March EcoCulture Update: New Gardeners, Spring Planting and our Seed Library

A photo post by Nicole Wines
(click photos to view larger version)

HAPPY SPRING

After a long winter, we are glad that it is starting to feel like spring at the very end of March.  We are ready to come out of hibernation, to start planting, growing and moving again.  We aren’t the only ones, as we have seen lot of wildlife around the Raíces gardens, like this wild turkey seen in a neighboring garden in New Brunswick.

Wild Turkeys

RAÍCES APICULTURE INITIATIVE

Francisco has been hard at work constructing the first Raíces Apiculture Initiative beehives.  He will be posting photos of his work soon with information on how to get a Raíces beehive and more information on beekeeping.

Sawdust Everywhere - Working on the Raíces Apiculture Initiative Beehives

Sawdust Everywhere – Working on the Raíces Apiculture Initiative Beehives

 

RAÍCES MICRO FARM TEAM GROWS

This month, we met with the new Raíces gardeners Marisol and Enrique.  They just returned from living in Puerto Rico for the past few years, and we are happy to have them gardening with us now that they are back in Central NJ.  The day we gave them a tour of the Livingston Gardens, they were ready to get working so we planted our first outdoor seeds in our raised bed cold frame.

Raíces welcomes Marisol and Enrique to our garden. They recently moved back to the area from Puerto Rico and will be working with us in our gardens and the Raíces seed library.

Raíces welcomes Marisol and Enrique to our garden. They recently moved back to the area from Puerto Rico and will be working with us in our gardens and the Raíces seed library.

Planting cool weather crops - March 2014

Planting cool weather crops – March 2014. Collards, lettuce and spinach.

Our first planting day - March 2014

Our first planting day – March 2014

Enrique planting lettuce in our raised bed.

Enrique planting lettuce in our raised bed.

Planting our first seeds - March 2014

Planting our first seeds – March 2014

Finished planting in our cold frame, waiting for our first outdoor seedlings to sprout.

Finished planting, waiting for our first outdoor seedlings to sprout.

 

STARTING SEEDS

We planted our first set of indoor seeds this month and we will do another round in April when the rest of our seeds come in.  We received a generous donation of seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library and ordered from High Mowing Organic and Pinetree Garden Seeds.  All of these seed companies promote the safe seed pledge and are committed to providing GMO-free seed.  We are happy to have the support of and to give support to these small seed companies.

Planting our first seeds - March 2014

Planting our first seeds – March 2014. We were very excited to begin planting our first seeds after a long, cold, snowy winter. Seeds pictured here are black cherry tomato seeds saved for the Raíces Seed Library last season by Francisco in his backyard garden.

Planting black cherry tomato seeds from the Raíces seed library

Planting black cherry tomato seeds from the Raíces seed library

Francisco planting peppers, tomatoes, brassicas and lettuce on our first seed planting day of the 2014 growing season.

Francisco planting peppers, tomatoes, brassicas and lettuce on our first seed planting day of the 2014 growing season.

We're all going to eat this summer!

We’re all going to eat this summer!

Our first set of seedlings planted in the 2014 growing season, on our homemade seed rack made from recycled wood.

Our first set of seedlings planted in the 2014 growing season, on our homemade seed rack made from recycled wood.

Watering our seedling flats on our first planting day of 2014

Watering our seedling flats on our first planting day of 2014

It was only a couple of days before our first seedlings began to emerge.  Our cool weather crops, like broccoli, kale, lettuce, collards and spinach sprouted first, and our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and flowers have just begun to open up to the sunlight streaming in the windows of the Raíces growing room.

Spinach Seedlings Emerging - March 2014

Spinach Seedlings emerging and reaching for the sun – March 2014

Broccoli seed sprouting - March 2014

Broccoli seed sprouting – March 2014

Seedlings emerging - March 2014

Seedlings emerging – March 2014

Ragged Jack Kale seed sprouts

Ragged Jack Kale seed sprouts

First Seedlings of 2014 - Red and Green Romain Lettuce

First Seedlings of 2014 – Red and Green Romain Lettuce

 

RAÍCES SEED LIBRARY IS GROWING!

Our seedlings aren’t the only things growing.  We are getting more and more registrations for Raíces seed library members.  On March 29, we attended the New Brunswick Seed Swap where several seed library members and volunteers joined us to make mini seed envelopes for the Raíces Seed Library and to share with attendees of the seed swap.  If you want to register for the seed library and save seeds with Raíces, sign up here.  Saving seeds will help us adapt cultural strains to our own growing region and to share clean, safe, GMO-free seeds with members of our community.

Special thanks to FoodCorps service member Lauren Nixon who spent the morning making seed envelopes for the Raíces EcoCulture Seed Library and to share with participants at the New Brunswick Seed Swap.

Special thanks to FoodCorps service member Lauren Nixon who spent the morning making seed envelopes for the Raíces EcoCulture Seed Library and to share with participants at the New Brunswick Seed Swap.

Making DIY seed envelopes at the New Brunswick Seed Swap March 24, 2014

Making DIY seed envelopes at the New Brunswick Seed Swap March 24, 2014

Bruno is a member of the Raíces Seed Library and a founder of the PrairieFyre Time Exchange. He came to the seed swap to make envelopes for his Raíces seed library 2014 seed order and to pick up additional seeds from the seed swap to grow and save for next year's seed swap.

Bruno is a member of the Raíces Seed Library and a founder of the PrairieFyre Time Exchange. He came to the seed swap to make envelopes for his Raíces seed library 2014 seed order and to pick up additional seeds from the seed swap to grow and save for next year’s seed swap.

 

Raíces EcoCulture is also selling mini seed packets and seedlings as a fundraiser for our eco-culture programs and projects.  If you want to receive a seed and seedling list with info on how to order from us, please email us at raices@raicesculturalcenter.org.  Thanks for your support and keep checking back for more updates.

 


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