Sunday, May 8, 2011

as the school year wraps up, things are really starting to kick in at the campus farm! unfortunately, that's just how it works with a school farm. we're done with spinach and kale due to the warm temperatures, but everything else is just coming in.

we've been harvesting cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, radishes and the last of the spinach over the past few weeks. we have a couple tiny strawberry plants transplanted from the DPC community garden that have tiny strawberries on them! as well as some flowers and herbs. the broccoli is looking really good also, and should be ready in a couple weeks. onions and garlic in about a month.

carrots and beets are still looking pretty small but doing well. the peas are flowering! yay! they are a dwarf variety so they are small and cute.

and we have little sprouts of red cabbage and kohlrabi.

we just planted some of our summer squash, zucchinis, basil and okra in the garden and more squash, cucucumbers, beans and corn is next....when we have the space :(

we also have a ton of tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse doing well, should be ready for transplant around early june. hopefully by then we have a little more room throughout the garden! we're definitely feeling a little cramped.

we're excited also to welcome James and Laura as the summer farm managers, with Aaron French working with the ENST dept to help out the farm and some of the logistical stuff! they should be a really great team and have lots of enthusiasm, dedication to sustainable ag and tons of great ideas for how to better integrate the farm into the community.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

our spring succession of crops (just the stuff we put in the ground in early spring) is pretty much all planted at this point and everything is thriving! yay! the cabbage in particular is doing great but we will also be able to harvest lettuce soon and most things should be starting to be ready for harvest around late may (onions, broc, cabbage, peas, beets etc).

this is a little later than I would personally like (everyone on campus now, including seniors, will be long gone by then!) but unfortunately we still deal with some infrastructure hardships like no access to water at the beginnning of the season, a greenhouse with a couple holes in it :) and no money for good potting soil (we use a mixture of mushroom soil and topsoil). all these little things add up to slow growth in our seedlings, although probably the biggest obstacle was not having the water on at the house until a couple weeks ago. and currently, it is off :(

we have had a bunch more volunteers lately which is great to get to know everyone and see some new faces!

we also had two of our exec board members recognized for their work with the campus farm (and other things) by the SGA with the Student Sustainability award. yay! it is always nice to be appreciated :)

there was an article in the point news about the campus farm's SGA bill passing and an opinion written about the campus farm, as well as the campus farm being brought up in conjunction with student fee opinions, so lots of publicity lately. which can be both good and bad.

Friday, April 15, 2011

just to clear up any misconceptions...

it seems that some people think that the fee increase will go ALL to the campus farm. this is absolutely untrue. the campus farm's budget would be totally covered by a fee increase of $2.50; this fee increase is $25. we have gotten a grant and funding from the ENST office and the sustainability office, also, so really the money the farm gets from the SGA would be even less than $2.50 per student/year.

to put things in perspective: the SGA paid more for the ice rink in the spring than it is contributing for two students to have summer employment at the farm and the rest of the farm's operating budget for a year.

the student fee increase is more about how general fees haven't gone up at all for a long time. the majority of the SGA's budget goes to programs and clubs, things that benefit pretty much everyone who does anything. I personally very rarely fully support how the SGA spends my money. but I recognize that other people do like to go see comedians, enjoy world carnival, participate in club sports and all sorts of other things.

the SGA is unwilling to fund any new projects without having a fee increase. unfortunately the campus farm falls under a new project so despite the relatively tiny amount of money we are asking for, fees do need to go up in general.

hope that clears things up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


the student fee increase referendum is coming up next week. PLEAASE vote YES to increase student fees. student fees haven't gone up for a long time (more than five years and I think close to ten years), and without a fee increase, the campus farm most likely will not be funded after this year....which would mean no more campus farm :(

so VOTE and VOTE YES for student fee increase.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

hello! this past week and a half we have gotten a lot done at the farm...notably the electric fence is up and working for the first time in a long time so if you go out there please make sure to turn it off before you touch it! I hear it delivers quite a shock....

we have transplanted all of our broccoli, cabbage and most of our lettuce, as well as seeded some spring greens (broccoli raab and mustard greens). We also have weeded most of the truly wild areas of the garden, where in one case, baby rabbits were nesting! oh no! but we moved them outside of the garden where they will not eat all of the spring greens, and made a secure gate so no more animals can get in.

the peas and onions are up (sprouting), which is exciting, but we may have to re-seed some of the carrots, since they have not yet come up.

tomorrow (thursday) is eat local day at the great room! we will have a table up and hopefully some of our produce will be specially featured but please stop by and say hello and try some spinach and kale from the farm.

we will also have a table at World carnival this weekend and if you'd like to help paint some of our signs, make hot pepper wreaths, or seed tomatoes please stop by!

