Category Archives: Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden

Fundraiser successes supporting trees in CNY!

Two local agroforestry fundraisers have succeeded in their goals this summer! Germinating projects that will grow toward fruition as we head into winter and the year to come. Much thanks for all contributions and support.

Alchemical Nursery fundraised $748/700 toward the 3 part peachy goal! “For part one, we will plant two dwarf peach at the 610 Gifford St Community Garden ($100), for part two we will invest in an electric mower (Kobalt 80V ($550) to maintain the abandoned orchard site so the peach trees there stay healthy, for part three, we will plant an additional peach tree at the Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden ($50).”

New York Tree Crop Alliance (NYTCA) co-op has raised enough funds to buy a Kern Kraft Oil Press near Ithaca! This enables tree crop stewards to process Earth’s gifts of hickories & hazelnuts into useful & healthy oils that can be stored, shipped, and used to create a variety of value-added products. A key step in scaling up toward more broadly accessible and viable tree-based livings.
🌲 🙏 🙌 🌳

McKinley-Brighton Artwork & Student Garden at Rahma Edible Forest Garden

It’s taken quite a few years to figure this out, but we finally created a relationship with McKinley-Brighton school that worked! The kids and teachers did a great job with integrating their artwork into the garden, and we even coordinated a new growing space just for them to have fun and learn in. :>) Check it out when you’re heading down South Salina St! By the way, strawberries are ripening as we sleep and breathe, grab a snack, and take a look at what’s new, what’s old, and what’s in real.

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Syracuse Grows Member Garden Meeting: March 19 Notes

The resource drive will take place on April 27th. We need 2 or more people and shovels on site to unload compost and woody debris/mulch. Also, Syracuse Grows is looking for pickup truck drivers to help move material around and will pay for cleanup costs. The HQ for the Resource Drive will be on the corner of Colvin & Salina St.

Spring seedlings partnership with the Brady Farm was announced: member gardens will get a $20 credit to pickup seedlings at Brady Farm. The images below link to the available seedlings list passed out at the meeting (front and back). Most items will be available starting May 6th (farm is open Monday-Friday 9am-3:30pm and Saturday 9am-1pm). Spring greens/brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, collards, mustards, pac choi) are only available the week of April 22 – 27th, 9am-3pm.

Seedling List – Back

Seedling List – Front

Syracuse Grows Mini-Grant Program for member gardens is available this year. Applications are short and just call for receipts and status updates if awarded. Awards are reimbursement-based with a maximum of $400 per garden. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis at the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Other funding opportunities were discussed: the Parks Conservancy offers up to $2,000 grants and Syracuse community gardens within the city are eligible. The Gifford Foundation’s What If grant is another potential funding source, with rolling applications and a history of awards to community gardens.

We announced the upcoming Plant Sale & Swap hosted by Alchemical Nursery & Bread and Roses.

Seaberry aka Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) – Plant Highlight

Seaberry Benefits

A list and table provided by Whole Systems Design, LCC: http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/wsd-seaberry-products/

  • Exceptional essential fatty acid content.
  • Nitrogen fixer
  • Hardy from USDA zones 3 (maybe 2b) to 7 for sure, probably 8 (I’ve seen growing in Tuscany Italy and have heard first hand reports of them growing in central Canada where it gets to -50F)
  • Nearly deer proof (very resistant to browse once established and even early on with thorns present)
  • All parts medicinal from leaves to fruit to bark (non fruit parts used as a tea for centuries)
  • Fast growing and drought tolerant
  • Soil hardy – we’ve grown them well in everyting from sandy to heavy dense clay
  • Birds do not harvest them much if at all
  • But great bird nest habitat
  • Needs full to 3/4 day sun minimum
  • Exceptionally wind hardy – great wind heedge and snow fence
  • Salt tolerant – grows on Siberian coastal dunes
  • Bears every year, bears at a young age
  • Flowers hardy to below 20F – exceptionally reliable and resilient in the face of late frosts
  • Maintenance free once established -no need to prune
Constituents of Sea Buckthorn Fruit (per 100 grams fresh berries)
Vitamin C 200-1,500 mg (typical amount: 600 mg)
Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Up to 180 mg (equal to about 270 IU)
Folic acid Up to 80 mcg
Carotenoids, including beta carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthine; these contribute the yellow-orange-red colors of the fruit 30-40 mg
Fatty acids (oils); the main unsaturated fatty acids are oleic acid (omega-9), palmitoleic acid (omega-7), palmitic acid and linoleic acid (omega-6), and linolenic acid (omega-3); there are also saturated oils and sterols (mainly β-sitosterol) 6-11% (3-5% in fruit pulp, 8-18% in seed); fatty acid composition and total oil content vary with subspecies
Organic acids other than ascorbic (e.g., quinic acid, malic acid; ingredients similar to those found in cranberries) Quantity not determined; expressed juice has pH of 2.7-3.3
Flavonoids (e.g., mainly isorhamnetin, quercetin glycosides, and kaempferol; these are the same flavonoids as found in Ginkgo biloba. 100-1,000 mg (0.1% to 1.0%)

To hugelkulture or not to hugelkulture? Mulch is the question @ Rahma

Rahma Forest Garden is likely one of the most carbon rich soil sites in the city of Syracuse. Trees and perennial plants have been established there for over 5 years, and many truck loads of mulch have been spread on the site with Syracuse Grows’ annual garden Resource Drive. We chop and drop some plants like black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and comfrey (Symphytum) to help build soil Carbon & Nitrogen. In addition to chop & dropping some plants, we accumulate a lot of plant matter from weeding, thinning, and pruning on site, which gets piled up in a low pallet fence roughly separating woody debris from green materials.

