Monday, November 7, 2011

"Seeding the Future" at Dickinson College

"Creating active and engaged citizens"

The farm at Dickinson College
Energy meter raising awareness of campus energy use
Hoop house

Kim and I snacking on some farm fresh carrots:)

Meal representing local agriculture!
Great way to build community

Above are some of the pictures from the conference on "cultivating the college farm" (and garden) and how to integrate a campus garden project into a liberal arts education. These pictures stood out to me because of the paradigm that they represent- that individuals should be active members of their community-aware of local issues and becoming part of the solutions. And what better way to teach this to students then through a campus garden program?

Below is the outline for the presentation that is going to be given at a RCsustain meeting in the near future. Please realize that it only a draft, we are still reflecting upon and debating how to best impliment the information from the conference at Roanoke College.

Presentation of on RC Garden Project

Based on Ideas Presented in “Seeding the Future Conference” Dickinson College

Carrie Carson and Kimberly Johnson

Ø Benefits of having a garden at a liberal arts college

o Experiential learning

o Community building

o Development of critical thinking skills

o Community service opportunities

o Raises awareness/creates teaching opportunities on global issues

- Hunger

- Food security

- Environmental impact of agriculture

- Sustainability

- Economics of food

Builds ACTIVE and ENGAGED citizens!

Forming the garden organization

o 3 bodies:

- Student committee

- Hired manager (non-student)

- Faculty representative(s)

o 3 bodies work in system of checks and balances outlined under a constitution

Ø Funding

o Start-up fund

- College support

- Donors

- Grants

- Fundraising

o Work towards self-sustaining program

-Student/faculty/Staff CSA shares

Ø Tools of a functioning garden

o Garden sign

o Seeds

o Greenhouse

o Tool shed

o Water source

o Raised beds with siding

o Composting

- Food waste

- Creation of a campus composting program (long term)

o Hoop houses

o Mower

o Smaller tools

- Shovels

- Rakes

- Hose

- Wheelbarrow

Check out Dickinson College's blog post on the conference!

Please leave your feedback on our thought process...what do you want a campus garden at Roanoke College to look like?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First work day...ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

Hi guys!

Sat morning was the first day out at the garden with a crew of about 7:) We cleared a lot of weeds from the beds and were able to harvest a few overgrown things that were still growing. It was a great group and we deliberated what we wanted for the garden and what we realistically could accomplish this fall.

We decided that we should aim to enclose the rest of the raised beds in rail road ties and build a container that we can use for our compost. We also decided that Monday/ Tuesday afternoons are good days to work in the garden. I would like to have small groups going out to the garden frequently through out the season so if you know what day you would like to garden let me know and I can give you some tasks to work on. When you are finished you can post on here what was accomplished. The blog is an awesome place to keep everyone updated and on the same page, as well as to keep a record of the garden.

Our garden is also a year old this year!!

I have to say I am very proud of what we have accomplished and all of the hard work that has gone into this project. It definitely puts a smile on my face when I think back to the days where all we did was dig the clay earth for a solid week. We have come a far way and I look forward to another productive year!
Rock On,


Friday, September 2, 2011

cast iron article

hi gang--welcome back to fall semester--things are extremely busy this first week or two--but the garden group is really well to be commended with what they (or rather i suppose their garden) have/has produced this season. I hope we can document a lot of the individual beds photographically, so that we can see and think about how individual varieties acted and adopted to our own micro-ecosystem here in salem--and also to compare with what we have done in various previous years!

also, now that you are back on board, do remember to check out the Duck Dinner Dash blog, and see how michele is faring--she does keep an eye on us, and it is good to have valued friends.

meanwhile, i am adding the link here to another neat and in fact important blog--this is paul wheaton, who is a somewhat famous (infamous?) permaculturist in Missoula Montana. Paul is a very wise resource, and again, it will be most interesting to contrast and compare our approaches and experiences here with his out there. He is a good resource, no--i correct myself: a great resource.

(If we ask him nicely, he may allow you guys to add some of his links directly to this blog/site. I suggest that a couple of you might want to pursue that)

I am beginning this connection for you with Paul's great essay on using and caring for your cast iron skillet. Most of you who are envi students at the college will know about dr cawley's cast iron obsession--but Paul voices it in words much better than mine. as always, we will discuss our own cast iron experiences in some of the classwork, and also during the harvest dinner.

do check out Pauls stuff--the link is:

and i am also adding it to our list of blogs (as soon as i can remember the steps of adding it in the right spot!) if you get a chance, send paul a note, and let him know that we are aboard.

happy gardening!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Welcome Back!!

