Urban Farming/Backyard Food Production Class Series 2017
This 4 part urban farming series will go over basics ideas, methods and some hands on practice. Whether you are interested in growing herbs for cooking or medicine, or interested in growing as much annual food out of your yard as possible this series has a bit of everything. Suggest that you also take the 4 class series on composting along with this class series, that class starts on March 25, 2017 at Simply Water 4pm to 6pm.
1) We will begin with space, design, and foundation of food productions. How big of a space do I have? What do I need to do to prepare the space? Where is my water source from house plumbing to water collection? What can I grow in my space? What kind of tools? Are animal’s part of my plan and possible benefits? Composting properly and where? April 8, 2017 at Simply Water 1070 Gentry Way Reno, Nevada 89502 from 4pm to 6pm, $25pp
2) Mixing landscapes, fruit trees and bushes, preparing soil (bring sample of your dirt), ground planting or garden beds, transplanting and direct seeding options, flowers, herbs and medicinal plants (for bees, Animals and soil), dousing and Earth Acupuncture remedies for sorting out best places and energies for building up your back yard and for assisting with bug issues. May 20, 2017 location TBA, 4pm to 6pm, $25 pp
3) Companion planting, seed harvesting, seed saving, types of seeds: GMO, organic and heirloom, animals that fit best in backyard food productions, animals waste composting, dry composts, compost tea and sprays, importance of mycelium, treating mold, how to properly harvest food from plants to get a longer season from them. June 10, 2017 location TBA 4pm to 6pm, $25 pp
4) Late fall and winter growing, in the ground, green house or cold frame, how to properly cover crops, best and easiest winter crops for backyards and nutrient density for our bodies during winter and how to work with winter sunlight. July 8, 2017 location TBA 4pm to 6pm
Bridgette Lyn Dolgoff has been a life time student & practitioner of Shamanism. She is a sustainable, Biodynamic farmer over the last 7 years has built individual family food production. The Urban Farm Project was founded by Bridgette in 2009. UFP’s focus is consulting, building, education, in community on our return back to earth to cure, restore the soil life. Soil is key to regenerating the earth, our bodies through a nature’s food supply. Food is Medicine and cannot be replaced as such nor can anyone grow it for us to be our medicine. By Educating people to grow their own food and developing their own soil reconnects them to the earth. This is the medicine for all disease in us and around us.
To pay online go to coe-llc.com on home page scroll down to the pay for classes menu
Contact Bridgette at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775.624.7862
4 everything there is a season:
is a good time: to have your soil evaluated; to prune roses, shrubs and bushes; to apply compost and put mulch or chips on areas of the yard that need nutrient; to remove plants and trees that are dead or not growing well ; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for leaves to help fruit to mature; to cover sensitive plants for winter; to deal with erosion areas; to glean remaining produce; to collect and dry seeds; to build a winter cold frame; to replace organic material in your cold frame; to plant in your cold frame; to plant winter crops as seedlings.
is a good time: to prune trees and cut back last year’s growth; to create an effective food storage operation so that your fall and winter produce will last as long as you need it to; in late winter, to start sprouting seeds to plant as seedlings in spring gardens; to create a culinary herb window garden; to plan your summer garden; to build containers to harvest water.
is a good time: to have soil evaluated; to plant new trees and plants; to build raised beds; to put in a new garden area; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for soil fertility and root growth; to dig up rocky, sandy and clay areas and bring in new soil; to plant deep- rooting plants for erosion areas; to harvest rain / snow water; to direct seed in cold frames to grow into seedlings for summer gardens.
is a good time: to have soil evaluated; to have biodynamic organic sprays applied for soil fertility and root growth; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for increased growth and fruit; to deal with molds and pests; to harvest produce; to collect and dry seeds; to build a cold frame for winter crops; to collect your seeds for a winter garden; transplant spring seedlings; to start winter seedlings by direct seeding; to remove the used organic materials from cold frame and put it on an area of your yard that needs compost.
I was creating a flyer for the Urban Farm Project here in Reno I had the idea of putting on it the farming, gardening activities of every season in an attempt to get people 1) more motivated about their urban domains of food production and 2) to place the flyer on their refridgerator as a reference on what they can do every season or perhaps hiring COE to help them!
Feel free to print a copy off this blog. Put it somewhere to remind you of where to focus your attention each season. It is not a completed list. If I have missed something feel free to let me know what it was and I will add it to the season that it belongs.
