HIRING: Farmstand Manager, Clark Park/ West Philly

bala market display slate signage Lunaria Gardens

Clark Park Farmstand Manager

Lunaria Gardens is seeking a 2016 Farmstand Manager to work Saturdays at the Clark Park Farmers Market in West Philadelphia.

Job type: Part-time seasonal. Saturday morning availability is required, approximately 7:30a-3p. Possible option to assist in nursery in Roxborough as well.

Season term: We are asking for a commitment of Saturday mornings, April 2 through June 18, 2016. Lunaria Gardens will likely continue market participation beyond this point, but we would discuss summer plans at a later date.

Compensation: $10-16/ hr ($7.25/ hr with sales commission)

Position posted: Saturday, March 19, 2016

Contact: Kristen Jas Vietty, [email protected] (no phone calls)

 

Position Description:

Lunaria Gardens will be participating in The Food Trust’s Clark Park Farmers Market in Spring 2016. At this market, we will be primarily offering potted plants: edibles, natives, ornamental perennials, and houseplants. We will also carry a limited selection of flower bouquets and gardening supplies. The director will train and assist, but the Farmstand Manager is in charge of ensuring everything runs smoothly each Saturday.

– Loading vehicle at nursery in Roxborough/ Manayunk on Saturday morning (or Friday evening if preferred).

– Unloading vehicle and creating display at Clark Park Farmers Market: setting up tent, tables, merchandise display, signage.

– Photographing display for Instagram/ Facebook promotion.

– Assisting customers with selecting merchandise, taking special order requests, selling subscription products. Cultivating relationships and repeat customers, but not allowing conversations to interfere with duties.

– Handling cash and credit card sales, recording sales data, and maintaining optimal visual display throughout market hours.

– Breaking down display and loading vehicle.

– Unloading vehicle back at nursery, reporting any issues or trends to director.

 

 

succulents Philadelphia Lunaria Gardens farmers market clay pots

 

Requirements:

– Must have familiarity with plants and their general growing requirements. Applicant must have some gardening/ farming/ ecological know-how, like cool-season vs tender vegetables, plant families, sun-shade requirements, etc. You will be helping people select plants, so you need to have some base knowledge, as well as an interest in improving it through ongoing training and self-study.

– Must be excellent with customer service and sales, and possess an outgoing, personable, and positive nature.

– Must be punctual, communicative, organized, and comfortable jumping in and figuring things out.

– Must be able to comfortably lift 50 pounds and withstand standing and sitting outside (under tent) in all weather conditions.

– Must commit to work Saturday mornings from mid-March through mid-June.

– Must possess valid drivers license and a vehicle.

Preferred:

– Ideal applicant will live in the vicinity of West Philadelphia, and have some connection to the community.

– Familiarity with botanical nomenclature, gardening, landscaping, agriculture, permaculture, or ecology.

– Interest in assisting with occasional nursery operations (seeding, transplanting, watering, weeding, harvesting) during peak season.

– Interest or experience in floriculture is a plus, and could elicit additional Friday hours.

– Experience in visual display and merchandising is a plus, as well as any experience doing other markets or pop-up events.

– Do you have experience with social media/ email marketing, web design, construction, proposal writing, or other cool skills? Let us know.

 

Lunaria Gardens Farmers market display fall bulbs floral arrangements philly

 

About Lunaria Gardens:

Lunaria Gardens specializes in edibles, natives, and perennials for the landscape, and houseplants, floral arrangements, and seasonal decor for the home. Our focus is on habitat creation, food production, and sustainable beauty. New for the 2016 are customized plant assortments and floral subscriptions. Owner-operator Kristen Jas Vietty has a background in visual arts, administration, music, and permaculture design at residential, farm, and municipal scales.

 

To Apply:

To be considered, send email to Kristen Jas Vietty: [email protected] (no phone calls)

Email subject format: “Clark Park Farmstand Manager: (Your full name)”

Please either attach a resume in PDF or Word format, or include link to an online resume.

No formal letter of interest required. Instead, either in the email body or in an attached document, answer the following questions in list or paragraph form:

1. Can you commit to working most Saturdays through June 18? Sometimes last-minute situations arise, but please specify if you already have trips or weddings booked on certain dates.

2. Do you have a valid drivers license? Do you have a vehicle with ability to assist with transport of tent, tables, and merchandise?

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses in your plant knowledge? We primarily sell edibles, herbs, natives, and houseplants, and limited amount of non-native ornamentals or cut flower crops.

4. Do you have interest or experience with floral design, as well as Friday availability?

5. What are you hoping to learn or gain from this position?

6. What can you bring to this position? If not listed in resume, please list any skills.

7. If not included in your resume, please list links to social media profiles, websites, links to cool projects with which you’re involved.

