Hello and welcome to the 2011 gardening season with Saint Michael's College. My name is Brian Ahern, and I have spent the past week plotting, planting, weeding, and watering in the organic garden located on the lower 40 of Saint Mike's campus. After holding positions as a well driller's assistant, a dental assistant, and a researcher over the years I find myself working in a completely different field now. The mornings are early and the work days are dirty, but luckily I have a few friends helping me along the way. Heather Ellis is my boss, and she is great. She has been working hard with the garden for a few years now and will be in and out of it on a daily basis helping with tending to the crops. Erika Bodin is in her second year at the garden, and she has been teaching me the ropes and tools of the trade. We like to think of each other as equals, but she is much more the Miyagi type while I am the inexperienced Daniel-san. Last but not least we have a new addition to the garden. His name is Gerome the Gnome and he hails from the MOVE office. Gerome began working in the garden shortly after I did, and he keeps an eye on things for us while we are hard at work.
Before I arrived in the garden this week Erika and a team of wonderful individuals helped to till up the soil and plant most of our crops amidst a mix of rain, hail, and hot humid heat. Over the past week Erika and I have been working on replanting some of the seeds that were lost in the storms as well as putting in all sorts of new ones like herbs, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. We have been lucky enough to have frequent visitors in the garden. Thanks to Valerie Banschbach's Ecology class and the helpful hands of Bill Grover and Greg Delanty we were able to transplant many of the crops we had started in pots as well as cut back the vegetation and overgrowth from beyond the fence so that our tomatoes don't get stuck in the shade. We were also able to plant a few different varieties of sunflowers in the back of the garden.
So far we have seen signs of life in our kale, chard, snap peas, and onion plots among a few others. Our fingers are crossed for sunshine and rain to keep our plants growing strong.
As I am new to this work I am still getting a feel for how the earth works, but stay tuned in for tales from over the hill. Erika, Heather, Gerome, and I have happily soiled ourselves and are eagerly waiting for our hard work to pay off.