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Welcome to the Amir Garden Manual. It is with great excitement that we present to you this comprehensive guide to building summer camp gardens. As you engage in the process of building gardens, teaching kids about our power to be “agents of change,� and demonstrating our responsibility to one another, you will realize why we call you Farmers. You will be an educator and a gardener at once, landscaping the Earth to build and grow communities. In this manual you will find:

1. A guide for building large-scale organic gardens 2. A compilation of the best resources on ecological farming that can be applied to an Amir Garden. Our goal is simple: harness the power of gardening to inspire and empower youth to serve others. Amir finds that gardening enables our participants to learn in a variety of ways. Through gardening, children can develop dialogue skills, learn to cooperate with one another and the Earth, and gain social awareness regarding injustices within our food system. Even more importantly, gardening provides a tangible way to practice what we learn.

By leading the Amir Garden Project, you will: 1. Build gardens that reflect proper permaculture practice and connect programming to action. 2. Build relationships between campers and staff that inspire and empower them to become agents of change in their local communities. This manual can be used in almost any community or educational setting. We hope that you treat it with care and that it will nurture your growth as much as you will nurture your Amir Garden.

Sincerely, David M. President

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Fox


Table of Contents Unit I: The Basics 1.1 Starting from Scratch 1.2 Checking Your Supplies 1.3 Community Engagement 1.4 Plant Anatomy 1.5 A more Detailed Look at Plants 1.6 How Plants Grow

Unit 2: Design 2.1 Observation 2.2 Visioning 2.3 Garden Design a) General b) Keyhole Beds c) Mandala d) Square Foot e) Herb Spirals 2.4Themed Gardens 2.5 Staking Your Beds 2.6 Pathways 2.7 Crop Plan 2.8 Orientation to the Sun 2.9 Double Digging 2.10Building Your Beds

Unit 4: Tending & Maintenance 4.1 Trellising 4.2 Pruning 4.3 Weeding 4.4 Watering 4.5 Pest Control

Unit 5: The Garden as an Educational Tool 5.1 Sign Making 5.2 Harvesting 5.3 Shade Structures

Appendix: My Trellis

Unit 3: Implementation 3.1 The Process 3.2 Planting 3.3 Fall Harvest 3.4 Mulching 3.5 Composting

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Unit 1: The Basics This chapter will provide the building blocks for your summer of Farming Justice. Every detail about plant science affects how we design our gardens, what we harvest, and what we teach. Plants are wonderful. They will be your muse and your teacher. To think like a plant, you must study it intimately. Enjoy! -Yosef Gillers, Amir Educator and Seminar Leader (2012)

Framing Questions: 1. What parallels do you see between plants and humans? 2. What can you learn from plant cycles? 3. What curricular teachings can you glean from these basics?

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1.1 STARTING FROM SCRATCH New Camps:

A clear and leveled site will allow you to get right to work with campers when they arrive. Your camp’s maintenance staff will have likely cleared and leveled your garden site. In some cases, they will have to deliver and deposit soil supplement onto your site. If the site was cleared long before camp, some weeds might be encroaching. If there are weeds, take the time to weed each day until the space is clear. Use your pick axes, hoes, and rakes to ensure all grass is removed and that your site is leveled and consists of soft, fluffy soil.

Returning Camps:

If you are Farming at a camp that has already worked with Amir, you will enter a site with beds already built. Till the beds with your hands, remove all weeds and leftover plants, and prepare the soil for future planting. When you arrive on site, assess the tools you have, and see if there are unused spaces around your already existent site to build more beds.

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1.2 CHECKING YOUR SUPPLIES It is important for you to have a thorough familiarity with your gardening tools and supplies. Upon arriving at camp, you should take inventory. First, identify a shed or storage unit to hold your materials. Before the summer started, Amir provided your camp with a Master List of Supplies, which will cover most of your needs as Amir Farmer. Take a moment to look over your supplies and make sure everything on the list is present and organized. If you notice any supplies missing, especially those required for programming the following week, request the necessary supplies. Talk to your supervisor and acquaint yourself with whoever is in charge of logistics at your camp.

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1.3 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The Amir Garden will be most successful with the support and engagement of your camp community. All staff can contribute to your garden immeasurably. Before campers arrive, you have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with those around you and mobilize your fellow counselors, specialists, and supervisors. Below are key individuals who can help you with executing the project and who will be key contributors in your initiatives.

Administration and Supervisors Your camp administration is your greatest ally. Take the time to get to know them and hear their vision for the Amir Garden at camp. They will help you form the culture that you need to ensure that your project is a success in your camp community.

Head of Maintenance The head of maintenance keeps your camp in running order, provides repairs, and maintains general grounds upkeep. This person will be a key liaison in securing supplies, providing heavy labor/machinery in the garden, and can be a valuable source of gardening advice. Questions to Ask • Do you have any advice on growing in the region? Places to buy supplies? • What is the easiest way to reach you? • Does anyone know how to build a door/gate to the garden?

Head of Logistics This person is in charge of supplying camp staff with the supplies they need to run programming. Although most of the necessary supplies you will need to run the garden will be provided for you at the beginning of camp, some things may be missing. Talk to your supervisor and ask them to introduce you to this important person. Questions to Ask • How much notice must I give you to acquire supplies for my area on time? • What is the process for requesting supplies? • What is the best way to reach you? • What are the monetary limits that I should know about before requesting supplies?

All Counselors Counselors can offer an additional set of helping hands, enable you to supervise more campers in the garden at once, and help you run more comprehensive, involved programming. Your co-counselors, some of whom might have been at camp for years, might not understand this new addition to camp and their community. Take the time over staff week to not only get to know your fellow counselors, but also to articulate the importance of this work for camp. The Amir Garden Project cannot function in a vacuum!

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1.4 PLANT ANATOMY

The primary task of an Amir Farmer is to care for the plants that we grow. To do this, we must care for the soil, surrounding environment, and ecological society connected to the growing plant. Careful attention to our plants will yield healthy, productive crops. To care for something properly, we must have a basic understanding of its parts, functions, and needs. In this section of the Amir Garden Manual, we will look at the basic anatomy of a plant and highlight some important features.

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1.5 A MORE DETAILED LOOK AT PLANTS

Terminal bud You can think of the terminal bud as the “mission control” for a plant. This bud holds the genetic material that allows for new, vertical growth. If the terminal bud is removed, “mission control” will be transferred to the axillary buds – the buds on the side of the plant. Axillary Bud Stem growth in the axially bud is suppressed by the presence of the terminal bud. If the terminal bud is removed, the axillary buds will be activated and begin to grow stems laterally. Flower The flower is the sex organ of the plant. Often brightly colored or fragrant, flowers use insects or wind to transfer genetic material in the form of pollen from one to another. If successful, the plant will fruit and the next generation of seeds will develop inside.

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1.6 HOW PLANTS GROW

Seed

Pollination

Plants grow from seeds. Seeds generally have a hard outer shell, and house the necessary genetic material and nutrients to get a baby plant started.

Flowers have male parts – called stamens – that produce pollen. Flowers also have female parts – called pistils. Pollen must be moved from the stamen to the pistil. Once pollination takes place, a new generation of seed will begin to develop inside the flower.