The second section includes my urban garden bed preparation for winter.
1) Built a block boarder to hold in soil that was eroding all over the sidewalks and out into the city drain. I used a run of the mill block that you see everywhere. Since I already had them, I used them. You can harvest bricks, pavers and an assortment of boarder creating items from houses being remodeled and habitat for humanity in your area usually has recycled building materials.
A few months ago the house across the street from where COE and I have been renovating began to be remodeled. I approached the new owner about the piles of bricks and pavers being thrown off the house and around the property. Since he was not interested in them, he wanted a modern look he was more than happy to let me have as many as I wanted. For me it is very important to be sustainable and thrifty. For the new owner he saved himself quit a bit of labor as well as dumping costs by me taking the materials off his hands. Whether you need the items or not at the time you come across them should not be an issue. You can store them, share them with others and if you are going to create and urban farm you will find so many uses for these used materials.
2) The bricks created a raised bed and since there was not enough soil in the garden bed. I had to bring in soil from other areas of the yard where too much soil was an issue. I added several wheel barrows of depleted soil. I will be building many different types of layers on top of the soil to fortify it. It is not necessary to have good soil, nature and I can make it good soil by spring.
I left about 4 inches of room from the top of the bricks to the soil and will be filled in with soil makings.
3) I was lucky to have piles of horse poopy here in the property that was delievered here a few months ago. I spread a medium layer of horse dropings over the soil. There was a bail of straw that was left from last fall which was rotting slowly. Rottening is perfect to rebuild new soil. I spread out all the straw on top of the soil and horse poopy. I was able to use the straw. Otherwise I might have had to move it, take it to the dump more than likely. Again sustainabilty, using what you have, using what you can find close, using what someone else might have, saving money, saving labor, saving time and most of all saving out planet. The less we consume the less is manufactured and the less that ends up as waste in a land fill some where.
4) I had some old stumps and limbs, old dead wood laying around. Instead of tossing the old wood into the old garbage can I placed big chunks all over the garden bed. The old wood will break down slower giving the bed long term fuel, food to break down and turn into soil over time. Remember not to add materials that have toxic chemicals, those items should be removed from your yard properly, discarded properly of.
5) I watered the garden bed area to keep the material from blowing away and to assist with the breaking down. While I watered I thought good thoughts to the water coming out of the hose onto the garden bed. I thought good thoughts to the soil, the insects, the materials and to the forces of nature that will be working to break it all down and turning it into the best garden soil. This will support every need of the plants and provide very nutrient rich food for the bodies of the people eating it and in some cases animals as well.
6) There is a load of rich compost coming in a few days to place on top of what is there so far. It will get about a 3 inch cover of compost over the top. If you have a place in which you can create your own compost piles, go for it. The more your hand and heart are involved with what grows. Creating whats needed on your own land makes better medicine for the earth and will provide you with medicine as food back to you. More water. More good thoughts.
7) Lastly another layer of chips, wood chipswill come and be added to the top. Water and good thoughts.
In Nevada it can be extremely dry even in winter, check your garden bed weekly to make sure there is enough moisture to create the break down of the materials. Winterizing your garden bed for spring should be an annual activity.
Grow Food, Be free & Live for a Living!
Yesterday the last day of September 2011 we were out late afternoon picking blackberries off a very old mother blackberries bush. I am not sure if she could be categorized as a bush, check out the photos yourself.
After returning to Nevada in July after a 3 month large urban farm internship on the northern California coast I began to look at the area in which I was living much closer. The photos are taken in the old Sparks area. In most of our older areas of towns and cities you can find many old apple trees, peach trees, blackberries bushes and much more. With in a 3 block radius here in Sparks where I am renovating a yard I have found so many food producing plants growing on their own. I harvested 3 paper bags of peaches from the neighbors tree a few weeks ago. I Shared these beautiful and i have to say tasty peaches with 4 other families across the street. I told this tree eveyday how lovely she was and felt deep kindness towards her and it paid off in the sweetest fruit.
The issues that these old neighborhoods are facing as a result of the economic systems failing us are tragic. In the old Sparks area meth addicts and drug dealers make up a large percentage of houses being lived in. Many of these houses are no longer kept up and as a direct result the old food producing plants are dieing and under large amounts of stress due to the negative energy produced by drugs and the effects on the people taking them. we are loosing food supplies!
