Tips

How to Raise Your Own Chickens

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How to Raise Your Own Chickens | SUN, FEB 14 & 28, 2016 | 1:00–3:30PM

IMG_5063Lafayette resident, “Papa John” Kiefer, will again be offering
workshops that will include raising young chicks, laying hen maintenance, and sustainable coop construction.

There will be two FREE workshops offered and these will be held in Lafayette from 1:00PM to 3:30PM.

  • Sunday, February 14, 2016
  • Sunday, February 28, 2016

Reservations are required | Contact: jhkiefer@comcast.net

Spring Garden Classes!

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It’s almost spring and we are starting a new season of classes at the garden to educate, inspire and entertain you while you learn more ways to celebrate nature!

Sunday March 30 – 3:00 to 4:30pm
Big Gardens In Small Spaces: Container Gardening

Please join us for the first class of 2014 with Lori Caldwell, certified Master Gardner Composter and a favorite teacher at the Community Garden. If you have small space or want to grow your own food without being overwhelmed by a big garden, this is the class for you. Topics such as types of containers, maintaining soil fertility, best plants for container gardens, watering and crop rotation will be covered. It’s a great way to start a garden or add on to maximize your existing garden possibilities. We have scheduled this class for March so you’ll be able to get your containers ready for spring planting.

We’ll meet rain or shine at the Lafayette Community Garden on Mt Diablo Boulevard across from the Lafayette Reservoir. A $5 donation per person to support our education programs is appreciated but not required. Register for our classes here.

Sheet Mulching!

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Last weekend we got a good lesson on sheet mulching from Lori Caldwell in our first Outdoor Learning class of the year. Now we are putting that lesson to good use under the oak trees in our garden. First we laid down a layer of cardboard making sure not to leave any ground uncovered. Then we thoroughly soaked the cardboard and added mulch (wood chips). The transformation continues!
sheetmulching

Moraga Garden Farms

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Even if you missed the annual plant sale at Moraga Garden Farms, you can learn a lot by watching this video with Deva Rajan.  The video is by Clayton Roth.

Coccinella septempunctata!

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From out friends over at The Community Gardens website:

Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. By the end of its three-to-six-week life, a ladybug may eat some 5,000 aphids.

Read more.  Kids look here.

Ladybug

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Wild Foods

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And speaking of wild foods, here is Kim Curiel in LamorindaPatch:

My favorite thing to forage is a green that kept the 49ers alive and healthy — not the football team, but the pioneers; Miner’s Lettuce. It’s a succulent green that has easily identifiable leaves (they’re round with a small cream colored flower in the center) and has a delightful crunch. The leaves make a first rate salad.  This juicy plant grows in shady areas, usually near water and can be found in the cooler months of the year after it has rained a bit.

Around November my mouth starts watering as I contemplate the dishes I’ll make with our local gold: chanterelle mushrooms.  Sold in local stores and available at the finest restaurants, golden chanterelles grow in our shaded, live oak forests only after we’ve received four inches of rain.  This tender delicacy grows November to March. Sorry, I’m not going to give you specific spots where I’ve found them. That’s one secret I plan to keep.  But if you own a north sloped property with live oaks or know someone who does, go out and look under the duff to see if any orange/yellow mushrooms that have no gills, have emerged. Chanterelles have false gills and no defined cap.

Mushrooms need extra caution. Two mushrooms grow in our hills that are documented as the most toxic things on earth, the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel. These are both white or cream colored with gills and look nothing at all like a chantrelle.  They can both melt your liver in less than 24 hours. To survive you must get a liver transplant. Every year someone who recently migrated here from Southeast Asia dies because these mushrooms look identical to safe mushrooms that grow in their homeland.

Now where is that rain?  Check out Kim’s other posts here.

Chanterelle

Foraging in Lafayette

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Kevin Feinstein – aka ferelkevin – guided a class on edible wild plants at Sienna Ranch in Lafayette today.  See his new book here. (For some reason you need to open this post to see the links.)

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