Germination Germination is the “activation” of the genetic material inside a seed when it experiences the proper amount of moisture, light, and temperature. First, the roots push through the seed coat and absorb enough water and nutrients to fuel the plant’s growth. Then, the stem emerges and breaks through the ground and grows toward the sky.

Sprouting The emerging stem, also called the sprout, grows into a seedling that has leaves and buds. Leaves absorb and convert sunlight into food for the plant to grow. This process is called photosynthesis.

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Dissemination Once it develops its seeds, a plant aims to spread them. The most familiar way we see this occur is in the form of a fruit: a plant hides its seeds inside and relies on animals to eat and disperse them. Some plants rely on wind or water to help scatter their seeds.


Unit 2: Design Functional earth art. Form serving function. Balancing production and aesthetic. Revealing shapes and colors and smells and texture, yielding harvests of happiness and learning and food. Supporting interplant dynamics – the plant’s relationship to and with each other, as well as to the soil dug and hoed for it, the air oxygenated around it, the sun absorbed by it. Those who it’s picked by and those who it’s picked for. Those whose history and tradition is embedded within it and those who are planting for the first time. As a member of this extended plant community - this garden - how can my design help us all flourish? -Nate DeGroot, Amir Seminar Leader (2012, 2013) Framing Questions:

1. What is your design process? 2. What environment will your campers need in the garden? 3. How will your garden’s form help serve its function?

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2.1 OBSERVATION For each Amir Garden Project, we conducted a pre-site assessment where we chose your garden site and evaluated a number of factors. This is what we looked for:

Slope/Topography We chose sites where the land was open and flat, and where there were minimal obstacles to constructing your garden.

Light We chose sites that have access to direct sunlight for as many hours of the day as possible. Many of the summer vegetables we plant – like peppers and tomatoes – need 10+ hours of direct sunlight to grow properly. Plants that prefer cooler, shadier environments – like lettuce and spinach­­– should be planted in the shadier parts of your garden or beside taller, sun loving plants.

Access We chose sites that have reasonable access for their construction and infrastructural needs. This includes: accessibility for a truck with soil supplement, accessibility to a water source, tools and material storage, and program space.

Soil Quality We evaluated the compaction, particle, and nutrient composition of the site, and will be able to make recommendations for different bed types and soil amendment as a result.

Local Provider

Because summer camp begins in the latter part of June, many of the local garden centers are already out of their crop for the season. Amir staff communicates with these providers during the winter and spring to coordinate seeding and plant delivery for each specific site.

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2.2 VISIONING Your Amir Garden has a purpose. You are building an educational community garden that will be a vehicle to teach your participants about the environment, food system, and their connection to the land. Using your Amir Garden, you can teach your participants about their moral obligations to themselves and to others; it will be a tangible outlet for them to become “agents of change” in profound ways. Before creating this garden, you will have a “Visioning Session” with your camp director. Before creating this garden, initiate a conversation with your supervisor and discuss the following topics:

• What are the educational goals of the camp that should influence the garden’s shape? • What are the ages of the campers that will be coming to the garden? • How many campers will come to the garden at a time? • How long are individual programming periods and how many periods per week can I expect to see the same campers? • How long are camp sessions? • What are the goals of the gardens’ food production? • What crops will I plant and in what orientation will I plant them? • How will I get kids involved in the process of building the garden? • What physical materials will I use – besides dirt – in constructing the beds, walkways, fencing, and other structures for this garden? • How will I use the garden space? What do I want my garden space to look like physically to help with my programming? • How will the greater camp community interact with our Amir Garden? • What is my budget for the project and how can I access fund?

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Keeping in mind the natural landscape, your desired yield, and ultimately your garden’s goal, it is now time to choose your garden design from the myriad options that you have. While you should feel empowered to design your garden from scratch, we have included some tried and true concepts for you to replicate and/or use as inspiration.

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Keyhole Beds Keyhole beds are one of the most efficient garden designs. The bed is in the shape of a horseshoe, allowing access to plants from the outside rim as well as the inner cut out.

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Keyhole Garden Design 1. Begin by designating a circular piece of Earth that is 8-10 ft. in diameter. 2. Create a path to a rounded, open center. In many cases, it makes sense to cu in from the southern face of your garden. You will want to plant taller plants along the outer perimeter and have shorter plants on the inner part of the keyhole. This way you will not have to worry about them being shaded out and the taller plants creating a “sun bowl� inside of your garden. 3. Till the existing ground in the bed or create a raised bed. 4. To irrigate, you can place a sprinkler head in the center of the bed. Plant accordingly.

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Mandala Gardens Mandala gardens maximize growing area by bending rows around each other. The technique for building a Mandala Garden is similar to the instructions for a keyhole bed. Your beds should be 3 feet wide and your walkways should be 2 feet wide. Below are some pictures of Mandala Gardens.

Comments: Mandala gardens allow for many campers to participate and work at the same time.

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Square Foot Gardens Square foot gardening is a technique developed by Mel Bartholomew. Bartholomew describes this type of garden in his book, Square Foot Gardening as “a system of laying out, planting, and maintaining a productive, attractive garden in any amount of space.” The garden is based on a grid of 1-foot by 1-foot squares, with single seeds or plants placed in carefully determined spaces. He explains, “The square foot system lets you make the most of your garden space to conserve the amount of water, soil conditions, and labor needed to produce a maximum amount of food in that space. A square foot garden takes only one-fifth the space and work of a conventional single-row garden to produce the same harvest.”

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS

Step-by-Step Square Foot Gardening

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Like many things in life, it’s all about location, location, location. When figuring out where to begin to build your garden, look out for an area that receives about 6-8 hours of sunlight, that is clear of trees or shrubs that might interfere, and is not prone to puddles or excess moisture. To improve convenience, meanwhile, you should try to position the garden close to your home.

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Depending on the mature size of the plant, you’ll want to grow either 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot. For example, if the seed packet recommends that the plants be spaced 12 inches apart, you’ll plant 1 per grid box. If it recommends a 6 inch spacing, you can plant 4, if it asks for 4 inch spacing, you can plant 9, and if it recommends 3 inch spacing, you can plant 16 per square foot grid.

When planning your garden, you must also consider layout. Always think in squares, and specifically, Now that all of the planning is done, it’s time to start 4 foot by 4 foot squares. If you’re planning on building doing a little planting! Since the space is so small, more than one square foot garden, be sure to plan for you’ll want to use your fingers to make a shallow hold aisles so that you can access and tend to your garden in the soil and place one or two seeds in each spot. You without disrupting or destroying the other boxes. should then cover the seed, but be sure not to pack the soil so that air and water can penetrate. To build the box frame, you can use just about any material except treated wood, which contains Once planted, you’ll need to water the plants chemicals that can seep into the soil and, thus, the food regularly. Since the garden is so small, its best you eat. We recommend taking a trip to your local lumber to water by hand and to use water that is room yard to scope out some 1 by 6 or 2 by 6 lumber. In most temperature or slightly warmer (it helps warm the soil cases, the lumber yard will be able to cut the wood for and promote growth…especially in the early stages of you at little to no cost. Once home, layout the lumber to the plants development). form boxes and secure corners with deck screws.

