From One Holiday to the Next

It’s everyone’s least favorite week of the year- finals week. The semester is drying up just like the tomatoes and peppers did the other week. But, rest assured, Loy Farms still has lots of plants doing well!

Kale, lettuce and broccoli plants are doing very well!

Kale, lettuce and broccoli plants are doing very well!

Delicious and healthy broccoli!

Delicious and healthy broccoli!

Even better, the greenhouse extension is finished! Now there is more beds and more space to plant more crops for next semester! Some crops are already being planted.

It's so BIG!

It’s so BIG!

Baby lettuce

Baby lettuce

Students, if you need a study break, contact Allison Hren at ahren@elon.edu and help plant some of the lettuce. There’s nothing better than getting some fresh air and working in the dirt to kickstart your studying motivation. Don’t believe me? Check out this cool study!

Why Gardening Is Good For You

Have a safe, fun and relaxing break everyone! Check back in February to see what will happen over the spring semester.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

A holiday all about food?! What a great idea! Especially about foods that Native Americans and pilgrims grew all by themselves in their farms and gardens. And here at the Elon Community Garden, we have lots of wonderful vegetables that you may see at your own table this year.

  1. Tomatoes

The garden has many different kinds of tomatoes. One of America’s most popular vegetables, there are over twenty tomatoes varieties. Our garden has several distinctive species of various sizes. One of the key tips to growing tomatoes is staking. Not all tomatoes need to be staked (using either cages or stakes), but staking should be considered if the tomato is large and therefore may need more support.

You say tomato, I say tomato.

You say tomato, I say tomato.

  1. Lettuce

There are five types of lettuce: leaf, cos (also called asparagus lettuce), romaine, butterheard, stem and crisphead (iceberg). Lettuce is also extremely common, mostly because it is simple to grow. It is hardy and can survive colder weather. But some kinds of lettuce can survive the heat as well. Some varieties of lettuce such as cos and romaine grow an elongated stalk, which is important to note when determining how far apart the lettuce should be first planted.

Who knew lettuce was so diverse?

Who knew lettuce was so diverse?

  1. Kohlrabi

If you want to change up the traditional Thanksgiving meal, try out some kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has been grown at Loy Farms in the past. From the cabbage family, it tastes like a sweet and mild turnip with lots of fiber and vitamin C. Because it’s fast growing and grows underground, it can be planted only about 6 weeks before the first frost, or 4 weeks after the last frost. It does require consistent watering to ensure it has enough moisture to produce healthy bulbs. Kohlrabi can keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, and then slice its tubers to eat raw or cook the leaves until they are tender. Impress your friends and relatives with this delicious vegetable that is more commonly seen in Northern Europe!

Yummy kohlrabi!

Yummy kohlrabi!

With all of this wonderful food, it may sometimes be easy to forget why else Thanksgiving is important. This year, remember to be thankful for all of the special things in life. An extra thank you goes to everyone who has supported the Elon Community Garden this year, whether it was in a big way or small. Happy Thanksgiving!

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