Friday, July 15, 2011

Parties all the time...

I was home this weekend, so I missed the work party, but everyone else got a lot done--put together the new garden cart (!), continued mulching the second site, finished some very lasagna-style, permaculture tree-circles and (as always) did some weeding.

I did, however, bring back a few flats of flowers from my aunt's garden, so the weekend wasn't a total waste in terms of garden productivity. I planted a lot in the bed with the rhubarh and horse radish...some day it'll be a forest garden, but for now it's home to zinnias and this great purple salvia. I also brought back impatients and some other shade-loving plants for underneath the two trees, but have yet to plant them...they're looking a little sad thanks to this crazy, crazy heat, but hopefully they'll get in the ground by our next work party...a.k.a. tomorrow.

We're also starting to get a lot more produce in--there's a shit ton of summer squash and zucchini, and the little ground cherries are ripening, as well as the ever-present crop of greens. Very exciting!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saturday Work Party

Saturday work party went well: we reseeded a bunch of lettuce, some mustard greens, etc., worked on rescuing the horse-radish and rhubarb from weeds, planted the last of the free seedlings we got from various Smith staff and faculty, and dug some new beds. What we really need to do is figure out some space-holding technique for all the extra shady space in the second site. G suggested ground cover...sounds okay to me, but I'm a little worried about down the line, when we (possibly) will be ruing the day we ever planted red clover or whatever and spend all our time pulling it out of our vegetable beds. At any rate, time to research ground covers...particularly those that aren't interested in taking over the world (or our garden).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Late Introductions

I've been reading through some of the old material on this blog (the proposal and old "about this site" page, which there are links to on your right) and realized that a) some things have changed and b) I haven't really introduced myself yet.

So! The old "about us" page says that one student will be responsible for recruiting and managing a team of volunteers to maintain the garden over the summer. This has been true for most of the garden's (short) history--until this year, in fact. During the last academic year, Angela and Dylan (the garden managers) proposed two internship positions related to the garden: one via the Smith Botanic Garden student internship and one with Dining Services. Both were accepted, so we now have two students whose job descriptions that at least in part relate to the CG.

I'm Alli, the Botanic Garden intern, and have funding from the new Center for Ecological and Environmental Design and Sustaibaility (CEEDS) to spend 120 hours this summer working on community garden related stuff. I've spent a bit of that time actually in the garden, but will spend the majority of it producing a report about the garden and maintaining this blog/work log. Which explains the work log I posted a few days and the speed of new updates on this blog. I'll also be writing blog posts for the CEEDS blog too, which I'll kindly direct your attention to once they're up. Aside from all this, I'm also the summer manager...a.k.a. I live in the garden, and then get paid to write about the free time I spend weeding/hoeing/crying about our bolted lettuce. Woo hoo!

Gemma is the Dining Services intern; her job mostly involves general work for Dining Services and researching local food options for the dining halls. But she also spends a few hours a week in the garden and acts as a liaison between the garden and Dining Services, which has been super great.

Anyways, all that to say hi...and that you'll be hearing from me a lot!

The last of the June work parties

Best way to get people to come to work parties: offer them food. Two new people showed up because I promised lettuce in exchange for an hour or two of work. Some call it bribery, I say it's more like a barter system. Or an exchange economy. Or something.

Anyways, we also sold our first round of lettuce and greens to Dining Services at the Wednesday work party--23 Butterhead lettuce heads, 16 Red Romaine lettuce heads and a bundle of collard greens. We brought them directly to Lamont after picking them--it brings a whole new meaning to "sourcing locally."

And, in the process of harvesting, we learned a very basic rule: don't let your lettuce bolt. I thought I pretty much had that one down prior to this whole shindig, but I dropped the ball a bit on organizing harvesting with Dining Services, and like that all our tender baby lettuce was suddenly sending up flowers and wanting to go to seed before I had solidified plans with the people in charge. Which, of course, meant that some of it was way to bitter to do anything with, and was introduced to our brand new compost bins instead of the dining hall. Ah well...lesson learned. I mean, this is supposed to be an educational experience, right?

We also finally finished pounding in the last few stakes we're using to stake the tomatoes, which means significantly less sag-age and crookedness--always a plus. And we started putting down mulch too, which will hopefully cut down on some hoeing and weeding time, and seeded the next round of lettuce. Oh, the excitement of work parties!