This piled up plant debris is useful in theory. In reality, the piles are too loosely stacked to effectively break down, they are unwieldy to move or turn over, and they ultimately end up an eye sore (or once upon a time, a nest for abandoned kittens!), needing to be brought to the curb for city pickup.

Mulch from Syracuse Grows waiting to be spread with pitch forks & shovels, buckets & wheelbarrows at Rahma Forest Garden September 22, 2018

City pickup is a nice option as the city has substantial mulching infrastructure & logistics, and the mulch made from city yard waste like that at Rahma Forest Garden is available for pickup at various locations for free. We end up cycling nutrients from Rahma Forest Garden, to the city composting facilities, then back to Rahma Forest Garden in some cases (or in some ‘Carbons’)! Taking a closer look at this nutrient cycle, city pickup means the use of fossil fuels (trucks, heavy machinery) and the removal of nutrients from on the garden. That yard waste grew from sun, water and soil. If the goal is to build soil with a low-footprint as part of the regenerative garden, isn’t there a more regenerative solution? Some options being considered are listed below. The question at hand is: what’s the best way(s) to handle plant waste from the forest garden, maintaining healthy nutrient cycles for the site and beyond?

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Revisiting Rahma – restocking of Rahma Edible Food Forest after 5 years of tree growth

A fundraiser for $500 dollars

In 2012 we started the journey together through design, fundraising and organizing, to build a forest garden on the grounds of the Rahma Free Clinic.  In 2018, after 5 years of growing a forest, we will revisit and renew, taking an intentional look at what succeeded and what failed, redesigning plots and polycultures, and replanting and newly mulching spaces that haven’t yet fulfilled their potential at the Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden in Syracuse NY, located at 3100 South Salina St.

For example, one of our first plots – the paw-paw/currant/gooseberry/mint polyculture – has been very stable, though we lost one pawpaw tree following a dry period during the summer of 2016.   Most of the groundcover and herbaceous layer is productive, but some spots have seen takeover by plant species that we would rather convert to other productive residents.  Thistle and wild lettuce will be replaced with  friendlier clover, gaps between under-story specimens will be re-mulched and filled in with cuttings from the adjacent gooseberry and currants, and the pawpaw loss will be replanted with two new 4-foot tall saplings (approximate cost with shipping $100.00).

Second, the center of out garden has often suffered from dry periods, and the trees planted there have either been mortality specimens or have grown very very slowly.  We will replant with a monarch waystation patch of 32 plants including 6 different species* ($136.85), as well as a triumvirate of Adirondack Gold Apricot trees ($104.24)!

The remaining funds from the $500 raised will go towards supplies and materials such as plant stakes, ID tags, snacks for volunteers, and clover seed.  If we raise more than the $500, we’ll be able to extend our revisit to other patches in the forest too!  Come take a look and share what areas you’d like to see receive some extra special TLC this year.

* (5) Butterflyweed for Clay (3″ Pots), (5) Rough Blazingstar (3″ Pots), (5) Common Milkweed (3″ Pots), (5) Sky Blue Aster (3″ Pots), (6) Hoary Vervain (3″ Pots), (6) Purple Coneflower (3″ Pots)

Picture above is from our annual Juneberry harvest!  The perks we are providing to donors of this campaign are not metered out in buttons, or keychains, or postcards, or any other trinkets, but in real food, and planting stock, and seeds, that we give away and share with anyone that visits the edible food forest, from the plants that we grow on site!

Rahma Stewardship Team Scheduling

Getting a permaculture forest garden through the first stage of succession takes work. Trees take time for their canopies to emerge, and there is rigorous competition as intended cover crops try to spread and establish themselves. All that means Rahma Forest Garden needs extra care and maintenance as it perseveres toward a more stable state: freeing up trees, pulling out obvious overgrowth of weeds, pruning and clearing trails and growing space to help people and plants thrive there.

We’re growing a Stewardship Team to look after Rahma Forest Garden. The team schedule is on Google Drive and can be accessed at the following link. Please feel free to sign up for a participation or leadership slot, or make note of a time you’ll be going to steward the garden!

Rahma Stewardship Team Schedule ( https://goo.gl/xOAWv3 )

Right now, the Rahma Stewardship Team is mostly Alchemical Nursery board members and regular volunteers, and we’d like to expand the team and involve more local community members. Being an Alchemical Nursery, part of our long-term goal is to pass on mature and fruitful projects to local communities once we’ve nursed the seeds into sprouts and cared for sprouts so they grow up as hearty creatures! Right now, Rahma is a little bit beyond the sprout stage and needs attention and support, as well as a shift in stewardship toward long-term, local care and enjoyment. As Alchemical Nursery we strive to facilitate that through plant propagation for the public, training volunteers, raising community awareness about permaculture lifestyles & landscapes in Syracuse, and hosting educational workshops for a diversity of youth & adults. All that takes time, resources, and most importantly: volunteers! We invite anyone with interest in learning more or getting more involved to reach out to us and come to the forest garden!

Rahma Forest Garden News

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