Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 10 (July 21)

Double digits baby! There is about a week and a half before almost all students will be leaving campus. This is a bummer because I have been tapping into my fellow Camels. Ben Loomis has been inspiration with his garden in the front yard of Ridge 3 and has cooked a couple great meals using mostly ingredients from the garden. Alex Marcus, although graduated, has been around a bit this summer and has donated more than a few of his afternoons to help me in the garden. I have started referring to the garden as the jungle because the plants are getting so big but mainly because the weeds are getting even larger. Plus the beetles have really set into the pumpkins and watermelon. They are defoliating the plants and it is going to kill them and others if they spread.

There are a couple recipes for organic pesticides on the internet and I have read about a few. I am going to try the organic soap spray using Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. There is a spray pump in Earth House basement that I can make the mixture in and spray on the plants.

I just got home from the Greater New London Farm to City Coalition meeting where John Turenne gave a brief overview of the document that his company Sustainable Food Systems just released detailing the food systems at three local institutions (Connecticut College, L&M Hospital and New London Public Schools) and what options they have for starting a sustainable food system. I attended the meeting as the only representative from Connecticut College. Ingrid Bushwack had handled the study but was away on vacation so she couldn’t make it. The document was sent to Ingrid but hopefully she will be so kind as to share and it can help push us forward.

Cucumbers growing up the trellis



Week 9 (July 14)

Pushing on..

Another week gone by in the garden and I cannot believe that the summer is almost over. More heat and little rain means a sweaty and tired Erik. I have started to notice some of the fabled squash beetles on some of the pumpkins but thankfully none on the squash plants have them. When I see them I squish the bugs and try to rub the eggs off the underside of the leaves but they are still around. Just found out that the cucurbit that volunteered up by the corn was in fact a watermelon, glad I kept it. There is one watermelon about the size of my fist and dozens of other flowers. The squash and melons that I planted are still too young and haven’t flowered but I look forward to them.

Eggplants are flowering though! There are three small eggplants that look great!

Soooo many tomatoes in the garden!! Mostly just cherry tomatoes at this point but soon I am going to be buried in tomatoes. They are however, the perfect snack while working in the garden.

Sailfest was great! I met a bunch of interesting people, gave out a ton of New London Shares cards and learned more about the programs that NL Local First has. I met Arnetia Douglas who is the treasurer of the Mitchell College Environmental Action club. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with Mitchell, something that clubs at Conn have been looking for.

Week 8 (July 7)


This is another dry and hot week. I took a nice vacation home for the 4th but have come back to a very unhappy garden. I sadly report the loss of all of the lettuce and spinach that was planted last week. My plan was to have someone who was around campus during the weekend water the garden while I was gone but they didn’t come through. I am out of lettuce and spinach seed and will have to order more.

I dragged those other hoses out from the basement and they are pretty tangled and have couple splits in the lines. I have to stretch the hoses out to get a better look at them but any parts that wont hold water anymore can be used as mock-snakes to scare off some of our rabbit friends who loooove the beans and carrots. I think that the garden has suffered from this past weekend but with some love and attention everything should come right back stronger than before.

Recently I have started talking with Art Costa, a New London resident, who organizes New London Local First as well as Greater New London Farm to City about Connecticut College’s involvement in his work. Both these groups have a bunch of great stuff going on that is trying to bring a better living environment to everyone in New London and beyond. I am going to volunteer at their table this weekend at Sailfest. Should be a fun time to see New London at its so called finest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 7 (June 30)

Our dry spell continues and it is more and more difficult to spend long periods of time in the garden. I am watering the garden daily in the late afternoon using a new soak hose but I have to move it regularly. There are a couple hoses in the basement of Earth house that I need to untangle so the garden can be watered over this weekend. Courtney helped plant a bunch of lettuce, swiss chard and spinach in the garden last week and there are plenty of sprouts coming up. We also have a lot of flowers on the Cucurbits. I am harvesting Arugula and Mizuna (mix of Asian greens) regularly. There has been grub or beetle damage to all of the beets and turnips I have pulled which sucks but I will just have to plant some more. I am looking forward to taking a trip home this weekend back to the roots in the Catskills (shameless plug).