Notice the dog in the photos? That is my Gin Gin. She is the offical Super hero of this old community. Gin is 9 months old. She was living at a meth house across the street from where I am renovating and it is also around the block from where we were picking the blackberries in the alley way. Gin Gin never seemed to have water in her yard, she was escaping constantly in the way of cars roaring down the street, she lived off of diapers and cat shit literally. I finally rescued her over 2 months ago. She is the smartest dog I have ever known. She is now my official peace keeper urban farm dog. Gin has some how become symbolic of this old community. Gin is fast becoming the love of my life! She loves anything I feed her, she especially loved the blackberries and goobled them as we picked them.
Without going off the deep end here i think that we all need to consider being a better part of our communities in different ways than the usual thinking process leads us.
Have you ever wondered your 3 block area and looked at what kind of plants and trees ar growing there? Are they food baring plants? Do the plants need pruning, cleaning up or maybe some compost to help feed them? Could they be removed to a better location and who could help with that? Could the fruits be removed? Could the fruits be taken to places where families in need could take them home? There are so many movements in this time period that are answering many of the questions I just asked and maybe your involvement in the future could benefit not only the plants, trees, earth, but could vey well benefit yourself, others and our animals. Just looking around and noticing sometimes all it takes for a bigger picture to open up to us. Lifting our eyes to the sky can open our minds.
We have such negitive news weighing on us day in and day out, I find getting away from it, digging in the dirt, touching a plant, a tree, an animal or another person with my hand and heart can uplift me in any situation. We are all in this together, all of us together, letting go of judgement finding what makes us more the same.
A group of us picked the most amazing blackberries yesterday, I came home and made a pie, it was so tasty, pure, it had love in it from the mother blackberry bush. She loves us for sharing in what she offers us, what she has grown for us and it is up to us to give her a future to contiue to feed us.
I encourage everyone to investigate your area in which you live, take a look and see what is growing there. If you find fruit gt prmission to pick it, then find a kid to help you harvest, any kid will do. Many kids have no idea where food comes from any more, our health, our future depends on educating them and that may mean educating ourselves on the same issues as well.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
It has been a couple of weeks since the last post. Many amazing insights have come to me. I am digesting and allowing my inner processes to reveal all into the blog; new videos, consulting for urban property owners in the Reno area, and an Urban Farm Project web page that should hit the net this week! Big changes here, as it all unfolds for the highest and greatest good. Just know there is more to come, my readers, more to come. I started classes on biodynamic farming and wow! wow! wow! Can I just say my life will never be the same?! I am gearing up to bring you new truths about the world in which we live! Now to the blog!
In this blog you will find before and after photos of an urban city domain that I have been renovating for 2 1/2 months.My focus has become about edible and medicinal plants as companion plantings. The before shots were taken 2 1/2 months ago. We are going to just look at the beds outside of the fence, the front street beds, the inner part of the yard is another blog down the road!
When I began working on these beds there were many obstacles. Reno is a desert… very demanding of the farmer. The house was built in 1905, which means a number of things: too much soil in the beds, mostly sand; no nutrient in the soil (pretty dead and lifeless); the dirt was hard as a rock and the cherry on top was that the yard sat on an old river bed full of those great round river rocks! yippeeeee
The front beds were more like enemies, they were armed and ready for battle. I was going to have to use those present moment techniques I have learned to stay in the game. My mental chant “Carry Water and Chop Wood” breath, breath, breath……..
The first tasks on the list was to remove soil? How much soil? I discovered that you can read books but in the end it is the land and you. This can lead to situations in farming that you’re lack of experience creates confusion. However, you are the only one who can appropriately make decisions it in order to grow and provide food and herbs to sustain and heal. What needs to be done should be based on your eyes, ears, smell, feel and, ultimately for me, intuition.
The depletion of the soil was so extreme the only sensible measure I could take was to remove 6 to 10 inches of soil. I hit those river rocks at about 4 inches, and I suspect the people across the road heard a few cuss words!
My Dad always taught me to do a job right. How I feel inside about what I am doing is how to do the job right. I see why so many people take the easy way, the short way and are angry, with an unsuccessful result. I was going hold fast to ”doing the job right the first time.” In order to do it right ,I must dig the soil all the way out. The front beds found my weaknesses, but in the end, helped me recapture past experiences and recover energy that had been blocked. Energy blocks that I now realize had kept me repeating cycles of frustration, giving up on myself and blocking my own life’s energy.
