Earth Day 2017: EG Soil Event

Update 4/22:  This event has been postponed to Sunday, April 23rd at 3-5 PM due to the weather.  All other details of the event remain the same.

There aren’t many better ways to spend Earth Day than getting your hands in the soil and learning about gardening at a community farming project. Join Everybody Grows and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services on Saturday April 22nd from 3:00-5:00 PM for an open volunteer session at the fire station farm at Engine 26 at 1340 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast DC (don’t forget the northeast part!).   This is an all ages event and everybody is welcome!

The main tasks of the day will all be soil related.  We will be adding garden soil to our new raised beds we constructed with Sidwell Friends Middle School students.  We will also be amending the older beds with compost and worm castings.  All soil is locally sourced from Veteran Compost.

While we will be providing a limited number of tools, we encourage you to bring your favorite bucket and shovel, especially if you are bringing young children.   Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!  For any questions email jake@everybodygrows.org and jonny@everybodygrows.org

See you in the garden!

 

 

Everybody Grows May 2016 Planting Days

Come out and get your hands dirty at four Everybody Grows planting events in May!  Our fire station planting events will both begin at Engine 26 at 1340 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast DC.  Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home is located at 1818 Newton Street Northwest DC.

Volunteers will be helping with the hands-on work of planting a garden.  We will share information about soil health, companion planting and rotational strategies as we work.

Please email Jake@everybodygrows.org and Jonny@everybodygrows.org to let us know if you will make it  or if you have any questions.  See you in the garden!

Schedule:

All events start at 2 PM.

Tuesday May 10th: Stoddard Nursing Home First Planting Day

Saturday  May 14th: Planting day at Engine 26 and one other station

Sunday May 22nd: Planting day at Engine 26 and two other stations

 Monday May 23rd: Stoddard Nursing Home Second Planting Day

Sheet Mulching at Engine 26

A common question that arises in raised bed gardening is what to do when you have a bed completely overgrown with weeds and grasses.  Josh Singer, the urban garden specialist with DC Parks and Recreation, recommends sheet mulching the bed.   Sheet mulching is great because it kills the weeds and grasses and improves the soil, while using just recycled and natural materials.   We put this permaculture technique into practice on Saturday at Engine 26.  I was aided by a new firefighter at the station named Henry, and Everybody Grows volunteers Joel and Liat.

Henry and I started by cutting down the tops weeds and grasses.20150829_120510

We cut back most of the weeds, particularly where they had gone to seed.  Next we added layers of cardboard.  Most shipping cardboard biodegrades safely.  It also forms a sturdy weed block.20150829_121409
We stacked the multiple layers cardboard so the overlapped to cover gaps, and we cut back the weeds that protruded from the sides.  After the cardboard, it was time for a layer of compost.  We used Leafgro compost.  Joel and Henry poured the compost directly on top of the cardboard.20150829_123106


The last layer we applied was mulch.  I got a good deal on some Earthgro Red Mulch, which is what we used here.  Even though it has coloring to make it red, it is a wood mulch and safe to use in a vegetable garden.  I expect it to work well. 20150829_133522 

By getting an early start on this process for next year, I am intentionally leaving plenty of time to adjust it or supplement it.  I will report back on our sheet mulching experiment in future blogs, so stay tuned!

 

Getting Started with Garden Composting

As our summer gardening finishes and we begin the transition to fall, now is a great time to start a garden composter to reuse your garden’s organic materials.   We are using a geobin composter at my school garden, which is a low maintenance, inexpensive composter designed for garden waste and a few other materials such as vegetable scraps, fruit peels, shredded cardboard, and coffee grounds.  If you use the geobin correctly, it produces no strong odor and does not attract pests, it will produce rich compost for your garden by the spring.  I definitely recommend it for a first attempt at composting if you have a small home garden.   

Not every weed or plant can go in the composter successfully.  This article gives a great overview of how to incorporate leaves in your composter and what plants to avoid.   A few quick tips from the article are to not put weeds that have gone to seed in the composter or plants that are diseased or insect infected.

Happy composting!

Coming Together in the Gardens Week of 8-7-2015

Volunteering is an opportunity to learn new skills and to interact with people and communities that otherwise you may never encounter.  At Everybody Grows, we regularly work at our nursing home and fire station inspiration gardens with groups of volunteers.  For some of our volunteers, working in our gardens is their first experience growing food.  Other volunteers bring many gardening ideas and experiences to share, and we love to get their input and feedback.

At Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home this past week, we harvested from the garden and served a tasting session to the residents so everyone there could enjoy the food they planted and helped to grow.IMG_0597

At the fire stations, firefighters joined us to plant spinach, lettuce, beets, and other cold-resistant crops for the fall.

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Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers that have come out to support our inspiration gardens across the city. We truly enjoy growing food and sharing our work with each of you. If you are interested in volunteering, go to everybodygrows.org/volunteer. We always welcome any new volunteers.IMG_0667IMG_0528IMG_0331IMG_0337

Everybody Grows T-Shirt Promotion

Everybody Grows will soon be ordering our first round of t-shirts with our new logo!  The t-shirt has the three color version of our logo on a muted beige background and is printed on a high quality cotton and polyester blend.

t shirt mock up

For a limited time, donations of $35 will guarantee you one of our new shirts. Donations of $60 dollars or more will guarantee you two shirts.  Your donations will help fund our late summer planting, and by wearing your Everybody Grows shirt you can help bring awareness to our organization and our mission.

If you would like to contribute, please use our donation page and write what size shirt you would like in the comments box.  If you are unable to pick up the shirts from us at an event, please include your address and $5 for shipping and handling.

Thanks in advance for your generous support.

Volunteer Training Event

All gardens benefit from watchful, caring gardeners.  Our inspiration gardens are no exception.  When I visited all of them recently, I was reminded that the more caretakers each of our gardens has, the more it will flourish and provide a great experience for everyone.   It is in this spirit that we have created a program to help volunteers grow their urban agriculture skills in order to support our gardens and the people that live with them everyday.

Everybody Grows  is happy to announce we will be holding a volunteer training event to brief both experienced and new volunteers on the skills and routines we use to maintain our inspiration gardens.  We will go over harvesting, transplanting, and pruning techniques in order to prepare volunteers to work in our gardens.   The event will be Sunday July 12th at 2 PM at Engine 26, 1340 Rhode Island Ave, NE.

Please email jake@everybodygrows.org to RSVP if you will be attending.  We will keep you updated on future volunteer training events through our website and social media.

Summer Volunteer Program

Thank you so much to everyone who has inquired about summer volunteer programs.  Everybody Grows is happy to announce we have developed a summer volunteer program that will give participants the opportunity to learn about urban agriculture and nonprofit development through hands-on work. The program will begin July 8th and take place every Wednesday through August 17th.  We will offer five hours of volunteering and learning opportunities each Wednesday, with the option to work more on other days.  Minimum age to apply is 15.

 

If you are interested in applying, please email jake@everybodygrows.org by Wednesday, July 1st.   Please write a short note about why you would like to work with Everybody Grows, and answer the following questions:

 

  1.  Please share briefly about experience you have in one or more of the following areas.  Gardening, cooking, carpentry, teaching, social media, photography, online research, elder care, and community organizing.

 

  1.  Do you have access to a car during the day, and if so at what times?  Are you comfortable driving other people?

 

  1.  Are you currently attending school, and if so where and what are you studying?

 

Thanks again for your interest.  We are happy to answer questions about the program.  This will be our first year doing this, so we reserve the right to modify the program above, but trust that it will be a priority to provide a meaningful experience for each participant.