 

Lunaria Gardens Philadelphia flower arrangement floral design native bouquet

 

 

Please do not call to follow up on applications.  Thanks much for your interest and time.

Lunaria Gardens is an equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ applicants are especially encouraged to apply.

 

Kristen Jas Vietty

[email protected]

lunariagardens.com

facebook.com/lunariagardens

instagram.com/lunariagardens

twitter.com/lunariagardens

Mid-Atlantic Native Food Forest Polyculture for Rain Gardens & Wet Sites

On June 6, 2015 at Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery, I taught a workshop on Creating Native Food Forests. We discussed our woodland biome & the cycle of ecological succession, contrasted the outputs of wilderness with conventional agriculture, and detailed some possible direct and indirect uses of edible forest gardens. We then looked at some agroforestry case studies, like Mark Shepard’s 100+ acre New Forest Farm, Fields without Fences in Frenchtown, NJ, Eric Toensmeir & Jonathan Bates’ 1/10 acre Paradise Lot, and Steven Gabriel’s ‘De-slugging the Woods‘ maple-mushroom-duck polyculture.

It seems that everyone has a downspout or some greywater that could be redirected into a rain garden, so I pulled a selection of Edge of the Woods plants favoring moist to wet soil conditions. I wanted to highlight how these native species could produce nuts, fruit, berries, vegetables, tea, and medicine, as well as ecosystem services like nitrogen fixation, pollinator habitat, stormwater management, and watershed quality improvement.

mid atlantic native food forest polyculture rain garden

Species List (roughly from largest to smallest mature size)

1. Pecan / Carya illinoinensis / 70-100′, delicious nuts, high value timber

2. Pawpaw / Asimina triloba / 10-40′, most commonly 20-35′, delicious fruit (improved seedlings and grafted forms available), deer & pest resistant, host to zebra swallowtail butterfly.

3. Downy serviceberry / Amelanchier arborea / 15-25′, species within the Amelanchier genus go by many names and have varying sizes and habits, but all have highly ornamental white spring blossoms, followed by small, flavorful berries, and burgundy fall foliage. Not very picky about soils, serviceberries offer a nice alternative to acid-loving blueberries.

4. Hazel alder / Alnus serrulata / 12-20′, nitrogen-fixing, high wildlife value, glossy, ribbed leaves tinged with red, winter interest.

5. Spicebush / Lindera benzoin / 6-12′, a graceful shrub providing lemon blooms in early spring, glossy red berries, and yellow-gold fall foliage. Aromatic twigs and leaves can be used as tea. Host plant for spicebush swallowtail.

6. American black elderberry / Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis / 6-12′, insectary umbel blooms and dark purple fruits, usually stewed and consumed as cordials or cough medicine. Several ornamental cultivars are now available, featuring varied foliage and flower color, or improved fruit quality. Self-fruitful, although a pollinator will improve fruit set.

7. Ostrich fern / Matteuccia struthiopteris / 3-6′, ornamental fern producing edible fiddlehead vegetable of early spring. Will spread via stolons, and foliage will die down by mid-summer.

8. Swamp verbena / Verbana hastata / 2-5′, ornamental candelabra-like blooms, insectary, ‘cure-all’ medicinal, usually consumed as tea.

9. Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ / Solidago rugosa / 3-4′, top herbaceous insectary species according to Douglas Tallamy. Ornamental golden sprays in late summer/ early fall. Medicinal/ tea.

10. Hoary mountain mint / Pycanthemum incanum / 2-4′, native, insectary mint. Medicinal, tea, potherb.

11. Nodding onion / Alium cernuum / 1-2′, ornamental flowers, insectary, deer/ pest resistant, all parts edible and used like scallions

12. Labrador violet / Viola labradorica / 4-6″, groundcover, ornamental and edible purple foliage and lavender flowers. Host plant for fritillary butterflies and seeds are favored by cardinals & other songbirds.

 

Related posts:

Lunaria Gardens Nursery

#SavetheBees: ‘Queen of the Sun’ screening and pollinator panel discussion, Doylestown, PA

Photos from Forest Gardening workshop at Fields without Fences

Notes from Edible Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

 

Contact Kristen Jas Vietty

#SavetheBees: ‘Queen of the Sun’ screening & pollinator panel discussion, Doylestown, PA

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Along with local beekeepers, permaculture designer Kristen Jas Vietty will participate in a post-film panel discussion, delivering some tips for creating and maintaining habitat for our hardworking pollinators.