Aaron French's SMP, the church community garden located right next to the campus farm, was recently featured in the St. Mary's Enterprise, a local newspaper. It was a really nice article about the importance of community gardening especially for faith-based organizations, and there are pictures of the campus farm. for more information on that project please see the website:

unfortunately, in some bad news, we have had to abandon the community garden by DPC. we don't currently have the time or resources to make it all that it can be and some administrators felt that it was not helping the area's aesthetics. however, this will allow us to really focus on the campus farm and have a wide diversity of flowers, herbs and vegetables in one place.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

summer positions


Resumes and Cover letters can be sent to Lisa Neu, the Sustainability Fellow, at, who also sent out via all student email the job application for the positions for over the summer.

the general description can be found here:

please contact lisa for the extended description if you missed it the first time around!

Monday, April 4, 2011

spring is really here!!

up until today it has been really cold and wet this past week and for a while it felt like spring was never going to come. this past week we planted fun jen chinese cabbage seedlings, some of our lettuces, and finished the first part of our fencing! we also got fluffy new straw to put down to strangle out the weeds. we're waiting on the soil to warm up so everything we've planted grows faster....and the water is still off at the house, which could turn into a problem if it doesn't rain this week :/

we're looking at planting beets, broccoli and more greens for the spring, we also have potatoes and more onions to plant. we are going to start our summer succession of crops in the greenhouse soon also: lots of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra hopefully!

we also have received funding from the SGA for our summer workers (and officially the campus farm is a line item in the budget for the next year) and we sent out the application. Hooray for funding! this was quite a debated issue in the SGA and we're just extremely thankful that we did receive funding (as without summer workers the farm would not survive). please, thank your senators for voting for that if you can.

Lisa Neu, the Sustainbility Fellow, sent out the application for the summer workers this past week and the deadline is April 11th. Please check out the job description and send a resume and cover letter (saying why you're interested, what your experience is, etc), and then we'll conduct interviews and hopefully get two people hired by the end of april!

we will be at the farm every week day at 4 and weekends at 2 so come out, bring a friend and enjoy the warm weather :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recent Work


Despite spring break coming at a very inopportune time (this is when we need to be doing all our work!!) and lots of rain that makes it hard to get in and turn our soil (messing around with the soil doing bed prep while the ground is wet destroys soil structure :/), we have been able to get a fair amount of work done.

Our sprouts are growing well in the greenhouse and we should be able to transplant them in the next couple weeks.

In the community garden, we put up a very small fence and planted flowers, cilantro, parsley, chamomile, and other medicinal and culinary herbs, and also three beds of spinach, lettuce, and kale. A few townhouse members expressed interest in having greens in the community garden and they helped us to plant them! We need to make signs for the garden letting everyone know what's there, but these flowers, herbs and vegetables are grown for the student body to come and pick at will. We still have plans to plant tomatoes, basil, more herbs and transplants of flowers.

At the farm we are in the process of putting up our new fence, setting up irrigation, battling weeds, and direct seeding our spring crops. Today we planted onions, 3 different colors of carrots, snap peas, and radishes. This coming Sunday we hope to plant beets, spring greens, more radishes and possibly transplant some of our cabbage and broccoli seedlings.

We can always use help so please if you are interested come out this sunday at 2! even if its rainy we can still do some seeding and putting down mulch.

We also harvested spinach for the Inauguration luncheon this weekend. Of course we are excited to help out with the inauguration, but this spinach harvest also marks the first delivery to Bon Ap that we will be paid for! We have set up a system with them to start delivering produce. They also very kindly offered to pay for some of our seeds and it looks like we are at the beginning of a very fruitful relationship.

In other news, the legislation that will determine whether or not the SGA funds two summer workers at the campus farm is coming up for a decision this Tuesday 3/29 at the SGA meeting, and we're in the process of deciding how that hiring process should go. So if you have an interest in working at the farm over the summer, please keep an eye out for further details!

We also have a few classes coming to visit and hopefully get a lot of work done on the farm :), two documentaries that will feature the farm, and a few independent studies and SMP's related to the farm that are beginning to manifest in garden plots, compost bins and community involvement! So its a very exciting time for our campus farm.