While I am engaged in the practice of urban farming I always offer gratitude. Always thank the water, the soil, the earth for helping you to clear any energies. These energies can stand in the way of your life. Farming has given me my life back with great respect to all things, even myself. I had many a prayer smoke with the greatest thanks to the great spirit, during the renovation of the front beds. I became always thank you no matter what!
I shoveled the old dirt out and wagon’d it to the back into a pile. Later, when I have a chance, I will turn it into a compost, regenerating and using it in the future on other parts of the yard. When all the dirt was out I applied a new top soil. I made this top soil from 1/2 completed compost, fir mulch and a potting soil. I mixed them all together and filled the long beds. Later on, as the plants in the beds grew, I applied another inch of fir mulch and kelp meal. Here in the Reno area we have alkaline soils, with alkaline water. We need to add in much needed acids to get the balance so plants will grow. Just like the human body: too much alkaline and the heart will stop and too much acid and the heart will stop. We are so similar to soil and plants in what we need to grow, seed, bloom and bear fruit. Since we eat the plants, does it not make sense that they need to be perfectly balanced to give us the proper balance. Kelp meal is the most amazing nutrient! If I have time in the future I will blog just about kelp meal!
I am becoming a bit of an old school farmer. I do not want to buy what I can make or cultivate from my own yard or someone else’s. The first plants I planted were yarrow. Yarrow is my friend… what I do learn about it and from it blows my lid off! You can use yarrow blooms to create nitrogen preps for soil. You can mow it creating an herb lawn that mulches itself, thus adding nutrient in the long-term to soil. It holds water and can be planted around sensitive areas that need to be cooler. Yarrow can bring ancient nutrients up from the depths of the earth to feed and nourish other plants. You can make ales out of yarrow for stomach ailments. Yarrow gives and gives. I prefer the wild yarrow that is a non-hybrid. It has white flowers. Yarrow grows wild! Dig it up and plant it where you need it most.
Next, I found a large area of penny royal in the yard. I love penny royal. It has a great smell and bees love it. It helps, like yarrow, and attracts bees to your yard. This is necessary for growing a deluxe garden. You can rub it onto the skin as a natural bug repellent. Penny royal grows fast and is a good ground cover, helping to cool down areas for trees and plants that enjoy cooler moist climates.
Then, I planted onions, every kind of onion i could get my hands on. There are large white and purple onions, shallots and green onions. Remember I am gathering all of these plants from other people and places. My first choice would be from a bio dynamic farm…d plants have a vibration of love.
A serious issue of domain was the bugs. Sugar ants, carpenter ants, earwigs…….. Creating a front bed barrier to new bugs migrating in was imperative, the onions have done a master job in creating this barrier. When the onions move in the yarrow and penny royal literally sang. I had no idea what great companions onions would be and no idea what companion planting can really bring to the table until I felt the perfection.
Lastly I direct -seeded calendula, and with the right soil and the companions already the calendula has grown so fast! It’s beauty has warmed the cold heart. I am looking forward to using it in healing balms. If there are any words I could write to express the glory of growing herbs, it is in the moment when you have a need for them and you can go pick them, your own medicine, and make it up right there. Last night our doggy, Gin Gin, came home from the vet. She had her lady parts fixed. The razor the vet used to shave her left burn marks. I went out picked a few leaves of comfry, mashed it up, added a bit of grape seed oil and applied it to her burn areas. The results were nothing short of perfection. The best is that if she licks it no big deal!
Maintenance: I cultivate the soil in the beds once a month, water and will be putting a layer of chips and mulch and inch deep over it for winter. Everything will reseed and be big and thicker next year. The front beds have become a slice of heaven for all of us; the grower, the owner, the people walking and driving by. It is like a hope, a dream for a better day, a sigh of relief in a world of stress, pain and frustration. I have created an energy of delight to the senses…the eyes, smell, taste and touch. Peace surrounds me, from the plants, from what I am doing, and why I choose the methods I use. People drive by, turn around and visit the yard. Maybe the real change we need has to do with the plant and tree world. It appears to me that they create life, which is love, respect and reverence . I am finding that I just need to be aware, give them nourishment and love. This way the green world will teach me everything i need to know.