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Doors 6:30p, screening 7p

The County Theater, 20 East State Street, Doylestown, PA

Farm Fresh Film Series, sponsored by Doylestown Food Coop & Bucks County Foodshed Alliance

Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? (1h 23m)

Post-film panel discussion with Joe Ridgeway (President, Bucks County Beekeepers Association), Chuck Pressler (owner, Bucks County Apiaries), Courtney Scott (Delaware Valley College Apiary Society), & Kristen Jas Vietty (Permaculture designer, Lunaria Gardens)

Get tickets

 

Photos from Forest Gardening Workshop at Fields without Fences

I was recently lucky enough to attend a forest gardening design & installation workshop led by Sean Walsh, on June 28, 2014. I first met Sean over Memorial Day weekend, 2013, where we both attended a permaculture water systems workshop with Andrew Faust, and then teamed up to create a design proposal for the workshop site, Green Light Plants. I was impressed with his knowledge and experience gained since his time at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and now he’s leading Appleseed Permaculture’s New Jersey franchise.

The workshop was held just outside of Frenchtown, NJ, at Fields Without Fences, operated by Johann Rinkens & Lindsay Napolitano. This 10-acre commercial food forest project is just in their second growing year, and it’s amazing how far the site has come in that time. They have an excellent website that describes the history of the degraded land, and how they are restoring the ecology – do check it out. Fields Without Fences’ products can be purchase through a New Jersey based farm distribution service, Zone 7.

I’ll just tell the story of the workshop in photos below:

Appleseed Permaculture's Sean Walsh, introducing forest gardening concepts and showing us some site assessment examples.
Appleseed Permaculture’s Sean Walsh, introducing forest gardening concepts and showing us some site assessment examples.

 

Johann, Sean, & Lindsay orient us with the Fields Without Fences site.
Johann, Sean, & Lindsay orient us with the Fields Without Fences site.
Lindsay fields without fences forest gardening
Lindsay describes their approach to raspberry management. She describes observing brambles growing in wildflower fields, so they pair raspberries with Echinacea/ coneflowers. The flower’s sturdy stems hold the berry canes upright, negating the need to build trellises.
A shot showing a glimpse of the many polycultures utilized at Fields Without Fences. I spy a young pawpaw, comfrey, bolting lettuce & sorrel, and allium flowerheads.
A shot showing a glimpse of the many polycultures utilized at Fields Without Fences. I spy a young pawpaw, comfrey, bolting lettuce & sorrel, and allium flowerheads.
Lindsay called the elder the iconic plant of Fields Without Fences, and it was, appropriately, in full bloom during the workshop. They sell the aromatic elderflowers as well as the berries.
Lindsay called the elder the iconic plant of Fields Without Fences, and it was, appropriately, in full bloom during the workshop. They sell the aromatic elderflowers as well as the berries.
A closeup of an elderflower, as well as some developing berries.
A closeup of an elderflower, as well as some developing berries.
Fields Without Fences has a small annual vegetable production area, where the polyculture approach is still utilized.
Fields Without Fences has a small annual vegetable production area, where the polyculture approach is still utilized.
The main pond collects runoff from this previously waterlogged site. Since this photo was taken, the pond now is home to a couple of ducks.
The main pond collects runoff from this previously waterlogged site. Since this photo was taken, the pond now is home to a couple of ducks.
Most of the site is cover cropped with a seed mix heavy in red clover. The farmers leave it in place, fixing nitrogen in the soil, until ready to plant. Also shown are some of the many currant bushes featured throughout the polycultures.
Most of the site is cover cropped with a seed mix heavy in red clover. The farmers leave it in place, fixing nitrogen in the soil, until ready to plant. Also shown are some of the many currant bushes featured throughout the polycultures.
Pollinators are a vital part of the farm ecosystem, and there are 2 meadow areas for winged friends. Pictured is a hive housing the European honeybee.
Pollinators are a vital part of the farm ecosystem, and there are 2 meadow areas for winged friends. Pictured is a hive housing the European honeybee.
Closeup of honeybees a the hive entrance.
Closeup of honeybees a the hive entrance.
Here are some yarrow and alfalfa flowers attracting the attentions of the honeybee.
Here are some yarrow and alfalfa flowers attracting the attentions of the honeybee.
A beautiful permaculture design plan for Fields Without Fences was displayed. Click to zoom in and read about all the different zones and systems.
A beautiful permaculture design plan for Fields Without Fences was displayed. Click to zoom in and read about all the different zones and systems.
Over lunch, attendee Roman Osadca shared some delicious garlic scape pesto from his homestead, Valley Fall Farm. As of 2014, Roman grows over 290 varieties of garlic!
Over lunch, attendee Roman Osadca shared some delicious garlic scape pesto from his homestead, Valley Fall Farm. As of 2014, Roman grows over 290 varieties of garlic!
A glimpse of Fields Without Fences' plant nursery & propagation area.
A glimpse of Fields Without Fences’ plant nursery & propagation area.
A small cattail pond with the northwest field beyond, which has been shaped into additional raised bed production area since this photo was taken.
A small cattail pond with the northwest field beyond, which has been shaped into additional raised bed production area since this photo was taken.
Johann and Lindsay describe their goals for an Africa-shaped bed we'll be designing.
Johann and Lindsay describe their goals for an Africa-shaped bed we’ll be designing.
We broke into 3 groups to come up with design possibilities for the Africa-shaped bed. Here I am with my team, presenting our design proposal. [Photo: Sean Walsh]
We broke into 3 groups to come up with design possibilities for the Africa-shaped bed. Here I am with my team, presenting our design proposal. [Photo: Sean Walsh]
Sean and Lindsay amalgamate the groups' designs into a final plan. The polyculture includes (from canopy to groundcover): butternut, river birch, pawpaw, blueberry, spicebush, sunflower, catnip, and green & gold.
Sean and Lindsay amalgamate the groups’ designs into a final plan. The polyculture includes (from canopy to groundcover): butternut, river birch, pawpaw, blueberry, spicebush, sunflower, catnip, and green & gold.
In preparation for planting, we began  sheet mulching by rolling out round bales of straw over the grass.
In preparation for planting, we began sheet mulching by rolling out round bales of straw over the grass.
We continued to spread straw over the bed.
We continued to spread straw over the bed.
A view of the bed completely sheet mulched with the straw layer.
A view of the bed completely sheet mulched with the straw layer.
Then Johann used the tractor to dump loads of leaf mulch to spread over the straw.
Then Johann used the tractor to dump loads of leaf mulch to spread over the straw.
After all the topsoil was spread, we started planting. Here, left to right, are Jose, Johann, & Sean planting a young butternut tree.
After all the topsoil was spread, we started planting. Here, left to right, are Jose, Johann, & Sean planting a young butternut tree.
Finishing up planting.
Finishing up planting.
A group photo after planting, however, some folks had to leave before we got this shot.
A group photo after planting, however, some folks had to leave before we got this shot.
A panorama of the farm, including the newly-planted bed, and a wildflower meadow. [Photo by Sean Walsh]
A panorama of the farm, including the newly-planted bed, and a wildflower meadow. [Photo by Sean Walsh]

