Whistle As You Work

The sequel from last year’s polar vortex has taken over the entire nation over this week (but at least we aren’t in Buffalo!). So, there has not been much activity in the garden this week. But, many students ventured out to Loy Farms this past Saturday to help environmental professor Steve Moore with research by shoveling LOTS of soil.

Digging up those holes

Digging up those holes

This project will take a lot of hours, hands and effort. It’s a fact of life that most gardening tasks take a lot of work. Especially for overschedule college students, this isn’t always ideal (unless you’re procrastinating on homework). Here are some timesaving gardening tips!

  1. Be a Water Wizard

Soaker hoses are the preferred tools of the trade. Regular hoses and watering cans will have you standing out there for a while to ensure all your crops are well watered.

All materials can be found at a local hardware store

All materials can be found at a local hardware store

2. Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

Many Elon students have planners to help accomplish their daily, semester and yearlong goals. Plan out what and where you want to grow your crops before planting season. Throughout the year, plan out the tasks to completed each work session. If you have other workers involved, make sure you talk to them ahead of time to take their plans into account as well!

  1. Wack the Weeds

There are few tasks more dreaded than weeding. It’s Monotonous, menial and uncomfortable, but a necessary activity (just like math class) Instead of picking each week out of the soil individually, use a sharp spade to slice beneath weeds, then turn them over to completely bury the leaves. As a bonus, the weeds will add nutrients to the soil!

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Lastly, the number one thing that will make gardening easy and fast is enjoying it! Blast some music and invite friends to help. Set rewards for finishing tasks. Don’t forget your gardening passion during this cold weather. If you want to experience one of these amazingly fun garden work sessions, contact ahren@elon.edu to get involved!

Winter Is Coming

An amazing, wonderful and fantastic thing happened at the Elon Community Garden this weekend: the garden shed was organized!!

Look at the beautifulness!

Look at the beautifulness!

You can see the floor!

You can see the floor!

BIG thank you to garden intern Kathryn Robling who not only organized and cleaned the shed, but completed a full inventory as well! Having a systemized shed is a crucial factor for every gardener. Where we would be if we didn’t know where our shovels were? Or how many wheelbarrows we have in order to haul smelly compost? This is especially important at Elon University, where there are many students who go into the shed to use gardening tools almost every day.

Other students helped out this weekend by painting the new benches that intern Dustin Pfaehler built. Now the benches are colorful and interesting to look out. Thanks to everyone who contributed despite the risk of getting covered in paint!

Neat designs!

Neat designs!

Now students have a place to relax by the garden pond.

Now students have a place to relax by the garden pond

A cold front will be occurring for the rest of the week. Say goodbye to the remaining tomatoes and okra, we’ll see them next year! Check out next post to see how the crops survive their first real winter frost.

One last tip from Elon's Community Garden!

One last tip from Elon’s Community Garden!

What Time Is It?

With daylight savings this weekend, working in the garden is a game changer. Normal class time is from 5:00-6:00 pm. By 5:30, darkness was already setting in!

Some nearby lights help illuminate the garden

Some nearby lights help illuminate the garden

Along with daylight savings, low temperatures and the possibility of frost are now very real dangers. Frost can easily kill certain crops, especially young ones. To help protect plants a plastic sheet is now covering them on colder nights until the early morning.

Plastic sheet covering some of the peppers

Plastic sheet covering some of the peppers

Another important tip for protecting your garden for winter is getting rid of any already dead plants. Cut off any diseased foliage to avoid spreading bad pathogens and creating a home for insect eggs over the winter.

Lastly, use the ever-helpful compost soil. The crops are going to need every form of nutrition they can get for the next few months. Fall is an ideal time to use up any of that rich, summer compost. Even though it seems like a garden goes dormant during the winter, earthworms and other microbes are still processing the organic material they’re finding.

One season's end is another's beginning

One season’s end is another’s beginning

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Even though it’s the last day of October, things are still busy at the garden. Yesterday, the rice patties that were put in the garden this past summer were composted. 

Rice patties, pumpkins and dirt, oh my!

Rice patties, pumpkins and dirt, oh my!

But don’t be afraid! Some of the rice was saved from the patties. To harvest rice, each individual grain must be removed from the plant straw; a process called threshing. After the rice is threshed, it must be winnowed. The chaff, or the outer husk pieces that cling to the grain, must also be removed. Lastly, the the grains are rubbed together so the outer bran layer is gone and only the piece of rice is left. Stay tuned to see how far students go with harvesting the rice!

Rice from the plant

Rice from the plant

Apparently some insects and bugs in the garden love the soil left behind the rice patties. Talk about scary! 

Centipedes, millipedes and a slug

Centipedes, millipedes and a slug

Enjoy receiving your own treats tonight. Happy Halloween from Elon Community Garden!

Fall Pumpkin Festival 2014

What a weekend! Thanks to every single person who helped plan or attended this year’s Fall Pumpkin Festival this Friday. It was an enormous success! The weather was perfect, all of the activities were a success and good food was shared by all. Plus, an extra big thank you to the attendees who donated and helped us raise about $90 in donations for supplies for the garden.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video the official university communications team put together. Special shout out to garden manager Allison and festival planning leader Rachel for being stars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1taQrA6EkqE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Fall Break Fun

Although many Elon students were off-campus for Fall Break, there was some action going on at Elon’s Community Garden!

EV! Alternative Fall Break Trip leaders Rachel and Kendra led a group of Elon students and staff to various locations around Elon to perform community service and learn about the local community. On Monday, the group spent the morning seeding, planting and weeding the in the garden.

Seeding flats

Seeding flats

Rachel is a familiar face around the garden, but it was a first time adventure for everyone else. Despite that, everone was a hard and enthusiastic worker!

Learning about planting lettuce

Learning about planting lettuce

As a reward, the group enjoyed eating the ripe tomatoes that are still hanging around (probably not for too long).

Seeds, seeds and more seeds

Seeds, seeds and more seeds

Thanks especially to Rachel for ensuring that a few more people know about all of the awesome things going on at the garden.

Fearless leader Rachel

Fearless leader Rachel

We hope to see all of these wonderful Elon volunteers in the garden again!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Garden Makeover

The newly fallen leaves and acorns aren’t the only additions to Elon’s Community Garden lately. This past weekend students worked hard on repainting the wooden fence that surrounds the garden.

Students painting instead of planting

Students painting instead of planting

Elon alum and former garden manager Andrea made a special appearance and helped out! We’ve missed her unique sense of humor and dedication to the garden.

Wise Andrea came back to share her garden knowledge

Wise Andrea came back to share her garden knowledge

The end result matched the kind of weather we’ve been having lately- full of sunshine!

Sunflowers!

Do you see the sunflowers?

A new garden bed was also added. This is what is called a raised garden bed, or also called garden boxes. Benefits of having these structures include keeping pathway weeds out of your garden, prevent soil compaction and erosion, provide good drainage and act as a protective barrier from any potential pests (human or not).

Student decorated garden bed

Student decorated garden bed

So far into the semester, the garden is in good shape!

Student plots

Student plots

Now it’s time rest up from the hard work that’s been done this semester. Have a good fall break everyone!

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A friendly message from your Elon Community Garden!