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Now that you have created the box frame, it’s time to fill it with something that will nourish and fortify your garden. We recommend filling the box with a mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 course grade vermiculite. When purchasing these items, be sure to look for organic varieties that contain no fertilizers or chemicals. Alternatively, if you already make your own compost, feel free to use that to fill the boxes (although you’ll still need the peat moss and vermiculite to help retain moisture and keep the soil aerated.)

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Once the plants have matured, you can harvest continually. Once the crop has been removed, dig out any roots or debris, add new compost, and plant a new seed (or seeds) in that square.

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might want to set up a simple irrigation system in the early gestation period. Frugal Dad has a great – and of course, economical – way to create an irrigation system. To do, take a series of six or so water bottles and poke a small hole in each using a sewing needle or safety pin. Fill the bottles with water and use your finger to dig a small trench about the length of the bottle in each grid square. Place the bottle, pin hole down, in the soil. Over the course of the day, the water will drain from the bottles into the soil, leaving you with a well-watered garden. For best results, fill the water bottles back up each morning, which will allow the soil to dry out across the day and reduce the chance of fungus or disease developing.

It’s time to create the grid that will form the one-foot squares within the box frame. This grid, which can be made shorter to fit inside the box or be secured on top of the box, will keep your garden organized and improve manageability. Much like the box frame, the grid can be made from just about any chemical-free material, including wood, nylon rope or plastic strips. In fact, squarefootgarden.com says that old Venetian blinds make for perfect grids! Use screws or rivets to secure http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-build-your-ownthe grid at each place where the strips intersect and to square-foot-garden-in-10-easy-steps/#ixzz1uxdLUz8P attach the grid to the box. The grid should be left in place all season.

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2.3 GARDEN DESIGNS Herb Spirals Herb spirals are a way to maximize horizontal growing space. The combination of a spiral pattern with a mound provides a variety of advantages. Herb sprials are very spatially efficient; a spiral garden that is 5 feet across and 3 feet tall will create the equivalent of about 30 feet of row space. It also creates two distinct microclimates on your spiral, the South facing sunny side being perfect for heat loving plants (i.e. basil) and the shadier North side better for shade dwellers (i.e. lettuce).

Comments: An herb spiral is a fun activity to do with a specific group of kids over a session.

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2.4 THEMED GARDENS Remember – you’re at camp! Here are three fun ways of engaging your participants in gardening...

Pizza Garden This is definitely a fun one with kids! Make a circular bed (or modified keyhole to allow for access to the center). Divide the garden into “slices” and in each slice, plant crops that would make a tasty pizza. You might consider planting: • Tomatoes • Basil • Oregano • Onions • Peppers

Havdalah Garden In this garden, you can grow everything you need for the Havdalah ceremony. You should consider planting: • Mint • clove • rosemary • thyme • sage • chamomile • lemon herb • lavender

Native Garden There are a number of plants that grow naturally in the surrounding wild lands of your camp. Many of these are useful to humans as food or medicine. It is fun to find and identify these plants in the wild! Not only are they accessible and useful, but they often conserve water, require less maintenance, are more resilient, and reinforce local ecological systems, cultures, and traditions. Try transplanting or collecting seeds from some of these plants for cultivation. Comments: If you want to make your own Native Garden, contact your local grower for tips!

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2.5 STAKING YOUR BEDS It is time to begin the process of building your garden! By now, you have designed your garden and your space is all dirt and raked flat. The first step to make your garden design a reality is to stake out and delineate your beds. Be careful and precise!

Materials

• wooden stakes • scissors • rubber mallet • two balls of yarn or twine • tape measure

Steps 1. Using your design, identify a starting point (ideally the corner of a bed) where you’d like to begin, and pound a wooden stake into the ground. 2. With a tape measure, measure the distance to the next corner of the bed, and pound in another stake. 3. Repeat this process until you have four stakes, one in each corner of your bed. 4. Wrap the yarn twice around each stake to create the outline of your bed. Make sure the yarn is taut. Cut at the end and tie it off. 5. Continue this process for each bed. Be sure to leave at least two feet between beds.

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2.6 PATHWAYS Make sure that you incorporate ample space for pathways. You can make paths by putting down woodchips or gravel, or by simply placing stones to mark your walkways. No one should ever have to step on a garden bed to plant, maintain plants, or harvest. Standing on the garden bed compacts the soil and, if you’re not careful, can result in trampling vulnerable seedlings. You will know that your walkways are sufficiently spaced if you can touch the middle of your beds from either side. Generally, your pathways should be two feet wide.

Comments: Excessive soil compaction impedes root growth and decreases the plants ability to take up nutrients and water.

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2.7 CROP PLAN Because the timing of the camp season does not align with the ideal summer planting season, Amir partnered with a local garden center to make proper crop selections for your garden. Your camp will have already bought a certain number of cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. for you to pick up. Because of Mother Nature’s timeliness, we will plant primarily starter plants. Generally, the growth rate of starters is much higher than of seeds. Below is a table with some of the pros and cons of direct seeding and transplants.

Seeds Pros Cons Inexpensive Lower success rate of growth

Campers see entire growth cycle

Takes a long time to sprout and to bear fruit

Starter Transplants Pros Cons

Can select for sturdier, healthier plants

Expensive (relative to seeds)

High success rate for growth

Campers do not see entire growth cycle

Greater chance of yielding produce

Campers will see fruit in last week of camp

Below is a list of plants that are commonly seeded and transplanted: Commonly

Seeded

Commonly Transplanted

Arugula Brussel Sprouts Beans (pole and bush) Cauliflower Lettuce Melons Spinach Peppers Carrots Perennial Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Mint) Radishes Summer Squash Sunflowers Tomatoes

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2.7 CROP PLAN Want a quick harvest? Many radish varieties can be planted while the weather is still cool, and can go from seed to harvest in about four weeks. Harvest them and donate them to your camp’s salad bar or slice them thin and fry them in the garden as radish fries. But beware, the longer you keep them in the ground, the spicier they will be! Lettuce and spinach are also great to plant if you want a quick harvest. Lettuce is ready to harvest in about 3-6 weeks. When the plant is still young, you can try the “cut and come again” method: cut the outer leaves of the plant, leaving the inner leaf to continue to grow. This will stimulate the plant’s growth, resulting in a greater yield.

Tomatoes and Marigolds Interplanting marigolds with tomatoes will protect your crops from pests. Scented marigolds repeal many insects –like aphids and nematodes – that like to nibble on your plants.

Three sisters A technique developed by American Indians, “three sisters” grouping takes advantage of the structural characteristics of three garden favorites: squash, beans, and corn (or sun flowers). Corn grows tall, and provides a living trellis for pole beans to climb on. With corn growing vertically, squash can spread across the bed and shade away weeds. Beans add nitrogen to the soil for its “sisters” to enjoy.