In the near future I am teaching classes on medicinal plants and planting with harvesting for healing as my goal. For now I am just listening to them and and allow the teaching they offer to me to make me whole.
This week the Urban Farm Project had it’s first job and is launching a traveling consulting company, specializing in edible and medicinal plants in urban areas. You never can tell where life will lead you? You never know what you will do or how you will do it? You never know until you learn to Chop that wood and Carry that water, which means to just focus on what is front of you, learn about it, immerse yourself in it, be it, and become it!
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
Cultivate: to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
This week’s post is coming a bit late. In working with spirit, whatever that spirit be named for each one of us, it can take a bit of time to listen. Collecting information from the ethers is like turning on the spirit computer in myself and hitting download.
This was not an easy blog to write. Within the culture I grew up I did not learn to cultivate anything. I personally had to take time to think about cultivating, what I cultivate, how do I cultivate and when do I cultivate? When I received the information that I would be writing about cultivating ( see photo of cultivator garden tool attached) I temporarily went into a place of resistance. I needed to spend some time contemplating what the word meant to me. I was generally feeling sadness inside. I had to face the fact that I am the cultivator of my life, my soil, my water and everything that exists. As I searched my inner data banks I could not recall learning much about cultivating. In the culture I live in I began to recall learning more about running from everything; cultivating was the exact opposite of how I had lived my life. When I first picked up a cultivator and used it, I could feel anger and hostility. It took me months to relate it to energy. Memories flooded me from my past that I have been out-running, pretending things never happened. I began to use cultivating to feel my resistance, notice stress and this brought me to deep breathing. Cultivating the garden became a time for me when I could focus and let go no matter what was going on around me.
Spending time, in a peaceful place, with love in your heart cultivating your crops in a physical way is also an act of creating it within. For myself this week has brought me to a place of unraveling deep energies within. I wanted to present you with the definitions of the words, the descriptions of the act of cultivating. Cultivating has become so much more as it reaches into my areas of consciousness that have not be activated.
I recently spent 2 months on a farm in which the main work was cultivating. I began to understand early on that if the soil is not cultivated regularly, it becomes solid, hard and the weeds can be a boxing match event to remove. On the other hand if the soil is constantly cultivated it is light, fluffy, easily absorbs water, increases oxygen to the root systems of your plants which are the respiratory system of every plant and the weeds, the little invaders, are brought into a sort of compliance that even a 2 year old could handle.
The physical act of cultivating is a peaceful experience, once you get the hang of it. I came to the realization that cultivating the earth was teaching me something about my life that had been dormant. The statement “quantity versus quality” would roll through my mind early in the relaxing phase of cultivating. Cultivating your garden and/or anything else forces you into the present moment. If you are not present moment, your attention is not fully on what you are doing. Cultivators have sharp edges can cut through the stem of the plant damaging and killing them for the future harvest if we are not present giving our full attention. Cultivating is a zen process, it reminds me of raking gravel into meditative designs.
I am spending time farming. I am moving towards becoming a full time farmer. My favorite tool in the shed is a cultivator. It was not that way in the beginning. I Actually hated to cultivate in the fields… it felt like it was never-ending, boring and too time consuming. Now i see it in a much bigger picture. Now when I cultivate it is meditation, I become present, giving my attention to the moment, in the now. For those of you more science based it is also a great workout, builds incredible hand and eye coordination. Highly recommend cultivating for people who have had head injuries, strokes to build new nerve passages.
The cultivator tool you can buy at any garden shop. I prefer the long-handled with the triangle edged style. When buying garden tools, be present, hold them, move them around, notice how you feel about the tools ,buy and use tools you love, you like, that feel good to you. Remember you will be using them on the earth and possible near your food source, never act aggressively towards our mother who cultivates all the plants, trees, air, water, soil, animals and us.
In conclusion I am continuing to learn that I have to focus my attention on that which I want and then I have to cultivate it. The cultivation must be done with peace, tenderness, like an act of love to a beloved. When you grow food for yourself and do it as an act of love, attention, intent you create an experience of edible bliss.
Cultivating any aspect of life is the magic, a life transforming tool, it can only truly be understood by doing it and cultivating the art and practice of it and what it means.
For those of you in Reno if you would like to hands on lesson in cultivating call COE and we can do a class (donation, and you must bring your own tool).
We need not be afraid anymore. You can cultivate anything you wish. Only you are the Cultivator of your creation.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!