Sunday, March 25, 2012
J and I decided to take advantage of a livingsocial offer, and attend the Pittsburgh Farm to Table Conference at half price this past weekend. It may not look like much from the above photo, but it was a great opportunity to stuff our faces with samples of locally-produced, naturally-grown food and wine. I'd say it was worth it just to watch J's disgust at the raw milk booths.
We ended up walking away with a considerable haul of wine, honey, pretzel snacks, whole grain mustard, and lots of tasty jams (carrot cake jam, anyone?). We also learned about our local CSAs and that the nearest place to acquire Turner Dairy products is the local RiteAid pharmacy. Which is just weird.
By attending a talk from local Master Gardener, John Boynton, we learned about "New Gardens", based on his personal research, an approach to gardening that does not require years and years of working compost into clay. The idea was essentially to combine a generous sizing interpretation of Square Foot Gardenining with having 6-12 inches deep of this mixture:
- 1/3 compost
- 1/3 coarse vermiculite
- 1/3 Organic Mechanic's Potting Mixture (a more sustainable peat moss substitute)
- a handful of dried blood or bloodmeal (nitrogen source)
- a handful of Green Sand (potassium source)
- a handful of rock phosphate (phosphorous source)
- a handful of rich earth or azomite
- a half handful of dolomite line (for the pH)
And there's the usual recommendation of rotating your brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli), Italian bed (nightshades, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers), and salads (lettuce, parsley). Covering with Agribon helps keep the cold/bugs/etc. out, allowing the speaker to have 11 months of lettuce-growing in Pittsburgh.
This technique is also supposed to work well for container gardening, which might be exceptionally handy, considering I'm stuck in apartment-building dwellings for the foreseeable future.