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.