 

Workshop: Edible Forest Gardening / Doylestown, PA

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 In a couple of hours, learn how you can be harvesting fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, & medicine from your land, WITHOUT tilling, seeding, planting, & weeding year after year.

Join the March meeting of the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Central Bucks County, where Kristen Jas Vietty of Lunaria Gardens will be leading a workshop on edible forest gardening!

Learn how to mimic the eastern woodland ecosystem in your garden, to provide not only diverse harvests, but also benefit soil life, watersheds, native pollinators, & wildlife. These natural, regenerative food forests can improve the value of your home while requiring relatively little maintenance over time.

The workshop will be held at Doylestown Fresh (home of Veg-E systems) on Thursday, March 27, 2014, from 6:30 to 9:00pm. The evening is open to all women, and the suggested donation is $10 general, $5 LHG members. Membership signup will be available at the meeting, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP on Facebook!

If you want to hear about these kinds of events, subscribe to receive a monthly(ish) email!

Related post: Notes from Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

Q&A: Should I buy a tumbler for winter composting?

 

Compost tumbler patent lunaria gardens

I get asked a lot of questions about compost. There are so many different methods and bits misinformation out there, plus, we can’t actually see the composting process with the naked eye. Off-balance compost is a direct result of off-balance land & resource management. A balanced compost, managed in a way that works for your needs, is a thing of beauty, that you’ll wonder how you ever got along without.

Today a received the following via Facebook, from a sculptor & mom living in Vermont:

Question:

Any chance you know anything about winter composting with a tumbler composter? Despite my best intentions, I can’t make my own (and never manage to turn the compost in the bin we have) so I am looking for a commercially available tumbler. Any thoughts? The only one advertised (online at least) for winter composting is $300. Thanks!

Answer:
I’m generally not into tumblers, especially if they’re new and cost $300. I have heard of some people having success with them, but generally they seem marketed heavily, then abandoned in many gardens. I’ve seen more than a couple metal ones that are rusted through in a couple seasons’ time – compost should be consistently damp, after all. Four-season Maine farmer, Eliot Coleman, cautions that organic methods will never ever be mainstream, because companies can’t sell you anything. All the required materials are free, and it encourages self-sufficiency & frugality.¹

One major issue with tumblers is that if you’re always adding fresh material, you’ll always have the contents broken down at different rates. So you either have to have a few tumblers to work between, or it has be used in combination with another technique.

Is there a rush to get finished compost through the winter? You’re working against a lot because composting is essentially aerobic microbial activity, which slows down to a halt in low temps. So I would doubt that a tumbler, which is a fairly small, non-insulated volume fully exposed to the elements, would do a very good job.

