Friday, April 28, 2006

Jim Kennard's Organic Gardening Non Profit Food For Everyone Press release 4/28/06

Press Release

The Armenian office of The World Bank is currently giving favorable consideration to a new project by the Food For Everyone Foundation, according to Mr. Jim Kennard, foundation president.

The new gardening training project will be patterned after the training facility and classes that are being conducted in the village of Getk, in the Shirak region. It will be conducted in Ashtarak, in the Aragatsotn Region of Armenia later this year and in 2007, in partnership with several families who are already trained in the Mittleider Method of gardening. These world-renowned methods often increase family gardening yields as much as 5 to 10 times those being realized by traditional methods.

The new training facility will include a large seedling greenhouse, as well as a cold-frame and hot-bed, to teach and demonstrate seedling production in ways that local families can duplicate to extend their growing season by as much as 6 to 8 weeks. Also included will be a 1/2 acre garden area of 125 30'-long soil-beds, which is large enough to make several families self-sufficient in their food production.

Families from many villages will learn how to grow crops close together to maximize yields in limited space. They will be taught the proper use of natural mineral nutrients, so their plants will be healthy and grow fast.

Vertical growing, which allows a person to grow as much as 20-30# of tomatoes on a single plant will also be introduced. This method of growing is used by hydroponic growers, but will be taught and demonstrated without the expense of hydroponic growing, and plants will be grown right in the ground and in direct sunlight, so they will have maximum flavor and all the health benefits of the best organically grown produce.

The Food For Everyone Foundation is excited at the excellent reception these training projects are receiving from the people of Armenia. The Armenian projects are the result of Dr. Jacob Mittleider's work of 40 years, and this is the 31st country to receive the benefits of this great humanitarian work.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Early Planting? Protection is Vital!

Early Planting? Protection is Vital!
1 day ago

We teach families to improve their vegetable gardening results many fold by the application of true principles, based on simple facts. For example, plants thrive in a narrow range of conditions, including temperatures above freezing and below about 100 fahrenheit. Things like frost, snow, and hail are not conducive to growing a good garden, as we were reminded last week-end. After working hard, mostly in the rain, to plant a bed of romaine lettuce and 2 beds of cabbage we had nurtured in the greenhouse for 6 weeks, we turned our attention to visiting our students in several distant villages. Monday evening when we returned to Getk we were SO sorry to discover that hail had shredded much of our cabbage - and the lettuce was not in great shape either. It's so simple to provide row covers (we prefer GH plastic over PVC or metal hoops) and totally avoid that problem - why didn't we do it?! We didn't expect hail, as it is rare in our village, and we forgot the principle that a garden is like owning a milking cow in that you have to be there morning and night taking care of business. Sigh! Hopefully the students, as well as their teacher, learned a valuable lesson.

The Students Are Excited - Home For the Weekend

The Students Are Excited - Home For the Weekend
22 April 06

We agreed with our students we'd let them spend just 3 days in Getk and 4+ days in their home villages, so Tuesday through Thursday we really poured it on - in the classroom, the greenhouse, and the garden, with about 30 hours in 3 days! We had 5 students by Thursday, and they are excellent workers. Already they have experienced planting and transplanting - in the greenhouse and garden - have built, fertilized, and leveled soil-beds, made and used markers, and feel confident that they can start their own gardens at home. We sent fertilizers home with them and promised to visit all of them on Monday (hope we can make it to 4 villages!) to inspect their work and assist them as needed. These people are the leaders of 200 participants in their 4 villages, and with our assistance will teach the other families to create Mittleider gardens, so they must be highly proficient. Every family will be provided seedlings, fertilizers, and T-Frames, and 20,000 seedlings are already being grown in Karakert, one of the villages that's centrally located. We will also inspect that part of the project on Monday. MUCH to do!


Growing Seedlings - A Garden Explosion Early Planting? Protection is Vital!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Jim Kennard latest blog post from Armenia

Growing Seedlings - A Garden Explosion
1 day ago

We started with 3 flats of seeds, which we germinated in the home, and then put under lights until we could take them to the completed greenhouse. These quickly became 35 flats of seedlings. Three more flats of seeds are now 30 flats of seedlings, for a total of about 5,000, and we've run out of seedling flats. This week we planted 5 flats of corn (only 81 per flat), and flats of about 1,000 each tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, and I think I've forgotten one or two. We figure on building about 200 more flats ASAP, and we'll have the greenhouse full with overflow on the outside hardening-off tables within about two weeks! We are also seeing strong activity in the new-seedling area of our hot-bed. The design allows us to maintain warm temperatures, even when the weather outside is near freezing, so germination is fast. We'll need to transplant 2,000 plants from there in the next 10 days - but these will stay in the hot-bed, just spread out, with planting at 2 1/2"-3" intervals.

Plants In The Garden At Last!
1 day ago

We have romaine lettuce and cabbage seedlings that are ready to go into the garden, and finally this week we began planting them, with one bed of each! Of course it would have to begin raining about the same time - and it's been raining every day all week, so any planting we do is in the mud - what fun. We will either have 4 beds of each, or we'll give away the seedlings. Earlier we transplanted strawberries from another part of the garden area, but they were already outside, so we don't really count them as "new" transplants. Two beds of peas are coming up, as are beets, swiss chard, carrots, and kohl rabi.