Friday, April 18, 2014

Fruit Tree Planting workshop
April 12th 2014
Chelsea Community Garden

The Chelsea Community Garden hosted our second Year of the Fruit workshop on Saturday April 12th. We lucked out with the warmest day of the month! The sun beamed down on us as our guest instructor, Andy DeSantis (of the Chelsea DPW and local tree expert) lead the fruit tree workshop. Thank you again to Andy for joining us, donating materials and answering lots of questions. 

For pictures of the workshop taken by Melissa Shook visit our Facebook page

This blog will review the workshop but for information and details please visit these sites

Andy DeSantis describing the root system of the plum tree

As with many things that grow in the ground the fruit trees need to be planted after the threat of a ground freeze has passed. We dug a hole, filled it with water, let it drain for an hour and then refilled it, timing how long it took to drain out. 

Filling the hole with water, let it drain, repeat

While we waited for the hole to drain the class continued, Andy spoke about the ideal soil conditions and we had a demonstration of a home PH meter that allowed us to instantly see what the soil PH was just by adding some soil and water. 

GREEN! In this case that was a good thing

Next was getting the tree into the hole that was dug, we took special attention to make sure the roots were spread out so the tree could establish itself better.

Almost as many cameras as workers

A word of advice when in the garden, never be afraid to get your hands dirty!!! Especially if it means making sure the tree is upright and the roots are all in place. 

Who needs gloves?

With the plum tree planted we turned our attention to the Grape Arbor, we went with a white grape variety and a concord grape. The cuttings were started a year ago by the father of one of our gardeners. After digging our holes for the grape vines and doing the water test we found that the soil at the arbor was too dense and did not drain fast enough for the grapes. We rectified the situation by removing more soil, mixing it with sand and putting it all back in around the arbor base. 

Very dense soil, we needed to add sand for the grape roots

The whole area around the arbor was cleaned out and we established a seating area that goes along with the arbor for gardeners to relax in before and after working their plots. We can't wait for the grape vines to cover the arbor!

This used to be a pile of wood and pallets

It was a great session, please join us for the next session, check out calendar for more information.

Andy led a great workshop 

Our guest instructor for the workshop was Andy DeSantis, Assistant Director of Public Works in Chelsea
The grape cuttings were donated by the family of gardener Elaine Cusick
The Grape Arbor was made possible by a generous donation from the family of Michael Limberakis. It will be dedicated in his memory during the Chelsea Art Walk in June

Michael's family stopped by to see the progress
Photo by Melissa Shook

This event had great coverage in the Chelsea Record

Thank you to the Chelsea Record for their excellent coverage!

"The Year of the Fruit is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Chelsea Community Fund. Many workshops are being offered through a collaboration with the Chelsea Community Schools. Administrative support for Year of the Fruit has also been offered by the Chelsea Collaborative and Commoncove."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Raspberry-growing workshop
March 29th 2014
Chelsea Community Garden

Gardeners and local residents gathered on an chilly spring day to learn how to grow raspberries in a workshop run by our own Master Gardener Bob Kowalik! We have many other workshops like this planned for the Year of the Fruit, please visit our website for more information about upcoming events. Thank you to Melissa Shook for the photographs and in the field reporting.

Bob starting the workshop, we hope he can get off those crutches soon!

In case you missed the workshop (or would like a recap) continue reading for the info that was presented: 

The stems that produce raspberries (and blackberries) are referred to as canes and, in garden circles, are commonly called cane fruits. They are also called brambles. (But note that in the British Isles brambles are blackberries exclusively).

The canes of cane fruits are biennial. This means that they live for two seasons. During their firs year they emerge in the spring leaf out and bulk up. In the second year they produce flowers and fruit. Then they die.

The canes produced in the first year are called primocanes (from Latin primus=first). Those produced in the second year are called floricanes (from Latin flora=flower).

Drawing of a Raspberry

There are varieties of raspberries that are called ‘everbearing’. This is actually a misnomer. The canes do not bear fruit all summer long. Rather the floricanes bear fruit in late spring or early summer as usual. And the primocanes precociously bear fruit, typically from the tips of their canes, in late summer or fall.

Before putting a raspberry bed in order it is important to know which type of raspberry you’re dealing with. In this garden we have an unknown everbearing variety.

Our goal is to create a raspberry bed that bears good and plentiful fruit that is relatively easy to pick., that is resistant to disease and blight, and is under control. –‘Under control’ because raspberries spread vigorously by underground runners when they are happy. Our row will be no more than 2’ wide. Any canes that are growing outside the bed we’ll dig up later and offer for sale during the Art Walk.

David doing some prep work

What we did:
The edging of the bed has been marked out in 2.5 ‘ segments. Work in one segment at a time and then move on to one that still needs attention.

First-remove the dead canes. They have greyish peeling bark and many side branches.

Dead cane, get rid of it!

Second—remove the weak and spindly canes.

Third—decide which of the canes will be removed to leave no more than 4 canes per liner foot or 10 canes in every 2.5’section. When deciding look for canes that are stout and don’t have signs of discoloration or malformation from insects, disease or blight. 

Pass up on canes that look like this if you can

Trim the remaining canes down to about 4.5’. If there are side branches, trim them back to about 3” from the cane.

When we’re done thinning and trimming the canes we’ll erect a row of posts and string 2 wires the length of the bed. One wire will be at about 2’ and the other at about 4’.

Bob B (we have many Bob's)

Fourth and last—tie each of the canes either to the top wire or to the chain link fence behind the bed. This will create a nice V shape running down the length of the bed allowing for good airflow. 

V for Victory

Water will evaporate quickly from the canes keeping blight and disease under control.

We’re done! Admire your work and anticipate a tasty harvest!

Ready to go!
"The Year of the Fruit is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Chelsea Community Fund. Many workshops are being offered through a collaboration with the Chelsea Community Schools and the Chelsea Jordan Boys and Girls Club. Administrative support for Year of the Fruit has also been offered by the Chelsea Collaborative and Commoncove."