Archive for the ‘Experts’ Category

How to cook and save $

Keeping this short. Using an ipad to record and edit this cooking session. Our students did the whole thing, not our best quality but we literally just opened the box, downloaded imovie and started. Can’t wait to see how good these will get when we’ve had a chance to learn more. We have big ideas with this cooking “show” we did. More to come later.

Tomatoes, peppers, kale transplanted

Went and transplanted some veggies today. We bought our kale, peppers (various varieties), tomatoes and strawberries from WELK’s store (which some call a fancy dollar store…but we love the place) and they look awesome inside the garden. We were informed today by an expert gardener from the community that we need to fix our lettuce, they’re too close together. We’re going to transplant probably by the end of the week, once they are a decent size and will allow us to move them easily.

Greenhouse #2…prototype

Our student that built the balsa wood greenhouse is building a larger prototype (no screws…yet) of how were are going to build our pop bottle greenhouse. GFW always encourages the “learn from mistakes process”, and this is a perfect example. When we go to build and plan our larger pop bottle greenhouse, we’ll be 100% prepared and have some expertise.

Go to the experts

There seems to be a very common theme popping up here. We do something, based on what we’ve read, thought or heard and it’s only partially correct or we need to modify what we’ve done. I”m going to list(GFW likes lists because they are to the point) what we can do a bit wiser next time.

  1. Go to a garden specialty store when you want to check anything. The staff are walking wikipedias!! We took a visit to Gardenworks and learned tons.
  2. Liquid seaweed fertilizer is good, concentrated and not plant specific. We were wise in buying some and believing all we read.
  3. cloches can be made from bamboo poles (triangle and tied at the top with plastic over top, clothes pegs holding it on). We may try building a cloche like this.
  4. Lettuce grows super quick and we’re planting some tomorrow so we can get some results asap.

Cloche built. Lessons…


In order to help our veggies grow in this colder weather we built a cloche today. Two flexible PVC pipe$8/each, plastic (9×12 2mil) $5.50, copper clamps(8-$3), screws 1/4″(box of 50) $3.50. We went down to Solefood garden to check things out and get some tips/ideas and it’s a good thing we did because a lot of our hunches were confirmed.

  1. build shorter boxes (4 2×4’s high instead of 6 high) as this will save money. Boxes don’t need to be that tall.
  2. we don’t need to put the drainage rock in the bottom, just the filter fabric.
  3. instead of 4×4’s for corner posts we can use 2×6’s, much cheaper.
  4. When adding a cloche keep them low (like the photos above) because they get caught in the wind easier, plus they get warm quicker
  5. Our plan with the rain barrel was to put it high up and then we could attach a timer to make watering easier. We didn’t think it would work due to PSI and when talking to some staff members, this is exactly what they did. However, they aren’t sure if it works yet so we’ll need to recheck that later.
  6. We didn’t shop around for the materials for the cloche, after it was built, we found cheaper ways to construct it (will write about that once we have prices)

SOLEFOOD and B.O.B. have been super supportive in helping us get our garden up and running. Many of their modifications are similar to ours, mostly because we are using their original plans, and I’m glad that GFW is keeping track of our mistakes. As we grow and build more boxes we can become more streamlined and exact with costs and procedures.

Sad day :(…yet Great!

We just found out that GFW did not get the Evergreen grant. We were encouraged to apply for another grant that comes available on April 9, which “may be more related” to our project. As always, GFW will take this “cold spell” and be creative and “grow” from it…we need to throw this joke in every now and then. Many good conversations with people today that have GFW thinking creatively.

Regardless of the stumbling blocks, we found this great video that all should see.

It’s a GROW-OFF!!!!!

After planting some of the vegetables today, a student started asking if we have plastic cups, and then “can I have a few seeds” and then he said, “doing all this stuff is making me remember growing when I was younger. So I’m gonna grow bigger and more vegetables than the school garden”. So we gave him some seeds, a couple ideas and the challenge is ON!!!!!

This is EXACTLY what it’s all about! I can honestly say that I think we will be beat by our student because he will put a lot of TLC into it.

Worth Watching

After watching this, I guess we are somewhat doing this in a similar fashion, of course on a much smaller scale. This video does add some momentum to GFW and students seem to be getting excited to plant which especially adds some momentum. We are planting Monday and Tuesday.

Two boxes better than 1

Our second box was built super quick -1hr (not including short supply run). As you can see two boxes look better than one. GFW is ordering it’s composted dirt, FOR FREE, thanks to the city of Vancouver. Next week we are going to do a tour of the Environmental Youth Alliance greenhouse, and see how they are doing things and look at some seedlings that we may have donated to us by them.

Building relationships and ideas

On top of building relationships with B.O.B. and Solefoods, we have tried to extend our network in order to help ensure the at Genesis Farmworks(GFW) will be successful. Today, GFW met with Brent, who is part of CURA(S.O.Y.L.–UBC), Vancouver Coastal Health and VSB. We discussed how we think GFW can be supported by the above groups, help us decide on a vision and discuss possible curriculum ideas as well as job opportunities for our students. There will be a follow up meeting on the 19th when others from the above groups can all be present.

Some ideas thrown around are once we get established and start growing, GFW could support elementary schools with maintaining gardens over the summer. Looking further ahead we could move into either trying to secure a piece of land where we could try a small “farm”. If we are unable to secure a plot of land, then we could follow the cityfarmboy model and poll the neighbours and see if we could put a box or two on their property. Regardless, the mode of transportation which we thought would be a good idea was to use bikes with trailers. This could also be part of the Genesis Yardworks program. Teaching youth to ride vs drive teaches more cost benefits when it comes to their hourly rate, healthier, skill that can be transferred to their lives beyond school and it’s environmentally friendly. Here is an example of what we could use for GFW and GYW.

Look forward to finishing the boxes this week coming.