Happy Last Day of Summer….?

This week consisted of lots garden “housekeeping.” Weeds were pulled, branches were transformed into woodchips, and grass was mowed. Now that the seedlings are (mainly) planted in the ground, any of the dead crops from summer must go.

Pulling up dying blueberry bushes

Pulling up dying blueberry bushes

Erin eliminating weeds

Erin eliminating weeds

One big project was cleaning up the basil bed. Basil is a well-known and popular plant. But since it only grows in the summer, it was on top of the list to remove.

Cate and Kate enjoying the smells of basil leaves

Cate and Kate enjoying the smells of basil leaves

Common types of basil are sweet basil, purple, lemon and Thai basil. The bushy leaves are very fragrant. Technically an herb, basil needs moist soil and about 10 to 12 inches of space in between each plant.

Basil bush!

Basil bush!

If you are truly a basil fan, you can start planting seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last spring frost. After the last frost date, the seedlings can be planted about ¼ inch deep. Once you are ready to harvest, basil can be used in lots of ways. Many people use it in a pesto sauce. Basil can also be used in vegetable soups and salads. You can even put basil on pizza, and in smoothies and cocktails!

Although the first day of fall is September 22, don’t despair that summer is over. For inspiration for this upcoming fall, or even this upcoming week, take some of the advice from the sign below that is hanging in the garden!

“Advice from a garden: Cultivate lasting friendships, sow seeds of kindness, and no vineing!”

Phase Two

Congrats! If you’re reading this, you’ve survived the first few weeks of classes. Elon’s Community Garden is now full of new student plots ready to grow! Each student chooses their own designated area in one of the garden’s multiple beds, and also decides what they want to plant. 

So many seedlings!

So many seedlings!

Students working together on their new plots.

Students working together on their new plots.

 

Students still need to tend to the other beds in the garden as well. Our okra bed has been doing fantastic!

 

Weeding out the okra bed

Weeding out the okra bed

 

By definition, okra is a flowering plant known for its edible green or purple seedpods. Cut up the pods and you can boil, stew, fry or simply simmer them. Edible okra oil can be pressed from the seeds too, and is high in unsaturated fats. Any way you cook okra is guaranteed to be delicious and nutritious! Okra itself is high in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium and potassium.

Green okra seedpod

Green okra seedpod

 

And thanks to Professor Strickland for providing homemade fertilizer. It will add an extra boost to the garden’s crops. It’s shaping up to be a great season! 

Prof. Michael Strickland teaching students the ingredients and benefits of the fertilizer.

Prof. Michael Strickland teaching students the ingredients and benefits of the fertilizer.

We’re Back!

The bookstore is buzzing, the dining halls are cooking, and students are checking out the library. A new semester has begun, and so has a new season at the Elon Community Garden and Loy Farms! Summer was hot, hot, hot but there was lots of activity both at the garden and farms. See how green and productive the summer has been thanks to our new garden manager, Allison Hren!

 

Garden looking a little wild after a busy summer.

Garden looking a little wild after a busy summer.

 

Peppers are just one of the many crops growing

Peppers are just one of the many crops growing

 

Loy Farms greenhouse ready for the new semester!

Loy Farms greenhouse ready for the new semester!

 

Corn, mostly a summer crop, still hanging in there at Loy Farms.

Corn, mostly a summer crop, still hanging in there at Loy Farms.

 

The lettuce in the Loy Farms greenhouse did very well this summer.

The lettuce in the Loy Farms greenhouse did very well this summer.

 

Along with some new crops, there is also a new garden studio class led by Professor Michael Strickland. Look out for the next post about what the class has been up to these first few weeks. In the meantime…happy new year y’all!

 

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…” – Susan Polis Schutz

It’s the last week of school and time is slipping past like water through our fingers. The community garden shows that we have come a long way since this year’s harsh winter. Crops are sprouting up everywhere!

Baby strawberries in the garden!

Baby strawberries in the garden!

Tomatoes starting to ripen

Tomatoes starting to ripen

The students in Professor Michael Strickland’s garden studio class are finally seeing the rewards of their hard work of planting in the beginning of the semester. Students are able to chose what they want to plant in their personal plots, and there is now a variety of crops.

Wildflowers and carrots in a student's personal plot

Wildflowers and carrots in a student’s personal plot

Not many people like beets, but apparently this student does!