Allium interplanting The pungent smell of allium crops – like onions, chives and garlic – repels garden pests. Garlic repels aphids, Japanese beetles, root maggots, and moths. It also produces sulfur, a natural fungicide. Onions are especially great partners for peppers, and chives can improve the taste of tomatoes and carrots.

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2.8 ORIENTATION TO THE SUN All of your gardens will be in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that in the summer, the sun will travel from East to West across the southern portion of the sky. You must consider the sun’s position in the sky when planting your crops. For example: plant smaller, sun loving crops at the South and East facing part of your garden. Make sure to plant any tall plants that would create shady spots on the North side.

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2.9 DOUBLE DIGGING Now that you’ve designed your garden, it is time to build it! To begin, we have to make sure that we maximize the potential of our soil as a welcoming home for our plants and their roots.

Loosening Subsoil Benefits Plants • Subsoil contains micro-nutrients that are not always available elsewhere. • Subsoil can act as a reservoir for moisture. • Roots and beneficial insects can enter the area more easily and continue loosening and aerating your garden. Although double digging is time and work intensive, it is a thorough and effective way of loosening subsoil.

How to Double Dig 1. Using a shovel or spade, dig out your garden about a foot deep. Pile all this soil in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp near by for later use. 2. Using a pitch fork or pick ax, pry downward, loosening the exposed substrate. 3. Add soil supplement. 4. Return the excavated soil from your wheelbarrow to the trench, filling it to ground level.

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2.10 BUILDING YOUR BEDS Amir utilizes raised beds as its model for gardening because they create clear boundaries for areas where crops are planted, making it less likely for campers and staff to trample plants.

Materials • Shovels, both hand shovels and regular shovels • Work gloves • Closed toed shoes

Instructions 1. Using shovels, dig out the topsoil from the areas surrounding the beds and toss it on the recently tilled beds. Do not dig deeper than 4 inches around the beds. The land must remain relatively level. This will create your walkways. 2. Continue piling soil on beds until they are roughly 8 inches tall. 3. Using your hands and spades, break up any large clumps of soil and remove any stones from the bed. The finished bed should have gently sloping sides and a level top. 4. Rake all walkways so that they are smooth, flat, and clearly defined. 5. Using your hands, sculpt each bed so that is smooth, flat, and firm.

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Unit 3: Implementation You were intentional in your design and thoughtful in your planning. You understand the plant and what it needs to grow. It is time to create its home. The sweat you will drip as you dig and mix in your rich soil will transform into fruitful plants. Follow through on your plan and engage your community. Working together, communicating, and cooperating will yield beautiful, healthy plants and minds. -David Fox, Founder Framing Questions:

1. How can you train yourself to listen to what the garden is asking, and respond in kind? 2. How do you combine the cognitive and “hands-on� aspects of building your garden? 3. How do you cope when problems arise in implementing your plans?

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3.1 THE PROCESS

Step 1: Soil Delivery

Step 2: Raking

Step 3: Staking Out

Step 4: Build

Good soil is essential to any garden’s growth.

Mark with string where you want your beds.

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Rake the soil flat so that it is evenly distributed across the entire space. Break up any large clumps, leaving your soil light and fluffy.

Build your beds. Make sure you have ample space for pathways!


3.2 PLANTING Helpful Hints 1. Get the bed damp beforehand. 2. Make sure you have a nice layer of compost on top to soak up the water. 3. Supervise a number of people planting at once – everyone should be involved.

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3.3 FALL HARVEST Essential to our project’s success is how well we can maintain our gardens after campers leave. We are missing a piece of our educational mission if we allow our gardens’ produce to go to waste. To be the best educators and role models we can be, we must embody all that we teach. It is vital that you execute with your local food justice partner organization.

Recommended Fall Planting Cycle

Phase I & III

Phase II

Phase I & III

Phase I: Fast growing crops that prefer cooler weather – like lettuce, radish, spinach, chard, collards, kale. Plant these at the start of the season and harvest in early August. Phase II: Long season crops that thrive in full summer weather will stay in the ground throughout the growing season and will be ready to harvest toward the end of camp. Tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, melons, and corn all fit this description. Phase III: Cooler weather crops to replace Phase I after harvest. These crops – such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and kale, last well into October.

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3.4 MULCHING As you start thinking about how your garden can expand into future years, one of the best ways to build nutritious soil is by creating a sheet mulch bed. Build your bed at the end of the camp season and by next summer, you will have deep, amazing soil.

• Clear the grass of your proposed bed area, either by mowing it down or by clearing it with a hoe. • Lay down a weed suppressing, organic material over the whole area of your future bed. This material should be a slow decomposer, like corrugated cardboard or recycled newspaper (if using newspaper, it should be ten pieces thick). • After your whole area is covered, add a second layer of nitrogen rich organic waste, such as kitchen scraps or manure. This layer should be an inch thick. • Add a layer of carbon-based mulch, such as wood chips, straw, or leaves. • This layer should also be about an inch thick.

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3.5 COMPOSTING Composting is one of the most fascinating aspects of gardening. It is a process that takes items from the waste stream to create one of the essential building blocks to produce more food: soil. Composting is a simple process that greatly increases the productivity and sustainability of your garden. It is a great tool for learning about our responsibility to the Earth and the lifecycle, and it can change how we perceive what we once thought of as “garbage.”

Building your Composting Unit Materials • Flexible chicken wire • Cardboard • Metal twisty ties • Hose

• Shovel

• Work Gloves • Hammer

• Wire cutters

• Metal stakes

Steps 1. Identify a location for your composting site. You will want to pick a location that is easily accessible by wheelbarrow and close to your garden site. You will need to allocate at least a 6’ x 6’ area. 2. Dig out the grass and weeds from your composting site. Make sure to remove all grass and its roots so that it does not grow back. 3. Hammer metal stakes in each corner of your composting area. 4. Wrap wire around stakes, making sure that it is taut. Attach wire to stakes. 5. Cut wire and enclose the area. Be careful when handling the chicken wire and remember to wear gloves.

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3.5 COMPOSTING DEFINITION: Composting is the natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic material into a humus-rich soil amendment.

A Pioneer’s Warning: Message from Dan Buoniauto To make a composting program successful, you need more than some compost bins and food waste: you need to create a culture of composting. The greatest obstacles to this are infrastructure and awareness. Often, composting plans are ambitious and do not fit well within the existing camp culture. For instance, the first summer I established a composting system at Ramah New England, each table got a compost bin and put its scraps in it after every meal. Within four days, the compost pile at the garden was completely full, and campers had to return to throwing food away. While campers did contribute to a great batch of compost for the garden, they only spent one of four weeks at camp composting. Set reasonable goals. Try starting with a few meals a week, or a different bunk every day. It is best if your composting increases as time goes on rather than decreases. Get the kitchen staff on board! If they are excited about it, they can make your system take off. Composting should not be something that is forced on your camp or that adds more work for an already very busy kitchen staff. Rather, it is a great way to encourage campers and to further perpetuate a community devoted to the pursuit of environmental stewardship!

