Progress on Dordan’s Organic Garden!

May 4, 2011

Hello!

Guess what: Dordan has started construction on its organic garden!

For those of you unfamiliar, Dordan started several internal sustainability initiatives last year to, as this article states, “get its own environmental house in order.” Some initiatives implemented/currently being executed are: achieving zero-waste at the Dordan facility (check out July 15th’s “How-to OR How-to-NOT Conduct a Waste Audit” post); composting Dordan yard and food waste (check out August 25th’s “How to Build a Composter” post); starting an organic garden (check out August 17th’s “Day 1 of How to Start an Organic Garden” post); and, community education on recycling (check out October 4th’s “Environmental Task Force” post).

Soooo we began construction on the to-be organic garden plot last fall, as discussed in the July 15th post; this included mapping off the plot with stakes/rope so our landscapers would hold off treatment, checking for any electrical situation under the intended plot, beginning to till the ground to observe the quality of soil, etc. Then the winter came and we retired our efforts until the sun was shining and the weather was sweet.

In the meantime, our local Woodstockian farmer Emily began growing some of the seedlings in her house, intended for transportation to the Dordan plot when the weather allowed. For those of you who live in the Midwest, however, you will recall that this winter to spring transition has been less than favorable insofar as we have gotten A TON of rain. This, consequently, pushed back the date Emily was able to bring the young seedlings to the Dordan plot because the ground was too soup-like; luckily, the sun this past weekend dried the plot enough for Emily to begin transporting the seedlings and doing other ground prep work.

First, Emily created a way to manage the amount of water that had access to the plot. In previous posts describing this project, I discussed how we were looking into getting rain barrels to capture the rain water that collected from Dordan’s roof. After doing some research, however, we thought there may be a more economically inventive way to go about this, and there is! Check out the picture below: this shows how we took plastic tubes and connected them to the rain downspouts at the parameter of the plot, which allows us to control the amount of water entering the plot by drilling holes throughout, as a form of rudimentary irrigation, per se. Neat!

After doing a bit of tilling, we discovered that there was a lot of sand and clay in the soil. While I know very little about what the perfect soil composition for organic produce farming is, Emily thought we needed further nutrients. Luckily, in conjuncture with the construction of our composter, Dordan collected all of its yard waste last fall to be composted over the winter; this included leaves, grass clippings, etc. So, Emily took the very-broken down yard bits and sprinkled them all over the plot, tilling them in with the existing soil, to create super soil! We also took some of the organic food waste compost from last fall’s activities and sprinkled it about, making for some fun in the sun! In the end, we had a very rich, nutrient-rich soil, perfect for nurturing young seedlings! See:

Next, we had to create long, what’s the word…trenches? that ran horizontally across the plot, which would serve as the organization for the different types of produce grown. While creating these trenches, however, we discovered that Dordan was sitting on a Glacier gold mine, insofar as we found TONS of perfectly circular rocks, 5-6 inches below ground. Emily’s dad, Phil, explained that due to their smooth, circular shape, it was safe to conclude that these came with the glaciers. Cool!

Emily decided to plant the two sets of seedlings brought—leeks and lettuce—in the portion of the plot that had more sand in the soil because I guess these types of vegetables are more “hard core.” Dordan had a sand volley ball court on part of the plot intended for the organic garden, which obviously means there was a bit of sand under the soil. Upon tilling I almost had a heart attack because I couldn’t believe just how much sand was there; after all, it had been like, over ten years since we had planted grass over the court, so I assumed the sand would, I don’t know, go away? Luckily, Emily didn’t seem too concerned, saying she would just add in some of Dordan’s compost and it was no big deal for the types of vegetables she would be planting there. I wish all people were as laid back as organic farmers, ha!

So yeah, here are the adorable little seedlings before being planted in the plot:

Tootles!

2 Responses to “Progress on Dordan’s Organic Garden!”

  1. Hi, I am from India. I found your blog interesting. I too have started an organic terrace garden and am stumbling about to make it grow well.

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