Monday, December 17, 2007

Done for the Year

As finals are wrapping up for students around campus so too have we been tying somethings up with the garden. We had our last workday a couple weeks ago and now the only thing out there are the lettuces, which are still surviving under the thick layer of snow and ice that now coats the campus.

We're currently looking ahead to next year and working out where the garden will be going. Over the winter break I will be publishing our yearly report. Below are a couple pictures with some Sproutees from our last  meeting of the year and some mizuna under cover in the garden.

Happy Holidays,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Garden Update

While the garden is mostly asleep for the winter we are still working on a few projects. The winter lettuces are doing very well, and were very popular when delivered to the dining hall a couple weeks ago. If all goes well we should be able to continue to harvest them for quite a while longer.

The spearmint is still growing strong, though it will be harvested soon. And will hopefully be delivering some lemon verbena to Bean & Leaf café in New London quite soon.

We are also working on the shed. It is coming along quite nicely. This is our main project right now. The goal is to have it finished by the end of the semester.

Composting Project Opening Ceremony November 19th

On Monday November 19th we had the opening ceremony for the composting project. Many students, faculty, and staff came down, and there were news crews from the Day and Channel 3. Tyler Dunham and I made short speeches and introduced CC president Leo Higdon, who spoke about the importance of this initiative for the College and the New London Community. We then did a demonstration and a ceremonial "Dump 'n Grind" (as the ceremony was called).

The event was on the Channel 3 evening news:

It was also featured in the Day newspaper:

And on the Connecticut College homepage:

If you have any questions or comments about the project please feel free to send us an email.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Real Food Conference @ Yale and Recent Workday

Saturday and Sunday Liz Wall, Stephanie Blennerhassett and I went to the Real Food Summit at Yale. It was an event organized for the purpose of bringing together people from universities all around New England to discuss the ideas and projects that we all have. There was a mixture of speakers and smaller discussion groups based around different issues that are trying to be tackled in the sustainable food movement. It was a time for sharing ideas as well as hearing those of others. Every school (47 in all) had a different context that they were coming from but each had something to offer, whether it was advice or a novel idea. The conference also gave a sense of being part of a greater movement that is happening not only in New England but also across the country and around the world. I think we all learned a lot and personally I've come back with ideas flowing like Niagara. I, and I think Liz and Stephanie too, would love to share what I learned with all of you as well. We will hopefully do that at the meeting next week. We also picked up some really interesting materials that we should be able to use this on campus to educate the student body and create a more sustainable dining system...As always feel free to contact me with any questions.

Today we had another work day (that Baylin ran). He and a few other people fixed up the cold frames that have been set up and are now covering some of the head lettuce. The beets, cover crops, hot peppers, and loose leaf lettuces are still going strong as well. The tomato plants were also taken out and are hanging upside down outside Earth House. Evidently we can leave them hanging upside down for a few months and the tomatoes will ripen. The shed also got worked on this week and the walls are continually looking better. Keep up the good work everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 21st Workday

This workday was tremendously successful. We had a nice large group show up and it allowed us to do many of the important things that needed to be done before a frost comes (although it probably wont be coming too soon). We weeded the new Fall and Winter lettuces, cleared out a lot of the built-up leaf litter and rocks, broadcast more buckwheat, cleared so more land to expand the garden, and laid down more compost. The Fall and cover crops are coming up really well (The rye is the "grass"-looking plant in the pictures. The buckwheat and a couple of the loose-leaf lettuces are also pictured). Everything is certainly made much easier by the fact that it is not cold yet. Other crops like our tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are still alive but not producing as much fruit, possibly because of the diminished amount of light reaching them. It's all still delicious though.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Recent Workdays

We've had quite a lot of workdays recently. We've been bagging tea, broadcasting cover crops, tending to our Fall crops, harvesting, and gathering compost for the garden. It hasn't been raining much although it is supposedly in the forecast, and the weather (although uncomfortably balmy) has allowed our tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, beets, and herbs to keep on growing strong.

Sustainable Dinner on October 3rd

Dining Services, with the initiative of Kristine Serwinski, hosted a Sustainable Dinner. The meal set outside of JA, was catered by 5 local farms that have been providing foods to the dining halls. Sprout was also there talking with people about our club while also educating students about local, organic, and sustainable agriculture. Many students showed up to enjoy the delicious local feast. They also filled out surveys, learned more about the individual farms, and talked to farmers.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Harvestfest and More...

A lot was done this past week for Sprout. We sold pumpkins, zucchini bread muffins, jars of tea, salsa, and tomato sauce for Harvestfest (everything was homemade). Our table was very popular and almost sold out of everything. It was a great fundraiser for us.

This Sunday at the workday we planted the rest of the lettuces (for a total of 6 wide beds), and we will continue to plant successions of others as the Fall progresses. The cover crops will also be going in the ground this week.

And the Earth Tubs arrived on Friday! We will probably start composting right after Fall Break.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

September 16th Workday

We had another great workday today. We finished weeding the entire garden area inside the fence, so that we can now plant some cover crops for the winter. We also harvested some eggplants, zucchini, hot peppers, tomatoes and all of the herbs (lemon verbena, spearmint, lemon balm). We received a request from the Blue Camel Café for some herbs so they should be showing up there in about a week after they are done drying. We also harvested and removed all of the corn plants so that they may dry and we can save the seeds.

We also planted our first succession of lettuces for a Fall crop. We will be planting more in the coming weeks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

3rd Annual Sproutfest! @ Earth House

On Friday we hosted Sproutfest! It is an annual event held at Earth House for faculty and staff of the college. It serves as an opportunity for us to raise awareness about our projects among the CC community beyond the students. We spent the entire day cooking (with as many ingredients from the garden and/or organic ingredients as possible) at Earth House.

We made: vegan pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, cucumber soup, focaccia, baba ganouj, eggplant parmesan, veggie/fruit juice, and zucchini bread. We also served a big dish of our delicious cherry tomatoes (see picture). I think people really enjoyed what we made.

We also gave them a tour of the garden and an explanation of what we are growing and some of our future goals.

Thanks so much to all who came and to those who made some delicious food for our guests.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 9th

We continued the work on the garden this week doing a lot more weeding and cleaning up of the whole area. The plants are looking much stronger this week since they've been cleaned up and watered all week. Many of the fruits are weighing down on the plants. We will certainly be harvesting a lot this week.

We also started up work on the shed once again. We have finished the rock base and are now starting to place glass bottles on top of those to build up the walls (they will serve as windows to provide natural lighting to the shed. Once the walls have been built up enough we will build a wooden frame on which to place the roof. We're hoping to finish it this fall.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

First Workday of the Fall Semester

We had a very successful first workday in the garden. We had a large group that was able to work hard and efficiently. The garden had a lot of weeds so we spent the bulk of the day weeding around the bases of the plants to give them some breathing room. We also harvested a large amount of gourds and pumpkins. We have many peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, zucchinis, and corn that a looking beautiful and ready to eat. We should be having a larger harvest soon for the dining halls. We also set up the drip hose to water the plants, which are looking a little low on water.