Welcome back to campus:)

I hope everyone is as excited to start working in the garden again this year as I am. At the recent RCserve meeting It was reported that 70 pounds of produce was delivered to the Salem Food Pantry over the course of the summer! Thank you to Talisha Beha who took over the summer growing. Also thanks to Kim Johnson who did a lovely job of keeping us all up to date with great blog posts and photos :)

Other good news is that the formation of a garden committee is taking place in order to decide the future of the garden. My hope is that the committee will better organize and define the community service, research, and student organization aspects. Members of the committee thus far include Myself, Jesse Griffen, Talisha Beha (community service dept.), Dr.Cawley, Dr.O'Neil, and Gail Steehler (Environmental science Department).

Lastly, we are lucky enough to have an Americorps member on campus this year- Charisse Brass! This is good news for the garden as she is assigned to work with Feed America, Roanoke Community Garden, Salem Food Pantry, and Roanoke College Garden!! I am thouroughly looking forward to working with her on the garden this summer:)

I hope to have gardening days planned in the near future so check back here (and also your email if you are on the email list) for schedualed work days.

See you "Playin' in the Dirt"

Carrie Carson
RC Garden Manager

p.s like the facebook page "Roanoke College Serves" and check out the post about the garden in the discussions section

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mid-July update!

Somehow it's the middle of July already - does the summer seem to be going by as quickly for the rest of you as it is for me? As we're all going about our summer adventures, the RC garden is becoming a pretty exciting place!

The sunflower plants in Tyler's plot are finally blooming...

The first of the tomatoes are starting to ripen (these are Matthew's)...

The summer squash in the second bed are growing...

The bell pepper plants in the first bed have some small peppers coming...

The corn in the second bed is getting rather tall, and there are quite a few basil and cilantro plants growing beneath it...

The tomato plants of different varieties that Talisha & Co. planted in the first bed are LOADED with fruits! I wish I knew its name, but this is one variety in that bed when the fruits are both small and large...

Sometime in the last few days, a mystery helper came by and cut down a lot of the weeds that were growing in the area around the beds. Whoever it was, THANK YOU! It's so much easier to walk around the west end of the beds now. This person also picked a lot of the yellowing cucumbers in the ENVI 200 class section (which I had no clue what to do with). I found them lined up along the bed like so:

There's also a new addition to the garden that might catch your eye if you stop by. I am hanging around Roanoke this summer doing research with Dr. O'Neill, and the project we're working on involves using a compost pile as a test bed for the method we'd like to use on agricultural soil. Thus we needed to set up a small pile. Although composting can be done by simply piling up compostable materials on the ground, we decided to purchase a barrel-shaped tumbling compost bin. We think it's a little nicer to look at than a pile of decomposing material, though I suppose you all can be the judge of that...

The composter is currently in the grassy area below the garden beds within the electric fence. Once we get the raw materials into the barrel, we'll have to ask that nobody adds anything without asking us, since we'll need to do tests on the decomposing materials throughout the process. The finished product can be used in the garden, though.

Talisha Beha told me this week that she plans to come by on Wednesday mornings to harvest whatever is ripe and deliver it to the food bank. From what I saw today, she'll have an armful of cucumbers (not the yellow ones, haha), summer squash, and zucchini to deliver this week. In a week or two, there will also be lots of tomatoes and potatoes. How exciting!

Now if only we would get a little rain to make pulling weeds easier...

~ Kim

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First harvest!

Hey there, me again... I thought you all would like to see our first harvest! (Well, the first harvest that I'm aware of.)

Yesterday afternoon I pulled some of the radishes (the larger ones, maybe half of what's out there), picked a huge zucchini, and picked a handful of beans! I'm glad I had the foresight to bring a box with me to put it all in!

I had the beans last night with my dinner and have looked up some interesting zucchini recipes to try tonight (and possibly for the rest of the week!). A friend of mine who lives in the area has claimed the radishes, but if any of you want some there are still PLENTY in the garden. (Seriously, please take them!!)

There are also several little cucumbers coming in all sorts of odd shapes. The one I photographed last time is now quite yellow. Not sure what to do with that guy yet, or all of the hot peppers.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer - and to everyone in Roanoke, I hope to see you in the garden ;)

~ Kim

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blooms & bugs

We got lots of rain here in Roanoke on Tuesday, so I stopped by the garden yesterday afternoon to check up on some things and do some weeding while the ground was soft. About 5 minutes after I arrived, Talisha and a friend of hers drove up. [Talisha works with Jesse Griffin in the community service office and agreed to keep track of the garden over the summer. She said she goes every Sunday and Wednesday in June, if any of you want to join her in the future!]

Talisha and her friend (whose name I never did learn) went to work picking potato bugs off of the potato plants and then drowning them in buckets of water. Meanwhile I staked the tomato plants that fill about 3/4 of the first bed, which they helped me finish after taking their revenge on the potato bugs.

Since the start of summer break Talisha (and others) have planted these tomatoes as well as peppers, sweet corn, onions, potatoes, and some other things that I couldn't identify (squashes or cucumbers or zucchini, perhaps?) in the first three beds. All of the produce from these three beds will go to the food bank, and from the looks of it we'll be sending them a sizeable donation!

Lots of onions coming...

