Urban Farm Tour, June 7

I’m humbled and honored to be part of the Institute of Urban Homesteading‘s annual Urban Farm Tour this year. Every year, Ruby connects urban farms (and their farmers) with people who are interested in learning more about urban farming in the East Bay. Here’s the description of the event:

Come see what established home-scale urban farmers are up to and what is possible on a small. medium, large, or extra large urban lot.

You will see fruit & vegetable gardens, composting systems, rabbits, goats, bees, greywater and more, plus you will get to sample some of what these urban farmers are producing..

How it Works
Join our mailing list at iuhoakland.com and we’ll send you details the week before the event. Once you have the locations, plan your itinerary and bike, drive or walk yourself there. Visit as many of the sites as you have time or interest for.

Guided tours with tasting and Q & A are lead by the farmers once per hour on the hour . Each tour lasts about 45 minutes.

10am-4pm, last tour at 3pm

It’s going to be a blast. You can either buy advanced tickets or pay as you go at each site (it’s $5/site).

Advanced Tickets can be bought here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/628998

I think I’ll be doing a homemade sauerkraut demo, and will have carrots and honey to taste. Tell yer friends–it’s going to be really fun.

Work Day is On

Howdy folks, work day is on for this Saturday, 10-1pm. If you’re coming, bring some gloves, water and a sun hat–it gets scorching out there. We’ll do a tour around 10:15, then I’ll talk a little about chicken coop clean up, planting, and weeding, which we will be doing! I’m hoping to make some snacks from my friend Bryant Terry’s new, amazing book, Afro-Vegan: Farm Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed. Holy yum. I’m on this caffeine-, dairy-, and wheat-free diet and it’s killing me. But Bryant’s book makes it bearable.

Tonight: Me and the Kraz

Sorry for for the short notice, but I’ll be at Dominican University tonight at 7pm in conversation with Michael Krasny. We’re going to be talking about my first book, Farm City, which was selected as this year’s One Book, One Marin read. The event is in the Angelico Concert Hall. Good times! Take a hike, then come on over to Dominican.

Work Days Are Here Again

It’s spring, and I know people want to get their hands dirty. I know my hands are dirty. So, how about these days for volunteer days:
March 29 (Yes, this Saturday), 10am-2pm
April 19, 10am-2pm
May 10, 10am-2pm
Right at 10, I’ll do a little tour, then we’ll get down to work. This Saturday will be a tomato planting day, and I’ll have starts to give away to volunteers. April 19 will be a bed prepping day, and I’ll do a worm composting demonstration. I might have some yummy snacks, too.

Garden is at 2727 Martin Luther King Jr Way, at 28th Street. Entrance is on 28th Street. Bring gloves, water, sun hats.

Also, there’s only one person signed up for the chicken class. It’s on April 26, and will be lots of fun. If you want to sign up, email me at novellacarpenter at gmail.

First Farm Stand of 2014, March 22

Ok people, it’s GhostTown Farm Stand time again.
gtfarmstand
That means I’ll be setting up my little table, putting out my chalkboard sign, and selling some vegetables. This month there will be: radishes, cilantro, and head lettuces, fava beans, arugula, herb bunches, tomato starts, succulents, books, and a few t-shirts for sale. Sorry no honey yet. Stop on by!!
Where: 2727 Martin Luther King at MLK and 28th Street (look for the abandoned building)
When: Saturday, March 22, 3pm-6pm
Thank you Jillian Piccirilli for the photo of the chalkboard sign….

Mushroom Inoculation

I think this isn’t going to work. But that’s never stopped me before.
innoculationtools
I was ordering rootstock and strawberries from Raintree Nursery, saw these lion’s mane mushroom dowels, and just couldn’t resist. If you’ve never had lion’s mane ‘shrooms, imagine a sea sponge-shaped object that tastes like meaty forest, and there ya go. I didn’t know they were “domesticated” so I splurged and spent $18 on 50 dowels inoculated with the mushroom. When the rootstock and strawberries and mushrooms arrived, I promptly potted up the trees and planted the strawberries. The mushrooms sat around for awhile. I found the instructions daunting. I had to find some big pine logs or stumps and a drill before the whole process could happen. Luckily Billy had a drill at his shop, and brought it home. A few days later, I encountered some big logs at my favorite log dump off area on Hearst in Berkeley (that frontage road west of the fancy 4th street shopping area).
drillinglog
After I drilled what seemed like 50 holes, I tapped the little dowels in…tap
with a hammer, then sealed them with wax. I melted some beeswax I had lying around the house, and just daubed that onto the filled holes. I guess you have to do that because other spores can get in and take over the log instead of the lion’s mane spawn. Of course I dropped the hot pan of wax and ruined my kitchen floor first. innoculated
Here they are, all inoculated. Now I just wait. The instructions said it’ll probably be a year before anything happens. In the meantime, I think I’m going to put these guys under my outdoor produce washing sink so they keep good and wet this summer. Fingers crossed, but not holding my breath.