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3.5 COMPOSTING Crash Course in Composting Most composting “ingredients” fall under one of two categories: “browns” or “greens.” Browns are dry materials such as wood chips, dried leaves, grass, and other plants. Greens are fresh, moist materials such as grass cuttings and food scraps (excluding meats and fats). 1. Collect as many browns and greens as you can to start your compost pile. Larger piles tend to hold moisture better and decompose faster. 2. Place approximately equal amounts of browns and greens in a heap or bin. Always cover food scraps with other composting materials. 3. Soak well with water to create uniform dampness (damp as a wrung-out sponge). Cover the pile with a tarp or other material to keep moisture in and to prevent oversoaking from rain.

For quicker composting (1-3 months) • • • •

Chop materials into smaller pieces and moisten Alternate 3” to 6” layers of greens and browns Mix the pile by turning and stirring Soak the pile once a week

For slower composting (3-6 months plus)

• Just keep adding materials to the pile or bin and sprinkling it with water. It’s that simple!

Troubleshooting

• Odors? Turn and add brown materials • Dry pile? Add water, greens and mix • Fruit flies? Stir and add leaves or grass

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3.5 COMPOSTING Compost Warnings Old Seeds Sprout Again Hay and grass clippings can be great additions to a compost pile, but beware. If these materials are holding their seeds, you may inadvertently plant a crop of weed seeds when you add to your compost. Compost temperatures of 130-145 degrees will kill weed seeds, which is doable in a well-constructed composter. You can add “greens� (nitrogen rich material) to get the pile sizzling.

Adding Water Your compost pile should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge. It is important to put your pile in direct sunlight so that it will heat up and decompose faster. However, if your pile is drying out, you may need to add water or add wet materials (leafy greens, etc.) to your pile. We recommend running a hose over your pile and mixing it until you arrive at a sponge like feeling.

Turning Unturned compost will keep all of its nutrients, which results in a richer, finished product. However, turning compost might prevent the noxious stench often associated with these piles. This stench results from your organic material decaying anaerobically (without exposure to air). Turning your pile can also speed up the decomposition process and helps to evenly distribute material and heat throughout the pile. Turning too much, though, will release heat and slow down the decomposition process.

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3.5 COMPOSTING Composting Troubleshooting Table Concern Possible Causes Solution Rotten Odor Excess moisture Turn pile; add dry, porous (anaerobic conditions) materials such as leaves, sawdust, woodchips, or straw Compaction Turn pile or make smaller Ammonia Odor Too much green Add brown (carbon) (nitrogen) material, such as leaves, woodchips, or straw Low pile temperature

Pile too small

Make pile bigger or insulate sides

Insufficient moisture Add water while turning pile or cover top Poor aeration Turn pile Lack of greens (nitrogen) Mix in green sources such as grass clippings, manure, or food scraps Cold weather Increase pile size or insulate pile with an extra layer of material, such as straw High Pile Temperature

Pile too large

Reduce pile size

Insufficient ventilation Turn pile Pests Presence of meat or fatty Remove meat and fatty foods food scraps from pile; cover with layer of soil, leaves, or sawdust; use an animal-proof compost bin; turn pile to increase temperature

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Unit 4: Tending & Maintenance You take care of yourself, right? You need to eat, you need to drink, and sometimes you need to be helped in the right direction. Trellis your tomatoes so they can grow straight toward the sun; turn your compost to create a welcoming learning environment; guard your plants from deer and other pests. Please make sure that you have Nana mint ready for tea when I visit. -Josh Goldberg, Co-Founder Framing Questions:

1. What are the branches in your own life that you want to prune? 2. Who has provided you trellises of support throughout your life? 3. How do you know when something in your own life is ripe for harvest? 4. What is the most valuable way for you to use your garden’s produce?

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4.1 TRELLISING Many kinds of plants need help for their structural support. Some plants, like pole beans, need to climb on something in order to grow. Others, like cucumbers, will spread over the ground but can be trained to climb vertically in order to best utilize garden space. Below are some recommended designs for trellising that you might want to try:

Comments: Tying tomatoes to a stake can help them grow straight and tall. Make sure to adjust your ties as the tomato grows.

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4.2 PRUNING Pruning is done to remove parts of the plant that are no longer useful. Pruning can be a form of art if it is done well and results in healthier, more attractive specimen. Below are some functional reasons for pruning:

Improve overall health Frequently removing old stems encourages a plant to put energy into new growth, keeping the plant young.

Control or direct new growth Each cut will stop the plant’s growth in one direction and redirect it in another. This guides the shape and size of the plant.

Prevent the spread of disease Removing dead or damaged branches will decrease the chance of disease entering through dead wood and spreading throughout the plant.

Increase the number and quality of fruit, flowers, & foliage Pruning at the right time and in the right places can increase the number of stems produced by the plant and thus increase its yield.

Allow light to reach inner and lower leaves It is important to thin dense growth periodically to improve overall shape and health.

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4.3 WEEDING A weed is a generic term for any unwanted plant that grows in your garden. Weeds are usually hardy plants that grow quickly and spread rapidly. Removing weeds is absolutely must to a garden’s health. Not only can weeds be unsightly that turn your garden into a shaggy mess, but they also compete with your crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water while potentially sheltering insects and diseases. There are different methods for removing weeds, depending on where you find them in your garden. If you find them in your beds, the best way to remove weeds is to lightly moisten the soil and to pluck them out by hand, grabbing the base of the weed to get as much of the root system out as possible. This will stunt or prevent it from re-growing. Weeds can also sprout in your walkways and around the edges of your garden. To remove these, take a garden hoe or shovel and dig deep to remove the weed from its roots. Rake over the space and ensure that it is flat and weedless!

Supplies • Plastic buckets

• Watch

• Gardening gloves

• Music (optional)

Steps 1. Break campers into multiple groups and give each group a bucket 2. Instruct campers on proper weeding and gardening etiquette 3. There are two options for this activity: • Old Country Weed-off: Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, encouraging each group to weed as much as they can before the timer is up. • Freeze Weeds: Play music for the campers encouraging them to weed, but to “freeze” when the music stops. Anyone who keeps weeding is out and gets to help the counselors find campers who don’t freeze. Prize awarded at the end.

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4.4 WATERING On a certain level, growing plants is pretty simple; provide your plants with sunlight, soil, water, and love and most likely they will yield fruit! Yet, as a gardener, you know it is more nuanced than that‌how we deliver these resources to our plants will determine how well they grow. Knowing the proper techniques for watering and the different water requirements of each of your plants will ensure a plentiful harvest.

Watering Tips 1. Try to set your hose to a setting that is not too hard, but that is not a mist . The shower setting on your hose is usually ideal. 2. Stand close to your plants (within 2 or 3 feet) when watering them. Watering plants from a great distance increases the amount of water that is blown away by the wind or that lands on an area that is not your bed. 3. Water twice/day; water in the morning and evening, when the sun is low and the temperature is cooler. This will prevent water from evaporating as you water your plants. Plants’ roots are more receptive to water at this time. 4. Water the roots of the plants and not the leaves. This will allow more water to seep into the soil, nourishing your plants, and will prevent some diseases that can be caused by wet leaves. 5. Put your finger in the soil to check the moisture. If you find the soil is dry, water the plants more. You might need to water multiple times a day if the temperatures get very hot.

