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Organizing a Harvest

Posted by on 3:42 am in Community, Harvests | 0 comments

You have a fruit tree. You have registered your fruit tree with us. You want the fruit off the tree and in the hands of people that need it. Each year we can not harvest a portion of all registered fruit trees. Want to know why? Want to know what to expect? Want some alternative ideas? Purpose Some fruit donors, especially new registrants who are not familiar with our work, have a reasonable expectation. They registered their fruit tree and expect the fruit to be harvested soon. We get it; and most of the time, that is exactly what we do. For...

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Beach Clean Ups vs Backyard Harvests

Posted by on 5:34 pm in Harvests, Volunteering | 0 comments

  Put on your thinking cap. What’s the difference between volunteering for beach clean up and harvesting backyard fruit? I want to point out two important differences that matter a great deal to us. Important Difference 1 No matter how many volunteers show up for the beach clean up, the work will go on. The more volunteers, the merrier. Backyard fruit harvests are less flexible. We need a minimum number of people to start a harvest, and there is a limit to the number of people that can fit in a backyard. Moral of the story. If you have...

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ILM Tree Homeschooling Cooperative and Sienna Ranch

Posted by on 1:21 am in Community, Hunger Relief | 3 comments

Background Last year, a group of 8th grade students at a homeschooling cooperative known as ILM Tree (“ILM” is the acronym for “Inspired Learning for Muslims”) were motivated by the teachings of their faith to partner with The Urban Farmers and go out with them to harvest fruit trees from local backyards. Inspired by their experience, the middle schoolers presented a partnership opportunity to Sienna Ranch where The Urban Farmers would use Sienna Ranch land to plant a fruit orchard. One year later, Sienna Ranch, ILM Tree, and The Urban...

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New Phase of The Urban Farmers Project

Posted by on 2:56 pm in Blog in Pics, Community, Hunger Relief | 0 comments

New Phase of The Urban Farmers Project

The Urban Farmers project is about to enter a new phase and we are hopeful and excited. After four years of work, we are finally ready to move the project from a tightly controlled, central effort to a decentralized and democratic model of volunteering and civic engagement. To paraphrase Paul Hawkins (author: Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World) to be optimistic and bullish about the future, “requires a plausible basis for constructive action, you can not describe...

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How Much Water Does Each Plant Need?

Posted by on 12:26 pm in Blog in Pics, Community, Drought | 0 comments

How Much Water Does Each Plant Need?

Most backyard vegetable gardens are over watered, this means by watering plants properly, we can grow food with less water. The side benefit to proper irrigation is growing a “better” gardner. A better gardner that grows a stronger plant able to defend itself against pest and diseases, a plant that produces higher quality fruit, higher yields and fruit that tastes better. Of course natural systems are complex and interconnected and it’s helpful if we can understand the many “levers” that operate the system. As discussed in this movie, the...

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Efficient Delivery of Water

Posted by on 8:19 am in Blog in Pics, Drought | 0 comments

Efficient Delivery of Water

Thriving vegetable plants need proper mixture of water and air at their root level. When water is applied to soil, a mostly horizontal layer of soil is moistened to “field capacity” before water moves down the soil structure to lower levels. There are many ways to deliver water to the root zone of a vegetable plant, the most efficient method is drip irrigation. It is a simple but effective technology with many benefits and a few drawbacks. Drip irrigation systems are inexpensive, require simple tools and little skills to set up and use. All...

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Building Mini-swales to Help Store Water

Posted by on 6:17 am in Blog in Pics, Community, Drought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Building Mini-swales to Help Store Water

The cheapest way to store water for your garden, is to store rain water in the soil. Swales are powerful tools that can help maximize the amount of water stored in garden area. Simply put, swales are water-harvesting ditches. Most ditches are built on a slope, designed to move water away from an area. Swales do the opposite. Swales have flat bottoms allowing water to pool and infiltrate the surrounding land. The more water you can charge into your soil during the rainy season, the less water your garden will need in dry times. This week’s...

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Plant spacing and reduced water use

Posted by on 6:23 am in Blog in Pics, Community, Drought, Fruit Tree Care, Hunger Relief | 2 comments

Plant spacing and reduced water use

This week’s video on “Grow Food with Less Water” examines the pros and cons of conventional plant spacing, a practice borrowed by gardeners from large-scale farmers.  It also discusses how proper plant spacing maximizes yields and reduces the amount of water necessary for palnts to thrive. http://youtu.be/HJiXu2qanIs&rel=0 What is the right spacing for each vegetable? Spacing vegetables is one of the most important components of successful gardening. In order to grow a strong and healthy plant, the gardener must provide sufficient space...

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How to Store 5,000 Gallons of Water in 1/4 Acre

Posted by on 10:30 am in Blog in Pics, Community, Drought, Fruit Tree Care | 6 comments

How to Store 5,000 Gallons of Water in 1/4 Acre

This ancient gardening technique will let you store about 5,000 gallons of water in ¼ acre of soil. This is water that your plants can access, reducing your water usage. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, “a 1 percent increase in soil organic matter content can hold an additional 19,000 gallons of water per acre.” Article here. Increasing the level of organic matter in your soil involves a combination of things to do and not to do. This is not a quick fix and will takes years to achieve, so we’d better get started right...

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Drought as a Teacher

Posted by on 8:47 am in Blog in Pics, Community, Drought, Fruit Tree Care | 0 comments

Drought as a Teacher

We are past California’s rainy season. This year, we are suffering from drought again, with soil moisture, snow packs, and water reservoirs all at very low levels with no rain in sight. If forecasts are correct, we are entering an even longer extended period of dry weather and water use will be an issue for a year or longer. In addition, factors like population growth will further necessitate our doing more with less water. This reality prompts the backyard gardener to panic slightly, concerned with the inevitable: how do we grow more food...

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