Monday, February 25, 2013


The Learning Garden


11:00 to 2:00
Outside the Dining Hall

There will be an assortment of Native Trees, Raspberry Canes, Strawberry plants, Bulbs, Roses

All proceeds to benefit to The Learning Garden

Come and help us keep the Planet Green!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Student Volunteers Get the Work Done!

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to work with five students in the Learning Garden. We started inside the greenhouse where we planted two flats of seedlings to sprout  and grow in the greenhouse.  We planted cool weather crops, an heirloom variety of Italian Kale,  and a mix of Asian greens called Mizuna. The volunteers were very enthusiastic and extremely helpful.

When we finished inside we ventured out doors where it was drizzling a fine rain. Everyone wanted to continue to work so we moved several bags of compost and applied the compost to the beds, We planted three new Blueberry bushes into wine barrels we had had some mint in. Three different varieties of Blueberries than what we  already have to increase cross-pollination and improve our fruit yield. Our  native Hummingbirds love the Blueberry blossoms and will be moving the pollen around as will the Bees in April and May then look for the berries in mid Summer!

Thanks to all the Student Volunteers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blueberry Bushes in Barrels

The Learning Garden currently has two large Blueberry Bushes growing in half barrels. These  big beautiful bushes have produced a lot of flowers but few fruit. The reason for this is they are the exact same variety. Blueberry blossoms require pollen from the blossoms of another variety of blueberry that blooms at the same time to produce significant fruit. On a day soon to be announced we will be adding three more Blueberry bushes to our collection of Blueberries in barrels.
Last year the bushes were a buzz with bees and Anna's Hummingbirds were sighted as well. We look forward to a big harvest this year. If you would like to help with or observe this planting project check the blog for updates.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Heirlooms in the Learning Garden at SMU

 An Heirloom Seed Library at  SMU

 There is interest in creating an Heirloom Seed Library at St. Martin's. So this season we are going to grow Heirloom varieties. We will grow, harvest and process the seeds for saving, and start our library.  Heirloom varieties are often very colorful, hardy and disease resistant. Heirloom varieties are varieties of vegetables and flowers that have been grown and passed down for many generations from one gardener to another. They are also available from select seed companies specializing  in Heirloom seed and from some non-profits and foundations.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Greetings from the Learning Garden!

Things are happening in the Learning Garden. After a nice Winter break we have begun work in the Garden once again. Today we learned the history and parentage of three apples.

Cameo Apple
The Cameo is a cultivar of apple discovered by chance. The Caudle Family of Dryden Washington noticed this apple in 1987. They think it is a cross between Red Delicious and Yellow delicious. It has become one of the top ten apples sold in Washington.


Braeburn Apple The Braeburn is another chance seedling discovered in 1952 near Motueka, New Zealand believed to be a cross between Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton.
Fuji Apple The Fuji apple was developed at the Tohoku research station in Fujisaki Aomori Japan in the 1930’s. It is a cross between two American varieties The Red Delicious and the Ralls Genet.

We tasted each of these apples and compared flavor, sweet/tart and the different textures crisp or very crisp and juiciness. They were all delicious.  I gave a quick demonstration of  a wedge graft. We then walked to the Learning Garden where we grafted scion wood from a Cameo apple and from a Braeburn apple onto the Fuji apple we have planted in the Learning Garden.



Thanks to Suzan Porter and her FYS students!