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4.5 PEST CONTROL For many farmers, pest control can occupy all of their mental space. It becomes an obsessive cat and mouse game, similar to the obsession of an Elmer Fud and Bugs Bunny cartoon. We want to protect our gardens, and this section will discuss some tools and techniques to convince pests that there are other places they’d rather be than snacking on your garden beds:

Mark your Territory

A great way to dissuade pests from inhabiting your garden is to convince them that there are other predators hanging around. The scents of most predators are for sale at your local garden center or online for a very reasonable price. Depending on your pest, you can buy bottles of coyote, fox, wolf, bear, or mountain lion urine to mark the territory of your garden just as a predator would.

Pests Don’t Like People and Chaos

Animals find human smells to be confusing and unnerving. Here are a few tips to keep pests on their toes…. Human Hair: Any one of your campers getting a haircut? Gather as much hair as you can and keep it in a breathable container (i.e. women’s panty-hose). Lining the outskirts of your garden with this hair will keep animals out! Hanging Soap: Hanging bars of scented soap will convince many pests to avoid your garden (and can even be incorporated into an art project!) Make sure you use biodegradable soap, so you do not risk hurting your soil. The Pesach Mix: The Capital District Community Gardens in Washington D.C. recommends spraying a mixture of 1 gallon of water: 1 egg directly on plants once a week or following a rain event. Doing this will keep deer out. Hanging CDs: As they turn in the wind, they reflect light all around your garden, giving the impression of swift (and predatory) movement. This technique is especially geared toward pillaging birds. Scarecrows: While we are not entirely sure about a scarecrows effectiveness for pest control, building them is fun and engaging for you participants. The scarecrow fashion show is always a big hit, and at the very least, it is something from which to hang your CDs.

Insect Pests

Up until now, we have mostly discussed techniques for handling mammalian vermin. However, smaller pests can be equally devastating to your crops. Colonies of ants often take up residence in garden beds. You may also notice other pests like hornworms, cabbageworms, flea beetles, and aphids. An easy and safe way to clear out these pests is to spray the plants with a diluted mixture of cayenne pepper and garlic in water. Others recommend sprinkling ground cayenne on plant leaves directly after rain to deter these chewing insects from landing. These sprays should be applied regularly, especially after rainfall.

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4.5 PEST CONTROL Colonies of ants often take up residence in garden beds. You may also notice other pests like hornworms, cabbageworms, flea beetles, and aphids. An easy and safe way to clear out these pests is to spray the plants with a diluted mixture of cayenne pepper and garlic in water. Others recommend sprinkling ground cayenne on plant leaves directly after rain to deter these chewing insects from landing. These sprays should be applied regularly, especially after rainfall.

Hot Sauce Spray • 6 cloves of garlic • 1 Tbsp dried hot pepper • 1 minced onion • 1 tsp pure soap (not detergent) • 1 gallon hot water • Blend & let sit for 1-2 days Ground cayenne or red hot pepper can also be sprinkled on the leaves of plants (apply when the leaves are slightly damp) to repel chewing insects.

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Unit 5: The Garden as an Educational Tool Your community garden is a beautiful classroom. You will have the opportunity to teach and learn with campers in an informal setting, and let the Earth serve as your greatest educator. The purpose and intentionality with which you designed, built, implemented, and cared for your garden will set the tone for your educational space. Make the garden a comfortable space for learning, and your campers will be diligent students of the Earth. -Alex Goldfarb, Amir Recruitment Coordinator (2011 – 2014) Framing Questions:

1. What rituals might you undertake upon entering, working in, or leaving your garden? 2. How will you make the garden an open and creative thinking space? 4. What do you hope to learn from your garden?

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5.1 SIGN MAKING Making signs is a great way to bring your participants into conversation with the garden.

Here are some suggestions: • Signs marking beds and identifying crops. • Signs with inspirational quotes, literature, or about nature. • Signs with thought questions for the garden. Imagine that you’re walking around a garden for the first time. As you pass by all the plants, some questions may arise: Are these all the same plant or different? Can I eat these? What types of fruit or vegetable do these produce? Making clear, colorful, and informative signs can help answer these questions and guide people as they explore the garden.

Materials • pieces of plywood (smaller for vegetable/fruit labels, larger for quotes) • 2.5 foot wooden stakes • hammer • 1 inch nails • rubber mallet

• acrylic paint • various sized paint brushes • water cups • pencils • tarp or protective covering for tables

Steps

1. Set up paint, paintbrushes, water cups, and any other art supplies on the tarp or protective covering before campers arrive. 2. Split campers into groups; assign each group the task of creating signs for various plants in the garden. 3. Give signs time to dry. 4. Either by yourself or with the assistance of staff, hammer the finished plywood signs onto the wooden stakes. Make sure that all nails are flush to the stake! 5. Using the mallet, hammer signs into the beds near their crop (might be a fun activity to do with campers). 6. All other signs can be hung on the fence surrounding your garden or staked wherever you’d like.

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5.2 HARVESTING It is the moment you’ve been waiting for – it is time to reap the rewards of your hard work and fruits of your labor. For the most part, you will know when it is time to harvest, but here are a few general tips for harvesting.

Vegetable Size One of the fallacies about harvesting is that bigger is better. There is always the temptation to keep your vegetables growing long enough to wait for that “trophy photo” with your giant crops. However, often the smaller, younger vegetables produce a tastier crop while crops that stay “on the vine” too long can crack or become bitter and woody. Harvesting fruit crops (tomatoes, squash, peppers etc.) early in the plant cycle will also stimulate more fruit growth for the plant.

Root Vegetables It is hard to evaluate vegetable maturity if you cannot actually see the vegetable. Root vegetables – like carrots, beets, and radishes – will push themselves or “peek up” when they are ready, exposing the top of their vegetable mass. To harvest root vegetables, make sure you dig your fingers down into the soil to grab the vegetables rather than pulling it out by its leaves.

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5.2 HARVESTING Harvesting Cont. As we touched on a bit earlier in the manual, some plants – like lettuce, chard, collards, spinach and kale – are conducive for a “cut and come again” approach. Rather than chopping the whole plant, remove only the outer leaves. In about a week, the plant will have reestablished itself and you will be ready to repeat the harvesting process.

One and Done

Cut and Come Again

Harvesting is a natural activity that wonderfully engages campers. Make sure to demonstrate the act of harvesting before you give campers free reign to “pick away.” Harvesting, if taught properly, can be a nurturing process for both the camper and plant.

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5.3 SHADE STRUCTURES You may want to incorporate a gathering space in your garden. Building a shade structure – a zula or summer sukkah – is a great project when there is not much gardening to do. The sukkah can serve as a great teaching point about shelter and connection to Jewish tradition, and you could also try to incorporate living walls by planting “climbing plants” (i.e. beans) around it. Make sure to receive permission from your camp director before taking on a shade structure project. Only build with proper supervision.