Some first steps:
Reduce kitchen waste with planning, preservation, conservation, & stock-making.
Compost everything: Many believe that you can’t compost meat or dairy products. Maybe it’s that I make panir from milk about to turn, or simmer bones for stock, but I’ve never had issues with these things. I say compost everything. Hair from your hairbrush, toilet paper rolls, paper recycling. Err on the side of too much carbon, as the only risk is slower decomposition. Too much nitrogen, on the other hand, can create stinky, anaerobic conditions.

If turning the compost is an issue, I would look into the following options:

1. Slow, cold composting: This basically means making a pile, and then not turning it. Just have at least 3 bins, at least 3×3′, so you can start new piles every few months. You’ll have to wait maybe a year to use the finished batch, which may not be fast enough for your gardening needs.

2. Sheet composting/ mulching: usually used as a labor-saving, no-till method to establish new garden beds. But you can continue to replenish nutrients in existing beds this way too.
– if starting over top of grass or weeds, lay down uncoated cardboard or several layers of newspaper.
– layer nitrogenous material (kitchen scraps, grass clippings, manure)
– layer carbonaceous material (fall leaves, shredded paper, straw, dryer lint)|
– Continue layering materials until you decide to let to area rest & break down.
Now is a good time to start this method, with all the fall leaves & garden waste straw, and winter’s periods of freezing & thawing, breaking everything down for springtime. You can put black plastic, or cold frames over beds to speed up decomposition. Corn & squash are good crops to plant in areas that are still a bit rough.

3. Trench/ anaerobic composting: digging shallow trenches in the proximity of your garden beds to bury kitchen & garden waste. Involves digging & filling in holes frequently, which sounds outright terrible for winter, and generally undesirable to me, but I like turning compost piles.

4. Poultry/ livestock: chickens are efficient scavengers, and will gladly eat your kitchen scraps while reducing winter feed cost. Rabbits have similar dies to humans, & love carrot tops, wilted cabbage leaves, kale stems. And we all know about the eating habits of pigs & goats.

A dead-simple chicken & compost integration we used at the former Lunaria Farm. Bend a length of welded wire fencing into a cylinder, and fold down a chicken hatch so the birds can hop in and out easily. Once it's full, close the hatch and start a new bin. The one on the right has been resting.
A dead-simple chicken & compost integration we used at the former Lunaria Farm. Bend a length of welded wire fencing into a cylinder, and fold down a chicken hatch so the birds can hop in and out easily. Once it’s full, close the hatch and start a new bin. The one on the right has been resting.


5. Bokashi: I haven’t tried this method, but I hear good things. It can be done indoors.

6.Worm composting: also good for indoors, as redworms are most comfortable around the same temps as us. They don’t like to eat very strongly flavored kitchen scraps, like citrus or garlic/ onions.

7. Tower composter: if you must buy something, this may be your best commercial bet. In essence, you put fresh material in the top, and by the time it gets to the bottom, it’s broken down. You must be adding enough carbonaceous material for there to be a 30:1 C:N ratio, like “regular” composting. Make sure there’s lots of air flow, as most of the commercial units are marketed to people obsessed with keeping every bug and critter out of their holy human proximity. (I like to think that these “vermin” are just part of the big web of life involved in the compost process.) I recently met an old timer who raved about his tower that’s been going strong for many years. He places it on a pallet to improve air flow.

8. Hired labor: Instead of paying for a plastic thing, give someone a job. Pay a neighbor to help you turn compost every few months. Depending on the size & moisture of the pile, it usually takes no more than an hour.

Built in a few hours from surplus shipping pallets with a materials cost of zero. Lunaria Gardens designed & built 3-bin compost system for an urban rental property. The bins utilize an awkward, shady corner under the low canopy of a crabapple, and the landlord couldn't be happier.
Built in a few hours from surplus shipping pallets with a materials cost of zero. Lunaria Gardens designed & built 3-bin compost system for an urban rental property. The bins utilize an awkward, shady corner under the low canopy of a crabapple, and the landlord couldn’t be happier.

I’m sure there are many more methods than I’ve listed here. Readers, what techniques are working for you?

 

¹Eliot Coleman, Keynote presentation at Bioneers by the Bay Conference, Marion Institute, Marion, Massachusetts, 2008

Related post: Compost bins / White Oak / Doylestown, PA

HIRING: Garden Manager, Part Time

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Lunaria Gardens is seeking a part time garden manager for a client property in Upper Bucks County, PA.

