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!

photo-50

A friendly message from your Elon Community Garden!

Think You Know Composting?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you a special edition of the Elon Agriculture blog: Communication about Composting!

Did you know that Elon has two main composting stations? One is right at the community garden, and the second can be found at Loy Farms. At Loy Farms, Elon groundskeeping collects the yard waste (branches, grass, etc.) for compost. In 2012-2013, about 95 tons of compost was produced from the yard waste collected.

That is a lot of compost, but we can do so much better! The increase in both global population and consumerism means more, more, more. More resources used, more material things made, and more waste. Compost is a way to close the loop of waste and keep our planet happy and healthy.

The word “compost” comes from Latin where it means, “to put together.” This describes the process where, after bacteria break down the waste into basic organic matter, microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, insects and worms, nutrients go back into the soil and carbon dioxide back into the air. This “humus” in the soil is what helps the soil hold water and nutrients, therefore making it easier to cultivate and grow delicious crops! We millennials think, “wow, that seems like a long and boring process.” But consider this, the earth may take thousands of years to build good soil, but we can help do this in just 5-10 years!

So what is compostable? Check out this list that hangs in the Elon Community Garden!

PLEASE do your small part to make a difference by collecting your compostables and bringing them by the garden’s compost bins for compost. The students in the garden compost group are happy to keep an eye on it for you!

From garbage to garden, composting happens!

From garbage to garden, composting happens!

Actor Will Rogers, who lived through the great American dust bowl during the 1930s once said, “They’re making more people every day- but they ain’t making any more dirt.”

This butterfly, Elon’s garden class, and the rest of the world thank you!

Monarch butterfly

Informational Sources:

http://www.howtocompost.org/

http://www.elon.edu/e-web/bft/sustainability/ci-landGrounds.xhtml

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.