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AMIR GARDEN TIMELINE Before you arrive at camp: □ Soil delivered □ Site tilled and cleared □ Pre-Camp: □ □ Week 1: □ □ Week 2: □ □ Week 3: □ □ Week 4: □ □ Week 5: □ □ Week 6: □ □ Week 7: □ □ Week 8: □ □

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□ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □


GARDENING CLUES Soil Settles

Be aware that after you are finished preparing your site with supplemental soil and have mixed it all up, your soil will settle. After it rains (or you water the site) the soil will go down a couple of inches. This has implications for planting! Make sure that when you plant, you take into account the settling of soil.

Tuck Plants to Bed

If plants are not properly introduced and integrated to your garden’s soil, they will not grow. When you take a starter plant out of its box, you must be sure to plant it about 6’’ in the ground, mixing it with the surrounding soil. After doing so, make sure the ground is flat so water can properly puddle at its base. Also, remember to pat down on the plant’s base to take into account the eventual settling of your mixed soil. Think of it as tucking your plants to bed!

Watering

When you plant seeds or starter plants, you may want to water twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. When your seeds/starters mature to strong plants, feel free to water them once a day (preferably at night). Remember, do not water during the day, it is wasteful. Watering during the day uses 40% more water than watering at night. When watering, make sure that you are spraying the plants and not dousing them with water. All plants should be watered so that there is a little puddle at its base (roots). Make sure the hose does not make divots in the soil because you will be left with poor water collection by the roots.

Plants Will Die

No matter how experienced of a gardener you are, part of the process is losing plants for a variety of reasons. Do not worry if some of your plants die. You can buy more. While you should strive to have a yield of 100% success, it is reasonable to expect closer to a 75% yield. Here are some common reasons why your plants may die: • When you take the starter plant out of the package, its roots and soil may not be solidified and you consequently lose the plant’s potting soil/base. • You did not plant the plant deep enough in the ground. Soil settled and the plant is no longer sitting in a cozy foundation of soil and fertilizer. It therefore cannot properly root itself. • You planted the plant too deep! Remember to keep all of the plants’ leaves above ground so they can capture the sun’s energy. Plant only up to the stem. • Not enough water. • Not harvested/pruned; plants need space for their flowers and vegetables to grow. Flowers need to be continually pruned.

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COMMON CROPS AND DETAILS

TOMATO

We get many questions about tomato colors. So here is a quick summary of appearance: Bi-color tomatoes will have two colors on the skin, usually but not always red and yellow/ gold. • Black tomatoes are red tomatoes tinted dark brown. • Gold tomatoes are mid-way between yellow and orange. • Green fruits should be harvested when skins have some yellowing, though flesh remains green when ripe. Orange tomatoes are just that, though some have a burnt orange coloring. • Pink tomatoes are usually red with a pink tint. • Purple tomatoes are red tomatoes with a purple tint. • White fruits are usually ivory to a pale, pale yellow. • Yellow tomatoes range from light lemon to nearly golden. I = Indeterminate (subject to pruning, maybe the first 5-6 bottom suckers) D = Determinate (never, ever prune if you want tomatoes. Hint: D means DON’T!) Semi-D = Semi-determinate (try not to prune, please, if you want tomatoes)

HOW TO GROW YOUR TOMATOES

Plant in full sun, any less than 6-hours a day will result in NO fruit. Soils should be well-drained and amended with compost before transplanting. Set the plant deep into the soil, leaving about 2” above the soil line. Any leaves that are below ground should be cut off first. Setting transplants this deep leads to the development of a stronger, earlier root system that will better support later, greater fruit production. Transplants should be spaced every 2-2.5’ apart. Crowding your plants leads to lower fruit production, more diseases, and more bugs. Tomatoes are self-pollinators, with fertilization usually occurring while the blossoms are still closed. Do not water the foliage, as this practice leads to foliage diseases. Instead, water the soil, making sure that there is moisture at least 6” deep when finished. Morning watering is more beneficial to the plan than evening watering. However, water whenever you see your plants wilting, but make sure to water the soil. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so add compost to your soil generously throughout the plant’s life. Wait for the soil to warm up to regular summertime temperature, then mulch around the plant, adding about 4” of mulch, which will help conserve water, even out the fluctuations of soil temperatures, and serves as a vector for diseases. As your plant grows, it begins to set out additional branches at the base of established branches. These are called “suckers.” To aid in good air flow, remove suckers. Cheek plants frequently for bugs, both on top and under leaves. Handpick off tomato hornworms and use a hard spray of water to knock down aphids. Eat lots of tomatoes and celebrate with friends…Enjoy!

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PEPPER

When 2 days are noted, first day is initial immature pepper color, second day is ripe color from transplanting. All are Capsicum annuum unless noted otherwise. Ornamentals available all season. Peppers are transplanted when soils and night temperatures are warm. Soil should be fertile with abundant calcium and phosphorous and well-drained. Full sun. Space transplants 12-18” apart and rows 24-36” apart. If placing out when early season weather is cool at night, cover plants with a floating row cover. Mulch soil when warmed to help moderate temperature and moisture fluctuations. Excess nitrogen will cause plants to be vigorously leafy with few flowers. Hot and cold temperature fluctuations and low calcium availability during blossoming can also lead to low fruit production. If hot peppers and sweet peppers are grown very near each other, the new seeds in each may become hot due to cross pollination – but the flesh of the pepper is not affected.

EGGPLANT

Transplant 18-24” apart with rows 30-36” apart after danger of frost is past and soil is warm. Full sun. Cover with floating row cover until Colorado potato beetle and flea beetle pressure slackens. Flea beetles leave those little round holes in leaves and will eat the entire delicate eggplant seedling unless they are excluded by the floating row cover. The cover can be left on until the plants are starting to flower or about a month, if necessary. Regularly check under leaves for the orange egg masses of the Colorado potato beetle – and mash ‘em! Giving plants extra nitrogen results in bushy plants and little fruit-set. To harvest clip the fruit stem with shears regularly to encourage further fruit production.

KALE

Place transplants 20-24” apart with rows 18-30” apart. Treat like cabbages for growing. Consistent watering will produce better plants. Smaller leaves, under 12” long, are the tastiest. Larger leaves become tougher. Pick the lower, older leaves first. Leaves become much sweeter when “kissed” by frost. They can be harvested until early winter.

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CUCUMBER

Place transplants 6-12” apart with 3-5 ft. between rows. If desired, weaker plant can be cut off when transplanting, but do not separate them or disturb their fragile roots. Do not transplant until soil is warm. Soil should be rich and well drained. Full sun. Avoid excess nitrogen, unless of course you like very bitter fruits. Keep consistently watered, but not soggy. Except for “bush” type plants, cucumbers can be trellised. Use floating row covers to protect from cucumber beetles until plants begin to set flowers. Fruits should be harvested every 2-3 days to promote higher production. Cucumber plants cannot withstand any frosts. The seedlings are fussy and delicate. Be gentle.

