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Hi everyone!!!

The beds are sleeping soundly and the garlic is safe in the ground. Now we’d like to invite you to Maloca’s first springtime prep meeting of the year. We’ll discuss seed selection, companion planting, food justice and more!

Where: Maloca Garden office at HNES 136C, York University

When: Wed. Feb. 12, 2014

1pm-2:20pm

In collaboration with you folks, we can create our own goals as the new growing season approaches. You can look forward to a dynamic mix of storytelling, theory, and applied practice in the garden. Cultivate a discussion that centres on food and food production, the session welcomes the new and the wise alike, and everyone in between!

Please RSVP at maloca.yorku@gmail.com. See you Wednesday!

Victoria for Maloca

megagarlic

Check out one of our member’s blog post on the garlic fest at Maloca last week. Thanks a lot for the nice pictures :) We had a good time!

http://geographer70.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/maloca-garlic-festival/

July at Maloca

July was very productive at Maloca. We enjoyed delicious the taste of sweet peas and the sight of beautiful flowers.

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We also had a visit from a mother and baby deer. We have now proof that they like our garden for a snack. They also enjoyed the sweet peas, but we nice enough to leave us some :P Most of our fenced were successful, but they sometimes managed to chew on the tip of the plants that were higher than the fences.

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The most amazing changes in July were the squashes. From little seedlings, they grew into massive climbing plant which flowered and even started to produce fruits. We ate our first zucchinis and continue to watch our squashes grow before our eyes.

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Coming up at Maloca: Garlic Fest. We are going to harvest all our garlic in the next days!

This year at Maloca, we started a new communal herb garden. The old one was invaded by mint and lemon balm, which are fighting for the territory.  The new garden has better diversity, thanks to one of our members who generously donated some seedlings. We also transplanted some plants from different areas of the garden. At this time of year, most herbs are in full growth and we need to make the most of it. The more often you harvest your herbs, the more they produce. If you can’t keep up with eating your herbs fresh, dry some for the winter. All you need to do is cut some fresh stems with leaves and bunch them with twine. Just leave the bunches upside down in a dry space for a couple of weeks and you’ll be able to keep the dried herbs for a really long time.

 

In our “old” herb garden, we have some lemon balm. A member of the mint family, lemon balm expands quickly and is very productive. As its name tells us, lemon balm has a lemony taste and is delicious in iced tea. Dried, it can be used in tea all year around.

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We chose to transform a bed that used to be an individual plot into a communal plot because of the beautiful garden sage bush. The opportunity to share sage with all our members is the main reason we created this new garden. Sage has woody stems at the base of the plant, but grows fresh stems which are easily snipped by hand. Fresh growths are fragrant and contain higher concentrations of oils. Your hands will smell like sage after every harvest. Sage is good with meat and fish and can easily be dried and crushed to season most meals.

 

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Chives grow pretty much everywhere at Maloca. We tried to relocate our healthy plants in the new herb garden, and they did well in their new home. Chives are in the same family as onions and garlic. The leaves and flowers are edible and taste like onions. You can season every meal with chives, either fresh or cooked. You can also make pesto when you have a good amount of chives. Watch out for onion breath, though!

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Oregano is another invasive herb. It grows roots when the stems reach back down to the ground so oregano will run everywhere. We have oregano growing in our grass paths. Old stems become woody, so try to harvest fresh growths often. Fresh oregano is primordial in Italian cooking.

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Cilantro (or Coriander) is an herb that is both enjoyed for its leaves and seeds. In cooking, cilantro is the name of the leaves and coriander is the seeds. It looks like parlsey, but taste different (more fresh, less strong). Cilantro is used fresh in Asian and South American cooking. It can be dried, but will loose its fresh taste. Harvest the leaves often, especially when the weather is dry because otherwise the plant will go to seed and the leaves will turn bitter. You can eat the flowers as well. When you leave the flowers on the plant, they will produce seeds that can be easily stored and crushed when ready to use. If your cilantro produce seeds and they fall on the ground, you will probably have new plants next year.

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Basil is an annual herb that is associated with Italian cooking. Basil is really sensitive and can be hard to grow. We lost some of you plants during the frost, but our lemon basil survived. You will need to pinch the top of the plant to induce lateral growth and more leave production. Do not let your basil flower of it will become bitter. Pinch the flowers and eat them is salad. Harvest basil leaves right before you use it as it won’t keep for very long.

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Parsley is a hardy annual herb that do better in cool weather. Parsley has its peak of productivity in September, but you can cut some of the bigger leaves throughout the summer. It can tolerate frost so you can harvest it until the end of fall. Parsley is better fresh, but can be dried. I would rather make pesto with my parsley that drying it.IMG_0260

Catnip is a volunteer plant at Maloca as it grows everywhere just like our other weeds. Also a member of the mint family, catnip runs wild. Your cat will also go wild when it smells this fresh herb. For humans, catnip is good in tea when dried.

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June at Maloca

Spring was harsh on gardens in Toronto. The drastic changes between hot and cold days as well between rainy days and dry weather prevented seed germination and killed seedlings. At Maloca, we were lucky to have one generous member who shared her extra seedlings and we were able to sow some new seeds. Gardening is often about being able to adapt! We got rewarded by the squash germinating and growing fast in June. They will soon be ready to climb on our vertical structures (pallets and old swing set)

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Not every plants were susceptible to the spring weather, though. Our Asian greens thrived! We got to harvest bok choy and chinese cabbage four weeks in a row. With the heat of July, they are starting to flower. We will try to save some seeds for next year.