Job type: Part time, 1-2 days (8-16 hrs) per week. Additional hours may be available depending on season or special projects.
Compensation: $10-$17 per hour depending on experience
Commitment: After a trial period, we’d like a commitment of 1-2 days/ week through the 2013 season (usually ending Nov or early December). We’d like to offer additional compensation depending on level of commitment for the 2014 season.
Position available: Immediately
Application deadline: Thursday, August 1, 9pm
Contact: Kristen Jasionowski, owner, Lunaria Gardens, [email protected]

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Description:

The garden manager will primarily be responsible for ongoing care of a client property in Ottsville, PA, as well as occasional assistance with other sites. Lunaria Gardens is not a typical landscaping company – there is no lawn mowing or formal hedge trimming involved. We instead design & install ecological gardens for food production & habitat. Watering, weeding, & harvesting vegetables are ongoing weekly tasks, while planting, mulching, & light construction will also make appearances on task lists.

Aside from the annual vegetable garden, the Ottsville property contains mostly woodland perennial plantings, so it’s a generally comfortable workplace. You’ll undoubtedly improve your understanding of botany, native ecology, food production, & sustainable property management by working with us.

Requirements:

– proximity to Upper Bucks County (much of position requires maintenance of client property in Ottsville, PA.) Occasional assistance in Easton, PA as needed.

– Reliable transportation. The only tools regularly required are some good hand pruners and a trowel.

– Basic familiarity with common plant identification, i.e. you should probably know the difference between a hosta & a hydrangea, or a dandelion & a thistle. We specialize in edibles, in addition to natives & ornamental perennials.

– Desire to enhance your ecological management & botanical knowledge.

Preferred:

– Plant identification skills, especially common ornamental shade perennials, “weeds”, and edibles.

– Familiarity with weeding, harvesting, planting techniques.

– Ability to lift 50 lbs (less physically able applicants will also be considered).

– Basic carpentry/ construction experience is a plus.

– Plant nursery, irrigation, earthworking, farming, or flower arranging experience is a plus.

Extras:

– Have an interest in social media, e-communications, photography, writing, or teaching? We’re into Instagram & twitter (@kristenjas), and Facebook. We’re interested in expanding our blog content, and would like to host events and workshops in the coming year. This could be additional income for someone who wants to get more involved in these areas.

– The above skills would also apply to Kristen’s other music publicity work with Musette Project, Dallas Vietty, or Hot Bijouxx. If you’re interested in working with these projects, drop us a line. Or get yourself on the mailing list by using the little signup in the sidebar.

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About Lunaria Gardens:

Lunaria Gardens is a custom permaculture consultation, design, maintenance, & education service, soon to be expanding nursery operations. We primarily help people grow food, as well as compost, keep livestock, provide native habitat, and generally close energy loops to reduce unnecessary energy expenditures. We currently have clients in Ottsville & Easton, PA. Owner Kristen Jasionowski has a background in visual arts, administration, & education. She transitioned from a self-taught hobbyist to a career in sustainable agriculture in 2009, and has apprenticed via the WWOOF program, co-managed a couple microfarms, and has studied with Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild & various permaculture & forest gardening professionals. Her company’s focus is on empowerment & connection via habitat creation and food production.

—–

To be considered, please email the following:

– A resume & cover letter would be awesome, but a couple paragraphs about why you would be great for this job, and what you’re hoping to get out of it will do.

– Contact info including name, phone, address, & any web presence you’d like to share.

– How you found out about the position.

Women, people of color, and LGBT applicants are encouraged to apply. If you’d just like to get on the mailing list, you can do so in the sidebar at right.

Contact: Kristen Jasionowski, owner, Lunaria Gardens, [email protected]

Posted July 30, 2013
Application deadline: Thursday, August 1, 9pm

INTERVIEW / Tiny Terra Ferma / Manayunk, Philadelphia

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Tiny Terra Ferma is Manayunk’s new ecological landscape design studio & garden shop, opening this Friday. Below is my interview with owner-designers Jeff Lorenz and Annie Scott, followed by details about the Spring Opening Party. [All photos courtesy Tiny Terra Ferma.]

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Lunaria Gardens: Tell us about the evolution of Tiny Terra Ferma & the new space.

Jeff Lorenz: Annie and I have been working on urban garden projects for the last few years with Ivy Ridge Green, an organization she co-founded in 2009. From the get-go we connected over a love for native plants and the possibilities of gardening and food production in our small backyard spaces. With my 15 years as a horticulturalist, designer and business owner, and Annie’s experience and masters in landscape design and planning, we both had the expressed desire to create a design company and local hub for gardening and urban green space.

Annie Scott: This past year we started working on design projects together and planning our company. Our space is now in a repurposed garage on Main Street in Manayunk, that was abandoned for over 30 years. I had often walked by it and thought about how much potential the space has. We have both put in long hours working on the space – its really exciting to see it become our garden shop and design studio.

A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.
A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.

Lunaria Gardens: What are some common problems that you’re aiming to solve for the urban grower?

JL: Urban gardening is challenging and multifaceted, but in order to leverage its potential, it must be affordable, accessible and attainable. That is our mission through our design service and garden shop.

Lunaria Gardens: How does your vision relate to larger food issues in the Philadelphia region?