Not many people like beets, but apparently this student does!

Just like the school year, the lifecycle of a garden ebbs and flows. It’s not easy to pull up the roots we set down when we arrived at Elon. But, without the changing of the seasons a garden would not be able to flourish and grow into something beautiful and strong.

Congratulations to our seniors graduating next week, especial garden studio TA Andrea Schultz! Thank you to all for your hard work.

Happy Summer!

 

 

Elon Strawberry Festival 2014

The last few weeks of school are full of signs of summer! And what is a better symbol of summer than strawberries? Professor Strickland’s garden studio class did a fantastic job hosting this year’s Strawberry Festival in the Elon Community Garden last Friday.

One of the best events at Elon!

One of the best events at Elon!

The class sold lots of herbs and plants they’ve been growing this semester.

Growing some garden love!

Growing some garden love!

There was also lots and lots and lots of yummy strawberry treats. From cakes, to ice cream, to smoothies, there were so many delicious foods to choose from!

How to choose?!

How to choose?!

The Festival is a celebration of strawberries and the happiness of summer. Visitors celebrated with live music, face painting and creative backdrops to take photos with friends.

Face painting and other fun activities

Face painting and other fun activities

Photo backdrop of three of the leaders of the event!

Photo backdrop of three of the leaders of the event! Cameron Hawkins, Sarah Wasko and Andrea Schultz

Thanks go to Michael Strickland and Andrea Schultz’s garden studio class for organizing the event. And a big thank you also goes to everyone who came and made it such a successful event!

 

 

Thanks to Sarah Wasko for these photos

 

Busy Bees

With spring here and summer around the corner, workdays in the garden now mean things to be done more than ever, and lots of sun and sweat! Especially when there are many beds to be aerated with u-bars!

Using U-bars to dig up soil in new beds

Using U-bars to dig up soil in new beds 

This Sunday, Loy Farms and its greenhouse had several more helpers than usual, thanks to the brothers of the Kappa Alpha Order doing a few hours of service.

Brothers of the Kappa Alpha Order in the Loy Farms greenhouse

Brothers of the Kappa Alpha Order in the Loy Farms greenhouse

There's always weeding to be done!

There’s always weeding to be done!

They weren’t the only new workers on the farm though. Thanks to senior Cameron Hawkins, there are now beehives at Loy Farms!

Beehives set up at Loy Farms!

Beehives set up at Loy Farms!

The beehives are set up away from the central area of the farms for safety

The beehives are set up away from the central area of the farms for safety

These bees will pollinate the many different kinds of flowers and crops at Loy Farms. A new beehive also encourages an increase in the general bee population, which has been threatened by Colony Collapse Disorder all over the world. Read more about Colony Collapse Disorder and its consequences for global food production at this link: http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572

Cameron also initiated a new garden at the Station at Mill Point, an on campus apartment complex! Although it’s still in its early stages, hopefully Mill Point will soon been producing its some of its own plants and crops and will teach residents about gardening.

Ready for a new crop of gardeners!

Ready for a new crop of gardeners!

Lastly, daffodils were planted outside the Elon Hillel house as part of a worldwide Daffodil Project, and effort to plant 1.5 million daffodils around the world to remember the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. Both humans and bees are grateful for these beautiful daffodils in honor of the victims.

Never forget

Never forget

Earth Day 2014

Happy Earth Day All!

In celebration of Earth Day, here is some history behind the holiday itself:

-1962: Rachel Carson’s bestseller book “Silent Spring” is published

-1969: Chemical fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River

-Established as a day of education on college campuses in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was inspired by the antiwar movement of the late 1960s to raise awareness about air and water pollution.

-1970s: Environmental Legislation such as the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act and more.

-1990: Earth Day goes global!

Want to get involved in helping our planet? There is always work to be done over at Loy Farms! Sign up for the gardening class next semester, or show up to a workday on Saturdays. Contact Andrea Schultz or Professor Michael Strickland for more information.

Loy Farms on a beautiful spring day

Loy Farms on a beautiful spring day

A bed of seedlings waiting to grow

A bed of seedlings waiting to grow

This seedling need lots of care!

This seedling need lots of care!

Yummy zucchini! This and more are growing out at Loy Farms and the community garden

Yummy zucchini! This and more are growing out at Loy Farms and the community garden