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Our fruit bushes are also in great shape, especially the current bushes which are providing us with bountiful harvests. Their deep red colour indicate their sweetness, otherwise currents’ bitterness causes funny faces. We had enough currents to eat them fresh and also to cook with them. By adding sugar and pectin, you can make delicious jelly and jam.

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The raspberries are going to be ready in a couple of weeks. These now green fruits will turn pink for our enjoyment.

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In June, we celebrated the Summer Solstice at Maloca by sharing a potluck dinner and playing games. It was great fun and we had a chance to experience the garden with a different lighting and ambience.

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July at Maloca will be about harvesting fruits, herbs and garlic while our tomatoes and eggplant enjoy the sun and the heat to ripe in August.

June 21 is the first official day of summer and also the longest day of the year. Come and celebrate the long hours of sunlight at Maloca. We will have a potluck dinner and some lawn games (croquet, frisbee, baseball, soccer, and volleyball). The event will start at 6:30 and go on until the sun goes down.

Please RSVP at maloca.yorku@gmail.com and let us know what food and games you can bring!

P.S. We are still waiting to obtain a fire permit. If we do have York’s approval, we could have a fire and smores!

The Maloca Garden Team

Come out to the garden next Wednesday to see all the changes at Maloca and help to take care our seedlings. Join us between 11:30 and 3:30 to help plant, water, weed and harvest. We still have tomatoes looking a for a home in the communal plots. We also need to keep the weeds under control, especially around the rhubarb if we want to start harvesting in the next weeks! Some of the herbs are ready to be harvested. We will have chives, mint, lemon balm for you to bring back home. Please bring a bag!

We hope to see you in the garden this week :)

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Thanks for your support during our first seedling sale!
seedlingsale
Tomorrow is your last chance to buy organic seedlings and support Maloca Garden. Come down to Maloca between 2pm and 5pm to get basil, parsley, coriander, and cherry tomatoes. We also sell Maloca t-shirts for only 5$ :)

Hi Gardeners,

Nights are soon getting nice enough to transplant all our lovely seedlings outdoors. They have been waiting long enough to see the daylight! Join us on May 18 at 1pm for a transplanting spree. We will be transplanting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra, squash, corn, herbs, and flowers. We need a many hands as possible to make sure our seedlings don’t get disturbed for too long. Please join us and help get Maloca in full production mode!

Hi Maloca Friends,

To raise money to update our infrastructures in the garden, we will be selling seedlings on May 15 and 18. We selected plants that grow indoors and outdoors. Come to support Maloca Garden and learn more about growing your own organic food. See the poster attached for a list of seedlings available and the time and place the sale will take place.

Thank you for your support!

Maloca Garden Team

seedling sale

We have been busy building new structures in the last couple of weeks at Maloca Garden.  We started by putting up fences to protect the communal beds from animals. We are really close to the Black Creek Ravine, so a lot of animals come for a snack in the garden. Last year, we did have issues with deer eating the tops of our plants and they never really recovered. To prevent this from happening this summer, we are installing 4 feet high chicken wire fences around our beds. We do also have groundhogs as neighbours, so we dug a feet deep to install wire fences underground. We hope this will prevent animals to find their way in our beds from underneath our feet. Overground and underground protection are not completed yet, but hopefully we will be ready before we transplant our seedlings.

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Our wood raised beds also needed some attention. Some new nails allowed us to restore existing beds. We also used some salvaged wood to build new raised beds, both for the communal and individual plots. This is also a work in progress. We dug around the exiting beds, put some stake corners and nailed in the contoured wood planks. To keep the weeds (especially grass) out of our beds, we put wood ships around the structure. We then put the soil back into place and turn it at the same time. They are ready to go!

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Thanks to all who helped improving Maloca’s infrastructures. If you would like to get involved in building raised bed and fencing, you can join us on Wednesday May 8 between 11:30 and 2:00. We always need more helping hands :)

On May 4 at 2pm, we will have our raised-bed building workshop at Maloca Garden. We will work together to repair old raised-beds and learn how to build new ones.
 
Maloca does have some salvaged wood available, but if you have 2x4x8 that we could use, please bring them on Saturday!

We only have two hammers, so please bring one with you if have one.

We will use hand tools, but if you have battery power tools (especially a saw), work would go way faster!

We hope you join us on Saturday, we will provide snacks for all our volunteers!

Please RSVP at maloca.yorku@gmail.com and let us know what tools you might be bringing :)

 
See you in the garden!Image

The Maloca Garden Team

On April 22, 2013 Maloca Garden came alive once more. Gardeners of different backgrounds gathered to get the garden ready for the growing season. We did some spring cleaning and planting! Onions, beets, radishes, rutabagas, carrots, turnips, lettuce, arugula, peas, and beans are now in the ground and ready to sprout! We also pruned the raspberry bushes so we can have more productive plants. The compost was aerated to improve decomposition after the reduced activity during winter. The flower and herb gardens are now free from dead dried plants so we can have more space for more diversity. Finally, we started to protect the raised beds from animal pest. We installed some chicken wire fences, but not all the beds are fenced yet.

Thank you that all who came to help to put Maloca Garden in shape for the summer. Your participation is really appreciated!

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Maloca Garden’s next event will be a raised-bed building workshop. We are going to restore the existing wood structures and build new ones. Hopefully, we will also continue to fence our raised-beds. If you are interested in joining us for that event, stay tuned for upcoming information or email us at maloca.yorku@gmail.com and we will add you to our mailing list.

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