Bayside Park Arcata Educational Farm Community Garden
I am renting a 5′ X 22′ garden plot at the Bayside Park Educational Farm from the City of Arcata; at the cost of $75 per year. We will be turning it into a big raised bed.
I have informed city hall that they should let people know that I was told by the previous coordinators that the entire area suffers from a white rot infestation, so growing Alliums (garlic, onions, etc.) in the native soil is a no-no… or at least a touch-and-go… for at least several years. I have thought about putting a plastic liner in the bed to keep its soil isolated from the infested native soil so that I may grow Alliums. I have heard that mixing garlic powder or garlic "tea" into the infested native soil, the aroma of which, will "trick" the white rot into germinating even though it won’t find any Alliums it needs to complete its life cycle. I might also try chopping and mixing fresh Alliums into the soil, which I assume would work better than garlic powder as it has more aroma.
Concerning the white rot, I am thinking about inoculating a mixture of wood chips and/or straw with Hypsizygus ulmarius [Elm Oyster Mushroom], around and into a portion of the raised bed to see whether or not the mushroom mycelium will successfully protect the Alliums from the white rot. I would grow unprotected Alliums for comparison and to confirm the presence of white rot. Note: I have since decided against doing this experiment.
The new coordinators have mixed garlic with certain areas in the soil, but not in the raised beds area, to combat the white rot. It turns out that the white rot infestation was not as extensive as I was previously told, as several raised bed gardeners are successfully growing Alliums.
May 01, 2011: Started building EV’s raised bed yesterday, putting the frame together, laying down cardboard, then straw, and soil/compost will come next. Put redwood chips around the bed to create paths, as the area is somewhat low and prone to being muddy in winter.
After I assured the lady who was working on one of the beds behind ours that it was permissible to use the huge pile of redwood chips in the driveway, she did like me and made paths.
June 01, 2011: One month later and we still need soil! We bought the least expensive wheelbarrow we could find today… our budget is very low… although we have taken it to another project site, since the Bayside Garden provides all the tools gardeners may need.
October 15, 2011: All my time has been taken up elsewhere, but today I got out to the raised bed. We brought in some more soil. Other people have been growing onions without white rot problems. We have enough soil now and I have planted garlic, chard, and many other species of cool season edibles… although, other than the garlic, I have tossed and strewn about the seeds onto the soil and then watered them in… it will be interesting to see how this ecological garden will perform… an experiment… although I know that this method works best when there is some plant cover already established and some compost put on top of the seeds.
May 2012: The raised bed is planted with a variety of plants; also I confirmed with one of the other raised bed owners that there is indeed white rot, but it was only present on one of his garlic bulbs. Keep in mind that white rot takes years to die out on its own, but only without a host, so growing Alliums is only helping to spread the white rot and ensure it does not die out anytime soon.
June 2012: There is indeed white rot! But not very much… the garlic is awesome!
September 2012: I have moved to a location too far from the Bayside Edu Farm to conveniently upkeep the raised bed every week, so I have not renewed the plot even though it is almost fully planted with all sorts of edibles… to whoever gets it, have fun… we did!