Welcome back to school everybody! We are so happy to have students back on campus.
For the rest of the farm, we are beginning the final harvest. The tomatoes are coming in strong, but as the weather continues to get cooler we will have smaller and smaller harvests. We are also in the prime of squash harvesting, looking forward to more butternuts and acorn squashes to come!
In other farm news, the orchard is well on its way. Thanks to many volunteers we were able to plot out the locations of all the trees and berry bushes, dig their holes and rows, and plant them all. The upper field is now covered in fruit trees and bushes, ready to rest over winter then come back strong next summer. With the planting of the orchard comes the final component of the Permaculture Site - the orchard ties together the whole site. The trees and bushes were placed in the upper field very intentionally according to permaculture principles. Rain water will travel down the slope and through the roots of the orchard, which will filter out any contaminants, before it goes into the veggie production plots at the base of the slope. These trees will hold the soil in place in the field and also provide a natural filtration system, allowing us to fully utilize the landscape to grow healthy food.
If you are interested in getting involved with the permaculture site, there are numerous opportunities! We have open garden hours on Monday from 1:00-4:00. Harvest will be happening every Wednesday 8:00-noon, so join in if you would like to learn the process of harvesting, washing, and packing food for our campus. Outdoor Volunteer Efforts also has service days Thursday and Friday from 3:00-5:00, sign ups are outside the MOVE office. This is especially helpful if you have not been down to the site yet and want to join in with a group of volunteers! On Wednesdays in September we will also be having Salad Days, where we provide free salad, homemade butter, and fresh bread down in the garden at 11:30 (Bring your own bowl). If you are interested in buying food, we have our Farm Stand outside Alliot every Thursday 11:00-1:00, and a self-serve Farm Stand on the Center for Women and Gender porch every day.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Yesterday we had the women's soccer team come down early in the morning, and they were a huge help. They constructed a component of the compost bin system, a cinder block bunker intended to hold carbon material (like dried leaves) to add into the compost pile. They also helped to sand down the picnic tables to ready them for stain, cleaned onions, and harvested basil. We had a large harvest of three types of basil - large Italian leaf, purple, and sweet thai. Sweet thai basil was a favorite. It has more of a licorice scent, and is really great to cook in soup or with chicken.
As the season goes on, the plants are producing more and more fruit. Notably, our tomato plants are thriving, but we have noticed that a lot of the fruit on our heirloom plants have rot. End rot is common to heirloom tomatoes, but this rot extended to the whole fruit - after doing some research, we concluded that the rot was due to a calcium deficiency. We purchased lime, which is rich in calcium, to make a slurry (lime and water stirred together in a bucket until lime is dissolved) to water the roots of the plants with in hopes of some healthier tomatoes soon. Our sweet potatoes are starting to bloom, too! The sweet potato is in the same family as a morning glory, which is especially noticeable when the sweet potatoes bloom.
We have also noticed that someone else likes our watermelons, too - we found two baby watermelons completely hollowed out by a critter. We were thinking a skunk, any other thoughts?
Thank you for all who helped in the garden this past summer! We are so excited to have more students and faculty back on campus. Note: there will not be a farmstand this week, but look for us the first week of classes on Thursday 11:00-1:00 in front of Alliot!