More pictures soon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

volunteer days 2/27 and 3/5

the past two weeks have been pretty productive as we start getting ready in earnest for the growing season. last saturday (2/26) we were at the community garden on campus behind DPC clearing away the mulch we had put down at the beginning of winter and starting to figure out where our new beds are going to be.

for the community garden we are planning to have medicinal herbs and flowers, cutting flowers, easy to pick veggies like peppers and cherry tomatoes, and possibly some berries.

we're figuring out a planting plan right now that will be visually pleasing, easy to maintain, and user-friendly for anyone who wants to come get flowers, herbs and veggies during the summer and fall (and maybe some by this spring? who knows at this point!).

on sunday (2/27) we were down at Chancellor's Point starting the seeds for our spring succession of crops! the greenhouse down there was built last year by students out of mostly recycled materials and it is pretty awesome. we're using that and the rain barrels to get a head start on the growing season.

we started two varieties of broccoli, a Chinese variety of cabbage, several different types of lettuce, and a bunch of flowers and herbs for the community garden, including calendula, lavender, cosmos, holly-hocks, echinacea, marigolds, and many others! it will definitely be interesting to see what comes up......

other spring crops we are planning but get started directly in the ground rather than inside are carrots, beets, onions and snow peas.

yesterday (3/5) we were at the farm working on one of our biggest projects, fencing. we decided to use a combination of chicken wire and electric fence to deter groundhogs, rabbits and deer. apparently if you wrap a piece of aluminum foil around an electric fence and dab the foil with peanut butter, deer will come investigate the peanut butter and get a shock that scares them enough to not come back. for the chicken wire, we are bending it at a right angle and laying the bottom half of the fencing on the ground perpendicular to the rest of the fence to discourage animals from digging under the fence.

we also did some more bed prep, and harvested 8.5 lbs of spinach! not so bad for spinach thats made it through snow, biting cold and aphids.

our garlic that we planted in october is also looking great...we'd been a little worried over some of the stalks that were turning yellow, but it has perked right back up and will keep growing to be ready for harvest in june hopefully.

the kale looks to be growing back as well...unfortunately, the weeds are coming back too. we still have a fair amount of bed prep to do and there are a lot of places that need a heavier cover of straw.

we won't be having any more workdays until after spring break, at which point we will be:
  • sowing beets, carrots, onions and snap peas
  • transplanting cabbage, broccoli and lettuce
  • setting up our irrigation
  • finishing the fencing
  • finishing bed prep, initial weeding and mulching
  • sowing cover crop for all the beds we won't be using until later in the season
  • transplanting and direct seeding at the community garden as well!
probably after spring break we will also start having workdays during the week as well as both weekend days so look for an email about that.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Volunteer Day 2/20

Some pictures from our most recent work day! We prepared more beds and seeded lettuce, broccoli and cabbage.

Also, we found this head to put on our scarecrow.

Coming up this weekend we have a volunteer day at the Community Garden and then seeding more plants to put in the Chancellor's Point greenhouse. Keep an eye out for an email this week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

UPDATED: Volunteer Day, Sunday 2/13

Come on out to help out on the farm this Sunday, February 13th at 2 PM!

We are going to cleaning out the old beds from last semester and preparing the new ones by digging them up and mixing in mushroom soil.

We would love to see you there if it's your first time on this farm or a farm ever or if you came out every day last season.

See you Sunday!
Pictures from Volunteer day!

We added a lot more to the cold frame bed and prepped a lot of beds. Thank you to all the volunteers who came out to help! We really appreciate it and would love to see you again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cold Frame Bed

Here are some pictures! First, of the cold frame bed we put in today (on the left). What this does is trap heat and warm up the ground and plants so we can start planting earlier. There's nothing in there yet, but will be soon. We got the windows from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Also, here's what the farm looks like right now. It looks a little brown, but garlic is still growing. Despite being small and having a few aphids, the spinach is so sweet and delicious!!! Some of our romaine lettuce also survived through the winter under the row cover.

Everything else is pretty frost bitten and a little weedy and windblown... but so it goes in the winter. in the next few weeks we will be pulling out our fall crops and start prepping beds for spring! we'll also be starting seeds, seed catalog fortunes willing :)

The Beginnings

Here are a few pictures from the very beginning of the farm in Spring and Summer 2010. Check out the rest on our old blog,