Tilth's Little Seed Library Is Open
South Whidbey Tilth has a little seed library for the community. For a number of years a community seed swap took place in the late winter, hosted by the Sno-Isle Liibraries. The idea for the seed library came because the pandemic prevented large gatherings. Melissa Young, a film maker and a cabinet maker, built the little library. A committee of Tilth members has collected seeds and prepared a process for distributiion. Download the Seed Saving and Growing Information here. To donate seeds please contact Pam. The Seed Library is mounted on the pump house near the campus entrance.
Tilth Community Garden Plots
An incubator farm plot of a quarter acre is now available for the right tenant. This plot is the centerpiece of the Tilth gardens, and we are looking for someone who intends to farm commercially using organic growing methods and will be able to devote the necessary time to maintain the plot in excellent condition year-round. Please download this application questionnaire and email your response to each question to the land steward by November 30, 2021.
Stroll around the grounds and enjoy what individual families are doing in their gardens. No, don't eat their food, just look. If you are interested in a plot, contact Land Steward Ida Gianopulos for plot availability. If nothing is available, ask to be put on the waiting list. For more information download a copy of the 2021 Tilth Community Garden Contract. The document can be downloaed and filled out a computer. Watch for the 2022 Community Garden Contract. Present gardeners and those on the waiting list will be notified in advance.
High Yield Fruit Production Recording
Gary Ingram's March 7 workshop about fruit tree and vine pruning is available to review as a recording here until mid April. There were 34 participants to this very useful class.
Soils and Geology Lecture October 8, 2020
Paul Belanger, Tilth member, shares this link to Michael Machette's lecture about Soils and Geology in the Port Townsend area. Select Soils and Geology to view this hour-long presentation. It may migrate to the Quimper Geological Society website along with other geology lectures in the near future.
Permaculture Garden Welcomes Volunteers
South Whidbey Tilth sponsored a set of three classes taught by certified permaculture instructor Netsah Zylinsky last September. Volunteer to keep the garden at Tilth productive and learn more about Permaculture. Named the Mary Alice Kois Food Forest, the edible offerings are abundant. Contact Kristine Collins to help.
Regenerative Agriculture Puts CO2 in the Ground — Not in the Air
Learn about our work to build rich, healthy soil that sequesters carbon into the soil usng cover crops, no till cultivation and composting. See our display, The Underground Carbon Economy and download a list of resources here.
Backyard Biochar Workshop Notes from March 30, 2019
Master Gardener Tom Vincent demonstrated to a group of 16 people how to make biochar at home on Saturday, March 30. Click here for Biochar Notes.
Have you always wanted to start gardening but hesitated because your soil was terrible? Maybe it is sandier than at the beach or hard as a brick in summer? Or perhaps your soil seems sterile, bereft of natural organisms that contribute to plant health? One soil amendment that has been gaining in popularity to remedy poor soils is “biochar”. Simply put, biochar is charcoal made from organic material which is inoculated with nutrients, moisture and microbes. When added to garden soil, the porous nature of biochar allows it to hold on to moisture, nutrients, and microbes that plants need. In addition, the stable nature of charcoal means it will stay in the soil for hundreds of years, sequestering carbon in the soil, improving soil fertility, and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
Commercially made biochar is often quite expensive. However, gardeners who want to try this exciting gardening strategy to improve their soil can make biochar in their backyard. In the class students will watch a live demonstration of how to make quality biochar, simply and easily. Topics covered will include: Choice of feedstocks, Kiln design and safe burning practices. Questions may be sent to TomBiochar Demonstration Was Delicious
On the frosty morning of October 14, Tom Vincent loaded vegetation debris into a small metal barrel (retort). The retort with tiny air holes was sealed and placed inside an outer barrel (kiln). Those assembled at 9 a.m. helped prepare the biochar kiln, a top-lit up-draft stove by adding fuel. The fuel was lit from the top and covered, once the fire was burning well. Tom explained that the smoke from the top should appear as clear, shimmering air. The burn was estimated to take about two-hours.
Tom then pulled out a frying pan, duck eggs and foil-wrapped bread and potatoes to make everyone breakfast. Oh my!
Cooking was interrupted occasionally to tweak the fire so the emissions remained clear. After all, this process is a trial-and-error kind of thing. Around midday, Tom, tossed water around the burner to cool it down. Then pulled out the retort to find lovely glass-like, crunchy charcoal. Good for an artist or for its intended use — to mix into soil as an amendment. The porous structure of biochar acts as a giant sponge, holding on to nutrients that would otherwise wash away. Several pea patch plots at Tilth have been had biochar mixed into the soil as a demonstration. To follow Tom’s exploration of biochar and other functional farming experiments, visit his blog, Tinker's Blessing.
Pruning Workshop Handouts
To access Gary Ingram's February 28, 2016 pruning workshop handout, click. Also he told everyone to use Lime Sulfur to control apple andpear scab. It seems the EPA has banned the sale of this product for home use, and WSU is now telling us to use a copper based fungicide. Download this Scab Handout Gary just wrote.
Native Plant Salvage Infrastructure Is Ours
We did it! Thanks to everyone who contributed and for a $300 grant from the South Whidbey Garden Club.To get involved, Prescott (phone: 360-682-8642) with questions.
Consider how you would like to use the facility. It includes the hoop house and fenced areas with weed barrier cloth and plant bedding frames. Additionally, there are five propagation seed racks at $150 each and other miscellaneous materials (hoses, two rain-barrels and potting material). Help us design a program utilizing this wonderful resource?
If you haven't visited the upper meadow at Tilth, it is a delight. The Garry oak meadow and the forested trails of native plants are maturing. They are under the care of Tilth and have benefited from a variety of grants from NRCS-WHIP, SARE and Whidbey Island Garden Tour as well as private donors. Members of the Native Plant Stewards have played a large role implementing and guiding much of what it has become today. We welcome you to get involved with this project.
Veterans Service Corps Garden<
The Whidbey Veterans Service Corps (WVSC), a project of the Whidbey Island Veterans Resource Center (VRC), has interested military veterans preparing, planting and harvesting two pea patch plots in the South Whidbey Tilth Community Garden this growing season. This will provide veterans a place to grow some of their own vegetables, as well as provide surplus vegetables for other veterans, their families and the Good Cheer Food Bank.
Vets will have a chance to learn about and experience the beneficial and healing powers both of gardening, growing their own food, and of being of service and giving back to their community. The VSC mission is to provide opportunities, especially to younger returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, to apply military service skills and mission teamwork abilities to service projects for one another, their families and their communities; and to give back to the South Whidbey community at large.The Veteran's pea patch plots are sponsored by the WVRC and South Whidbey Tilth. Contact J.C. May for information.