AS: Our goal is to enable people to grow their own food in both large and small spaces. Through proper design, it is possible to grow an abundance of food in tiny rowhouse backyards. We aim to educate, inspire and empower people to grow food themselves.

Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.
Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.

Lunaria Gardens: What other events do you plan on hosting in the coming year?

AS: We will be hosting various classes on garden related topics. We envision our space to be an educational forum and a hub for potential neighborhood greening.

Lunaria Gardens: What design project would you love to encounter?

AS: Projects that serve the client and nature. I love the challenge of fulfilling the client’s goals while serving nature, and creating food sources for both humans and wildlife through the use of native plants. I have done this through design on 40-acre farms, 400-square-foot backyards, and window boxes. I’m excited about any new design challenge that provides the opportunity to create beautiful spaces in both form and function.

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Lunaria : Give us a little background on some of the other folks involved with the First Friday opening.

JL: The great accordionist Dallas Vietty, of Musette Project, will be performing selections from the French Musette and Gypsy Jazz musical repertoire. Our Manayunk neighbor, Ryan McNeely, will provide guitar accompaniment as well as bossa nova compositions.

Lunaria Gardens: Can you give us a sneak peak of some cool plants or tools that will be available April 5th?

AS: The plants we carry are functional – native, edible, extremely drought tolerant, and beautiful. We have adorable 5” baby fig trees, kale and swiss chard starts, herbs, blueberries and native plants. We also have a selection of quality garden tools and accessories.

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tinyterraferma_logoTINY TERRA FERMA, 4324 Main Street, Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA, (267) 237-1489
Spring hours: Thursdays – Sundays 11am – 7pm

Spring Opening Party: First Friday, April 5, 2013
5 – 9pm drinks & light refreshments
6:30pm music by Dallas Vietty & Ryan McNeely
RSVP on Facebook

 

Notes from Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

On May 7th & 8th, I had the opportunity to attend a Forest Gardening workshop with one of my permaculture heroes, Eric Toensmeier, in West Chester, PA. There were so many awesome aspects to the weekend! To minimize driving, I took the train to Paoli, had a beautiful 10 mile bike ride to the workshop location, and met and stayed with some awesome folks through couchsurfing!

The workshop took place at the home of  sustainability educators Alan Wright & Paula Kline, who had hired permaculture designer Aaron Guman to work his permie magic on their property. We spent some time discussing the clients’ needs and Aaron’s design concepts before helping to install some perennial plantings (above).

Mollie Caitlin Brigid communing with cultivated King Stropharia

Special guest lectures included a whip-and-tongue grafting demonstration with Backyard Fruit Growers founder Chris Manning, and mushroom cultivation tutorials with Jared Urchek. Jared came out from Boulder, CO and discussed mushroom life cycles, varieties, and inoculation techniques with woodchips, straw, and logs.

We also broke off into groups to do site assessments throughout the property, later designing polyculture systems for different patches. Here are some general notes taken during the workshop:

Edible Forest Garden (EFG): Edible ecosystem modeled on the forest; perennial & low maintenance, providing ecosystem services & useful products.

By optimizing impact on land, we can work with its desire to become forest. Diverse polycultures minimize pest problems, and can achieve higher yields than annual cultures.

Utilizing Multipurpose Plants

Direct uses:

Edibles:
nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, flowers & flowerbuds, roots, tubers, leaves, shoots, tea & culinary

Other:
firewood, medicine, craft material, income, livestock fodder, honey, cut flowers, charcoal, mushrooms, seed & nursery stock, silkworms

Indirect uses:
Nitrogen fixing plants
insect nectary plants
habitat
mulch
groundcovers
decomposers (i.e. edible mushrooms)

Imitation

Architecture: layers, soil horizon, density, patterns, diversity

Social structure: niches, guilds, communities

Succession: patches, disturbance, non-linear evolution (mimic mid-succession)

Best Forest Gardening Species (N-fix means this species fixes nitrogen):

Tall Trees

walnut/ butternut/ heartnut
pecans/ hickories
oaks
nut pines
black locust (N-fix)
Japanese pagoda tree (N-fix)

Medium Trees

Chinese Chestnut
persimmon
paw-paw
mulberry
mimosa (N-fix)
alder (N-fix)

Small Trees & Shrubs

pears/ Asian pears
sea buckthorn (N-fix)
mayhaw
hazelnuts
native plums
bamboo
Amur Maackia (N-fix)

Shrubs

Amelanchier (serviceberry, juneberry, etc)
fig
Nanking cherry
goumi
bayberry
elderberry (native insectary)
highbush cranberry (viburnum)
Florida star anise
Ribes (currants, gooseberries, jostaberries)
running juneberry
blueberry
raspberry/ blackberry
New Jersey tea (N-fix)
Amorpha (false) Indigo (N-fix)