Sunflowers and tomatoes along the path.
Potatoes coming along with a Cucurbit in the background.
The tomato and bok choi patch.
Swiss chard sprouts.
Aerial view.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

back for another

welcome back for another posting on the SPROUT garden and some other randomness from yours truly.
yesterday i borrowed a weed-whacker from Jim Luce in grounds and took out all the red clover and other weeds from the NE and NW quadrants of the garden.
it is pretty incredible how large the garden is and we (i guess i should say i) really only cultivate half the space. i have also been trying to reclaim the middle area of the garden, which was being encroached upon by weeds. west of the rocks is currently occupied by bok choi, tomatoes basil and what i have recently been informed is pumpkin (it is nearly impossible for me to recognize different members of the Cucurbitaceae family). the area east of the rocks is settling and lettuce seed will be planted tomorrow with the help of Courtney Dwyer.
Courtney is an intern at the Goodwin-Niering center who is giving a couple hours of her time to help out in the garden in between her busy schedule, which includes conducting studies on CO2 emissions and trash receptacles among other things. she has a full plate for the rest of the summer and i am glad to have her help in the garden however, i cannot help but think that this is too much for one student to tackle.
regardless, there is great progress in the garden. everything is very happy (except our beans, which are suffering from a hungry groundhog) and is ready to burst with yummy veggies.
you are all probably anxious for some new pictures so enjoy!

a robin's nest i discovered on-top of the flood lights on 360. the eggs have hatched and i can hear the chicks chirping. i might venture up to capture a picture but i am nervous of what might happen
an early tomato with some pretty markings. it was tasty.
our 3 sisters row. there are beans growing at the far end.
the squash/cucumber/pumpkin/melon patch. this is after a lot of thinning too.
a young straight yellow squash.
a young hook-necked squash.
one of the bean plants pre-groundhog. imagine it without all those leaves and that is what it now looks like.
swiss chard and beans.
a panorama of the garden as you look north.

looking south.
i am pretty pooped right now but i will post again tomorrow with some of my thoughts about how the college changes over the summer when most students are off campus. it might be scandalous so keep a look out.
many thanks to kristiane huber who has picked up the torch big time on the many issues that have presented themselves within the grant process.

p.s. wouldn't it be awesome if each ridge, winchester house and abbey had composting bins similar to the ones in earth and 360. just a thought for the small grant that was made available this year by the goodwin-niering center. maybe even putting in small cold frames in the front yard of apartments so veggies or herbs can be cultivated by students all year long. just shooting some ideas out there

p.p.s again i love contact so please send me silly messages or fan/hate mail.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hey there all you beautiful people,

I, Erik Karwatowski, am going to be your friendly SPROUT! summer garden manager for this summer. Sorry for the delayed posting but I am only just getting a handle on the garden. I am really excited about this summer and I hope you are as well. The garden has already produced nearly 30 pounds of fresh greens that have been sold to Harris and I am waiting to hear back from Fiddleheads about selling our produce in the co-op.
We have corn, beans, arugula, swiss card, carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, lettuce, bok choi, potatoes, rhubarb, garlic, onions, more squash than one can imagine, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, cucumbers and any number of edible wild greens and herbs.
I have learned that it is much harder to multi-task in the garden than elsewhere. I have to focus my energy on a single task and then move onto the next otherwise I will never accomplish anything in the garden.
There are some really great projects that are going to be completed this summer that will benefit the garden. Many thanks to Michael Meade for securing funding to retrofit the gutter system on 360 to capture runoff and store it in a cistern between the garden and 360. The SPROUT! greenhouse is also ready to be assembled in the same area between 360 and the garden. My far off dream is for something like this:
That is all I have for now but I will continue to update the blog with info on the garden. Here are some pictures of the first yield and some of the progression that the garden has made.

Feel free to email me with questions about the garden or any other initiatives at Conn,
Peace and Love,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

FRESH Work Days (Spring 2010)

We have had several great work days with the FRESH New London Organization this spring helping build and install raised beds, plant seeds and bring the farm's greenhouse to life. Arthur Lerner, the head of FRESH has been very helpful in teaching us the ins and outs of community agriculture.

We have also been able to work with some of the local New London youth which has been a fun experience. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to help promote a more sustainable, self-sufficient food system in New London while also gaining valuable knowledge in the field of community-supported agriculture and food education. We are especially excited to continue work on the garden at the Winthrop Elementary School and continue developing the potential of the farm greenhouse to produce food and provide agricultural services (such as vermicomposting) throughout the year.