Sunday, June 21, 2009

How does the Goose Garden grow?

We knew Chris was a chef, butcher, and salumaio, but this summer he's added farmer to his curriculum goosae...Urban Farmer, that is.

Visitors to the Goose may have noticed the new bit of green on the building's south side. With help from Laura and Tyler Henderson, Chris transformed this bit of unused earth into a kitchen garden.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle, and reap" is the rule of (green) thumb in the Goose Garden. Wooden slats from old shipping crates became a long, narrow raised bed for peas and herbs. Recovered roofing material forms the raised rings for kohlrabi, three kinds of radish, rapini, arugula, fennel, parsnips, and more. Compost from the Goose's own vegetable scraps and water from the rain barrel under the Goose's gutter keeps everything green. Reclaimed mulch keeps the weeds down between the beds, and a layer of cardboard (cut from boxes delivered to the Goose) is the base for what the Hendersons like to call "lasagna gardening."

To maximize plant production, minimize weeding, and help with water management, "lasagna gardening" means layering cardboard with dry leaves then straw. A mixture of compost and soil goes on top as the planting bed.

Thanks to the Hendersons' advice, the garden is prime for several seasonal harvests. When the spring's radishes were harvested, the bed was turned and new summer crops found a home. This fall, the beds will be turned again for heartier, cold-weather produce like winter greens and root vegetables.

Goose guests can taste the garden's produce in market salads and sandwiches. The garden is always changing and so is the menu. Last time Chris went out to harvest, he remembered the way the ground had looked just a few months earlier. "We wanted to do something with this plot. We could have landscaped with worthless plants, but a kitchen garden looks nice and it's useful and edible, too." Oui, Chef.

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