Vines

grape (fox & muscadine)
kiwi (hardy & arctic)
groundnut (N-fix)
hog peanut (N-fix)
Chinese yam
Hablitzia (climbing spinach)
maypop (native passionflower)

Herbs

jerusalem artichokes
rhubarb
fuki
Turkish rocket
taro
ostrich fern
comfrey
asparagus
giant solomon’s seal
nettle/ wood nettle
baptisia (N-fix)
thermopsis (N-fix)
sea kale
good King Henry
native perennial ground cherry
sweet cicely (insectary)
skirret
mayapple
large-flowered comfrey
ramps
sylvetta arugula
coreopsis (insectary)
Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed, insectary)
sorrel
Astragalus glycyphyllos (wild licorice, N-fix)
Chinese artichoke
water celery (insectary)
camas/ quamash (wild hyacinth)

Ground Covers

alpine strawberry
strawberry
foamflower (insectary)
wild ginger
toothwart
violets
prostrate birdsfoot trefoil (N-fix)
green & gold (insectary)
white clover
Waldesteinia (barren strawberry, inedible)
wild geranium (insectary)
fungi

Seed Starting: New (and Old) Varieties from Lunaria

Well, we’re about to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Lunaria farm, which means our blog, and the seasons, have come full circle. Here we are at the end of winter, poised for new beginnings in the coming spring.

Gardeners all over are turning their attention to seeds. Today I attended a seed cleaning workshop at Bartram’s Garden, where we winnowed, threshed, and sifted to prepare packets for distribution. I was lucky enough to bring home some seeds of the unique epazote, a Mexican culinary and medicinal herb.

Lunaria is also offering a variety of seeds saved from last year’s harvest. We have several open-pollinated varieties, including some rare heirlooms, available for purchase online or for pickup in Upper Black Eddy or Philadelphia. Stock up, then refer to our post on seed-starting.

:::HERBS:::

Cilantro/ Coriander
Coriandrum sativum, annual
Direct sow after last frost. Does not transplant well. Will go to seed quickly in hot weather, so sow in successions throughout the season for a continuous supply.

Dill
Anethum graveolens, annual
Direct sow after last frost. Does not transplant well. Will go to seed quickly in hot weather, so sow in successions throughout the season for a continuous supply.

Garlic Chives
Allium tuberosum, perennial
80-90 days, sow indoors or direct sow after last frost
Onion-flavored leaf spears and delicious flowers which bloom late summer.

:::FRUITS & VEGETABLES:::

Melon Hearts of Gold (heirloom)
Cucumis Melo, annual
70-90 days, direct sow after last frost
2-3 lb fruit, personal-size cantaloup with sweet, orange flesh. Suitable for trellising.

Summer Squash Early Prolific Straightneck (heirloom)
Cucurbita pepo, annual
45 days, Direct sow 2-3 weeks after last frost.
Yellow straightneck variety resistant to squash bug. Plants can become too large and less productive with age, so try planting several successions a few weeks apart.

Winter Squash Waltham Butternut (heirloom)
Curcubita pepo, annual
100 days, direct sow 2-3 weeks after last frost
3-6 lb, delicious fruits on strong vines resistant to boring insects. Harvest just before first frost, leaving part of stem attached. Cure in warm area for week – 10 days, then store in dry area at 45 -55 degrees all winter.

Winter Squash Blue Hubbard (heirloom)
Curcubita maxima, annual
110 days, direct sow 2-3 weeks after last frost
Blue-gray skin & orange flesh. Harvest just before first frost, leaving part of stem attached. Cure in warm area for week – 10 days, then store in dry area at 45 -55 degrees all winter.

Winter Squash Red Kuri
Curcubita maxima, annual
80 days, direct sow 2-3 weeks after last frost
Red/ orange skin & orange flesh. Harvest just before first frost, leaving part of stem attached. Cure in warm area for week – 10 days, then store in dry area at 45 -55 degrees all winter.

Corn Blue Dent (heirloom)
Zea mays, annual
90 days, direct sow 1-2 weeks after last frost
Protein-rich variety for cornmeal, reaching 7-8 ft. Plant in blocks rather than rows to ensure good pollination. Harvest when husks are completely dry.

Corn Hooker’s Sweet Indian (heirloom)
Zea mays, annual
80 days, direct sow 1-2 weeks after last frost
4-5′ plants with 5-7″, semi-sweet, purple & white ears. Plant in blocks rather than rows to ensure good pollination. Harvest when silks turn brown. Best when eaten very fresh.

:::FLOWERS:::

Marigold African Crackerjack
Tagetes erecta, annual
Start indoors 4-6 wks before last frost, or direct sow after last frost
Large variety reaching 2-3 ft, with orange & yellow 4″ single and double blooms.