has grown and is plentiful with herbs, flowers, and solanaceous crops – eager to burst forth with fruit in the next month or two!  We finally pulled up the peas last Wednesday (which the kids gobble up like candy!) – and ate the last of the radish flowers, making more room for our carrots to finish out the spring.  But our main focus this week was planting plenty of scent-fully delicious herbs – allowing the kids to explore with all their senses – conjuring up their favorite Italian dishes as they sniffed the oregano or Mama’s salsa with the cilantro.  In total, we planted rosemary, three different varieties of sage, lemon balm, lemon thyme, Genovese basil, orange mint, peppermint, Greek oregano, hot & spicy oregano, and some wildly pink geraniums.  Our peach tree is fulling flourishing in green leafy splendor with fuzzy little fruits hidden amongst the foliage.

Next week, we’ll make another trip to the Habitat Restore to purchase the next allotment of cinder blocks to finish rebuilding some of the garden beds – as well as creating a few smaller beds for experimentation by the teachers throughout the school year.  We’ve also been grateful to receive a shipment of kids’ gardening tools from the National Gardening Association as part of the Muhammed Ali Peace Garden Grant – which will open with the kids next Wednesday at Garden Club!  Brook Ave. Elementary School Garden is blessedly blooming forth this Spring!

 

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