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Victory Gardens for Peace Mini-Farm Garden Report
By Joseph Huber, Victory Gardens for Peace 3-year Apprentice

Apprentice Bobby Zekanoski and Garden Manager Matt Drewno 
assemble the 8' x 16' greenhouse kit at VGfP
Apprentice Bobby Zekanoski and Garden Manager Matt Drewno
assemble the 8' x 16' greenhouse kit at VGfP.

With an above-average rainfall in the off-season, the crew at Victory Gardens for Peace (VGfP) has hung up the forks and spades and picked up the hammers and saws. We have been in full swing with the development of a new greenhouse, the VGfP Seed Bank Exchange, and migration into our 5,000-sq-ft expansion which in the near future will include a coppicing section and a rocket stove.

Thanks to a generous donation to the VGfP by a well-respected local community member—which has been a blessing—we've been able to invest in a much-needed 128-sq-ft greenhouse, which will greatly increase our capacity. Since we are located right off the coast of Northern California, where the marine climate's temperatures are rarely above 80°F during the peak of the summer, we're going to incorporate a 32-sq-ft growing bed inside the greenhouse. This will take advantage of the extra heat generated inside, allowing us to plant many varieties of peppers and tomatoes that we have previously struggled with due to our cooler climate. We were able to assemble the greenhouse kit in time to shelter our seedlings, which were planted using seed from the VGfP Seed Bank Exchange. Also in the greenhouse, we built a 16' by 3' flatting table with a retractable table underneath that can be pulled out to hold more flats during the busy time of the year. We were able to make the entire table using recycled wood from an old deck.

The VGfP Seed Bank Exchange is approaching its second season, and it's expanding at an exponential rate, with seeds grown within a 15-mile radius of the Mendocino Coast. The Seed Bank Exchange is about more than the seeds—it is also about celebrating and enhancing the community of seed savers in our bioregion. The foundation of VGfP Seed Bank Exchange is donation-based and has a strong emphasis on illuminating the significance of seeds and seed-saving. Being donation-based allows us to offer free seeds. We also don't send seeds through the mail; instead we encourage people to personally come to the VGfP to receive the seeds. This allows a direct communication between the gardener, the staff and the Seed Bank Exchange. We hope this will establish a stronger symbiotic relationship and involve personal assistance. Now with 120+ varieties and 2000+ packets of seeds ready to be handed out, we're more than thrilled to welcome all the new personalities entering the garden who are intrigued by the beauty of seed sovereignty.

Furthering their generous support of the VGfP program, the Stanford Inn (where the garden is located) helped us expand an additional eighth of an acre in order to increase our capacity to save seed and serve our community. It's both exciting and overwhelming to move into this new area, and we are pacing ourselves. In 2018, we will be adding 15 beds—2000-sq-ft of growing area—to support a micro-CSA for low-income families. We plan to add 37 trees—six different varieties—for a coppicing section. This will provide fuel for the rocket stove, which is on our building agenda for the upcoming winter. We will also be adding an octagonal picnic table in order to support our workshops, expand our sitting area, and serve as a place to enjoy our meals harvested right from the garden. This is the area where the new greenhouse is located.

As the last rains blow in and our plants awaken from dormancy, our forks and spades are not far behind. The VGfP crew is ready for a season of hard work and the challenging opportunities that will follow, because work and opportunity often go hand in hand.

Related topics:
A New Vision for the Future of GROW BIOINTENSIVE®: VGfP's name change explained.
DIY Seedling Flats: step-by-step instructions on how to put together a seedling flat kit
Ecology Action's Garden Calendar: a rough guide on what to do, and when to do it!

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