Saturday, July 31, 2021

Nocturne Variety of Blueberries

 Nocturne Blueberry Plants, Saturday, July 31, 2021

We recently purchased Nocturne blueberry plants from Swanson’s Nursery in Seattle. Nocturne is a new release from the USDA with large dark fruit on 5-6 ft tall plants. It is a cold hardy and late variety, highly nutritious, and we find the berries especially delicious! We will grow these plants over the winter and will sell them at our spring plant sale. We will also be propagating starts and plan to have an increasing number of small plants for sale in the future. Above are photos of our new Nocturne plants and our propagation area under the grape arbor. 

Note on Tomato Tasting - We decided to have our annual tomato variety tasting event this year on Saturday, September 11. Check our Facebook page or this blog for more details as we get closer to the event.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

 Pollinators in the Garden, Saturday, July 24, 2021

Gallucci Learning Garden is being very productive this summer. We have summer squash, cucumbers, onions, rhubarb and blueberries. There are a few tomatoes, but they are coming on slowly. We believe the success is due to improving our soil, and also to making the garden a welcome place for pollinators, especially bees.

We have homes for Mason and Leafcutter bees, and there is an abundance of bumble bees. These pollinators are crucial to the production of both cucumbers and squash. We planted a variety of flowers to purposefully attract and keep the bees. One thing we are trying this year is to let some of our broccoli flower because we see it covered with bees. We also let our spring collard greens flower to collect seed. There are sunflowers and other annual and perennial varieties of flowers. We also have a large bird bath with a solar sprayer that attracts a wide range of birds, bees and insects.

Saturday, July 10, 2021


 Saturday, July 10

Gallucci Learning Garden is back with a full set of volunteers. Our garden is doing very well this season. Today we harvested beets, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, basil, squash, cucumbers, and blueberries. 

Volunteers are experimenting with some new techniques. One of these is spraying fruit trees with a kaolin clay mixture “after petal fall to repel many types of pests and protect trees from sunburn and high temperatures.” See the Philadelphia Orchard Project website, Below are photos of our young Liberty apple and the product we are using.

Another experiment is growing our cucumbers up both sides of a trellis from raised beds, and we are trimming the bottom leaves and vines so there is better air circulation and the blossoms are more accessible to the pollinators. We hope to increase our harvest and prevent the mildew that shortens our season.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

         Happy Spring 2021!!

April 14, 2021: Gallucci Learning Garden is back for the 2021 season. We are meeting every Saturday morning from 9 until noon and new volunteers are welcome.

Our annual plant sale is coming up. Here is the information:

Saturday and Sunday April 24-25 and May 1-2

Saturday May 8 

Wednesday April 28 and May 5

9 to noon each day at the garden site, 14th and G Street in downtown Tacoma. We try to cover our operating costs through our plant sale, so please come support the garden and buy some fine, organic plant starts. We will have tomatoes and peppers, blueberries and artichokes, flowers, figs and some vegetable starts. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Putting the garden to bed; garlic and blueberries for next year

November 2020

We have finished putting the garden to bed. We did this by adding some lime and Azomite to each of our beds, then covering with compost and finally with burlap sacks. The lime adjusts the pH of our beds from acidic to more neutral. Winter rains leach out the nutrients that balance the soil pH. Azomite is a product that adds back in trace minerals. Compost will continue to break down in the soil and covering with burlap keeps the microorganisms in the soil active throughout the winter. When we uncover the beds in early spring we will add nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. If we were to add these in the fall they would just get leached out by the winter rains. 

It is important to note that our beds were not made on native soil, but mostly from Tagro that was brought in. Native soil that contains clay would have more of the minerals we need.  We test the soil in our beds to find out what they lack, and our advice to readers of this blog is to get your soil tested so you know what you are working with before you start adding supplements. Warning: An excess of nutrients (i.e. applying what you don't need!) works its way into the Puget Sound water supply and damages the environment. Thanks!

We planted garlic in October to harvest in the spring. We prepared the bed with some fertilizer as well as lime and Azomite since the garlic will grow over the winter. Then we covered in straw and finally covered the whole bed with row cover to keep the squirrels out.

Our other preparation for next season was the potting up of blueberries. We found a supplier of early, mid season and late blueberries and had them shipped to us. They had been in small 4" pots and were shipped in wood shavings. We potted these up in gallons to sell next season at our plant sale.

We will not meet regularly at the garden site until March. However, the stewards will stay in touch over the winter online to discuss seed starting and tending young plants at our homes for our spring sale. Our plan is to sell from our parking lot again with a wide range of vegetables from early season to summer, including the blueberries and flowers.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Planting Garlic, Putting Garden “To Bed”

 Saturday, 10/24/20

After taking two Saturdays off because of rain, stewards returned today to begin the process of putting the garden to bed. A week ago several stewards planted garlic cloves in a prepared bed, adding a small amount of fertilizer, minerals and lime. Then the bed was covered with compost, straw and a floating row cover to keep the friendly squirrels from digging up our hard work!

Today’s task was to cut off tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant, chop the stalks (except mildewed squash leaves went in the trash), and then return these as a cover for the soil. Next week we will add some minerals, lime, oak leaves, and straw. Finally we cover beds with burlap. This method of putting the garden to bed allows the soil bacteria to continue to work over the winter to break down nutrients and make them available for plants in the spring.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Fall Garden Prep, October 3,2020

 Today we began preparing one of our beds for winter planting and the rest for “going to bed” for the winter. We did a deep soil loosening and added rabbit poo in the bed which will be planted soon with onions. For the rest of the beds we began pulling out dead stalks and weeds. We plan to sweeten the soil with lime before covering with straw and burlap. Northwest soils tend to be quite acidic, which is why we add the lime. In the early spring we will add fertilizer. It is best to add fertilizer in the spring because water soluble nutrients like nitrate and phosphate will leach out with winter rains and be lost. Final harvests this week included summer squash, figs and tomatoes. A heavy blanket of straw and burlap will keep down weeds and add organics to the soil as they decompose over the winter. Next week we will harvest our winter squash. Steward Deb is a dynamite weeder and harvester!