SUMMER SQUASH

Space bushy varieties 3-4’ apart and vining varieties 4-5’ apart with rows 6’ or more apart. The weaker plant can be cut off when transplanting, if desired, but do not separate if there is more than 1 plant in a pot. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Tear off any part of the peat pot that is above-ground so that dry air does not wick down into the soil, thus preventing roots to grow into the soil. Do not tear off the remainder of the peat pot. Soils should be loose, warm and well-draining. Using high nitrogen results in many large leaves, vigorous vines, and few flowers/fruits. Amend the soil with compost before transplanting. Cover the young seedlings with floating row cover to protect them from cucumber beetles and squash bugs, removing once blossoming begins. Harvest frequently when the squashes are small. Larger squashes become seedy and pithy. Summer squashes produce both male and female flowers. Insect pollination is necessary to get squashes, unless you hand-pollinate. Several varieties can be used as a summer squash or allowed to grow out further and serve as a winter squash. Summer squash can be planted through the end of July and still produce fruit in this area.

BROCCOLI and BROCCOLETTI

Broccoli can be closely spaced together, as little as 8” apart with rows 18-36” apart. Better spacing is 12-16” apart in the row. They prefer full sun, even and ample moisture and well drained fertile soil. Broccoli is a heavy feeder. Not at all drought or heat tolerant, growing best in cool weather. Mulch the soil heavily right before the onset of hot weather. Harvest when the beads (baby flower buds) are tightly packed together. Most open pollinated varieties will then set numerous side-shoots, which are very tender. Broccoli raab or broccoletti, a cousin to broccoli, is harvested much sooner. Spacing is 4-6” apart. Harvest just as the buds are starting to open and take several of the leaves below as well. Side shoots will develop. Same culture as broccoli.

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BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Space 18-24” apart with rows 30-36” apart in early to mid-June. Earlier planting is not necessary. Needs composted, well-watered soil and full sun. Heavy feeder. Pinch out the terminal (growing tip) when buds begin to form in mid- August. This encourages the buds to size up. Sprouts will then begin to form in about 4 weeks. Harvest after frost and until end of December. Break off the leaf under the sprout and then snap off the sprout, starting from the lowest ones on the stalk. Upper sprouts continue to develop until harvested. Biennial plants will form seeds the second year.

CABBAGE and CHINESE CABBAGE

Cabbage prefers full sun, even and ample moisture and well drained fertile soil. Cabbage is a heavy feeder. Mulch the soil heavily right before the onset of hot weather, as cabbage performs better when soils are not overheated. Place transplants 12-18” apart with rows 18-36” apart.

MELON and Bitter MELON

Space transplants 12-18” apart, allowing the sprawling vines to have a 6’ center. Melons can also be trellised, but larger fruits may need a “sling” to support their weight. The weaker plant can be cut off when transplanting but do not separate. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Tear off any part of the peat pot that is above-ground so that dry air does not wick down into the soil, thus preventing roots to grow into the soil. Do not tear off the remainder of the peat pot. Soils should be loose, warm and welldraining. Melons do not perform well in peat-based soils and in muck or heavy clay soils. Amend soil with compost before setting out transplants. When ripe, most melons will “slip” from the vine. Press your thumb at the base of the stem attached to the melon. Ripe melons also have a “ripe” odor. Flavor develops in the last 2 weeks before harvest. Do a “sun dance” as melons lose flavor in wet, cool and cloudy weather.

BEANS LIMA BEANS, and COWBEANS

4” apart in full sun and warm soil that is well-drained. Apply fertilizer after the first 2 weeks but never later than 3 weeks, or you will get leafy, non-productive plants. In deep heat flowers may not set. Pick frequently when pods are small and seeds have not developed to encourage more flower production. Never touch when plants are wet to avoid spread of diseases. Also avoid watering in the evenings. Mulching helps stop splashing of dirt onto the plants and keeps beans clean.

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CROP SCENE CHECKLIST Crop Name

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Number Planted

Plants Remaining


Damage

Comments/Notes

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CROP DATES AND YIELD Crop name

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Date Planted

Dates to Harvest

Yield (lbs.)


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 1 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

Comments

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GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 2 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

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Comments


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 3 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

Comments

63


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 4 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

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Comments


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 5 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

Comments

65


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 6 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

66

Comments


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 7 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

Comments

67


GARDEN PATROL CHECKLIST

Week 8 Name: Topic

Questions

1. Growth

"Have the plants grown? How tall are they? What stage are they at? Are there any fruit or seeds?”

2. Health

"Are they looking well? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Are any plants wilting or stunted? Are there fallen leaves, eaten leaves, yellow leaves, fungus?”

3. Pests

"What insects/worms/animals are around? What signs are there? What are they doing? Is anything being attacked by pests? (Take a sample)”

4. Soil/water

Is the soil dry? Which plants or beds need water? Is anything too wet?

5. Mulching

Is everything well mulched? Where do we need more mulch?

6. Protection

How good is our protection against predators (fences, hedges, walls, scarecrows)?

7. Wind and sun

Are any plants getting too much wind, sun or shade?

8. Space

Are any plants overcrowded? Do any plants need thinning/transplanting?

9. Weeds

Are there a lot of weeds near the plants?

10. Support

Do any plants need training up, tying up, spreading out?

11. Hygiene

What needs tidying up, burning, cutting back, cutting down?

12. Compost/ Mulch

How good are our supplies of compost and mulch?

68

Comments


Letter From The Founder I created Amir because I fell in love with informal education after my three-years as a camp counselor. When I attended camp as a child, I didn’t quite realize what was happening to me educational and socially. When I was 20-years old, though, I realized that while I learned a lot in the classroom, my sprit, emotional fortitude, and social consciousness grew exponentially while I was at summer camp. Amir began with the dream of building multiple camps dedicated to our mission of creating an environmentally conscious and socially just future. The camps would have huge, awesome farms that kids would work in. We’d use the farm as a conduit to express how the Earth is our greatest common denominator, and to learn that no matter our physical, intellectual, religious, etc. differences, we are all one of the same and part of a larger challenge to create a sustainable and healthy world. Camp was the medium to tap into a child’s heart and mind, and to channel their energy for good. I piloted the project in 2010, and it became immediately clear that this project should spread like wildfire throughout. Today, I’m honored to lead this incredible organization that now helps twenty-three (23) summer camps build social-action Amir Gardens. All of you Farmers that are using this Sourcebook (and reading this letter) have a great challenge ahead of you. You can look at it as though this summer is your personal project and challenge, and that would be fine. But if you ask me, your challenge is much greater. First, you have to commit yourself to a life of the pursuit of justice. There are multiple ways to accomplish this, of course, but that is of utmost importance to me. Second, you have to transmit this philosophy to your campers and fellow staff. We have to be committed – within ourselves, and throughout our actions – to building a more environmentally conscious and socially just world. You have the opportunity to impact the hearts and minds of over two-hundred people this summer. More powerful than being a bunk counselor is that you get to see almost every child this summer. Reach them. Teach them. Change them. We need you to do this. That’s why you’re here with Amir, that’s why the camps sign up for our program, that’s why Amir staff is here, and that’s what the campers really want. They want the permission to be Agents of Social Change. Give them that permission. Enlighten, Inspire, and Empower them to change the world. In doing so, YOU will be changing the world. Best of luck for a great summer 2014, and I look forward to sharing this life’s journey with each of you. Sincerely, David M. Fox

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2014 garden manual  
2014 garden manual  
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