Most of the tomato plants have several blossoms!

Potatoes fill more than half of one bed. Here's one of the plants that the potato bugs really got to. Luckily, most were not this badly munched..

After we finished staking the tomatoes, Talisha and her friend left, while I stayed a little longer to get some pictures and check on everyone's individual plots in the fourth bed.

Mike has a huge zucchini plant with a couple of zucchinis coming. Here's the largest one:

Both Ryan and Colin have large patches of radishes that look a bit overgrown. I've no idea what to do with them, but I can dig them up (?) if you guys want me to.

The tomato plant in Matthew's plot is loaded with fruits! The largest (at the top of the following picture) is a little over 2 inches in diameter.

This was in Eric's plot. I think it might be a cucumber? There are lots of other blossoms, too.

One of Claire's bean plants has some pods developing! I didn't see any pods on anyone else's bean plants, but most had some blossoms.

I didn't harvest anything that I saw today, but I certainly can when it's time and if you guys would like me to do so. Just let me know! Also, if anyone can identify some of the things I'm unsure about, that would be greatly appreciated!

~ Kim

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Explosion in June

Howdy heyy!!

So the King and I checked on the garden today. Plots were growing nicely, but the upkeep was a bit slacking (...Stephen... ;) ) Here's some pics to feast your eyes on. Enjoy!

Kyle & Rachel

Friday, April 29, 2011

Summer and Beyond

Hey everyone,
Just letting you guys know that I'll be here all summer and that I'll be doing my best to work with Dr. Cawley to make sure that the garden stays in pretty good shape. I've had a great time with all of you in ENVI 200 and hope to see you in Appalachian Rocks & Waters :)

Hope you killed the exam & have a great summer!


P.S. I'll try to keep pictures upof everything growing!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hmmmm. Good Friday...... A nice gentle rain today--warm and steady: everyone planted a lot of their seeds yesterday in the (dry, warm) afternoon, and even dared a few hot pepper and tomato plantlets. We were told that PR was going to have one of their photographers make an appearence for this fine planting day--but we never saw him/her. Thats ok this time though, since we had a skilled envi photographer in our midst too, just in case. These things will tend to happen occasionally.

Still, No photos from me personally today--perhaps some will get posted though--hint, hint.

In my neck of the woods (Pennsylvania), the old-timers always said that we needed to get our peas planted in by Good Friday--those plus onion sets, and some radishes were always the first in the ground. Down here south in Salem, the season always seems a little earlier--according to my family up north, they still have snow in the north hollows right now...

Then everyone went their separate ways for Easter Weekend. I wandered up to the garden this morning to check things out. Erics okra plants looked a little chilly, i admit--but the tomato plants are all looking very chipper, and the few chili de arbols and cayennes have bounced back with the warm rain. Mike's already appears to have a full crop of peppers ready for the picking......

If it gets cold, i will try to go up and cover things.

First pea plants and onions are up--Colin's radishes will need to be thinned sooner rather than later. And we have a new addition: at least three brave gardeners must have planted beets a week or so back--thye have now begun to make an appearence.

Meanwhile, Charles and Daniel did yomans (2 yomens?) work in getting the chicken-wire fences around the EC apple trees. It is worth reporting (most happily) that the other four or five missing stakes are also now in the ground, and the wire-cages all attached, and so ALL of the little trees are caged, and wont run away... (photos to follow when there is better light)

Loud lauds to several of the gang, and particularly to Mike and Stephen for doing a lot of the loading of materials into the truck to carry over to EC--and to Colin for helping with filling the water bins.

And to the lot of you for helping sort out an'Alta Mons set of seeds from the seedbank holdings...

A quick additional note specifically to Michele Duck, who has been following our blog from Britain: We continue to much appreciate your input. Happy Easter! Letsee, I agree, I just dont think you can really grow okra there--at least not unless you start it inside, like at....... say, Christmas time! Its a North African kinda thing--and it Really likes long seasons and Extremely hot days. I think we mostly only have it here in Virginia because Thomas Jefferson made pretty extensive trials of it at Monticello as "quite the exotic." ........Speaking of our various heirloom exotics in the seed line--presumably if you talk with the kids some, maybe we can do some seed exchange--i bet we are holding at least a few things that might do well with you.......

Monday, April 18, 2011

APPLES, APPLES, and more APPLES with ENVI 260


For those of you that don't know... the ENVI 206 Class has been setting up apple orchard around the valley. We were very busy. We got over 15 different type of Apple varieties for many different locations and clef grafted them to the root stock. As of today, 04/18/2011, we have over 80% success rate. WHICH IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lots of Rain this weekend! And good spring rain that is warm, and should sprout things quickly. (On the other hand, the grass will need to be mowed again soon as well!)

So, while we are waiting for the first of the sprouting, lets have another glance backwards--these photos are of our first food-waste-to-compost project back in..... 2006. We have not done that yet this year--anyone interested? we have about two weeks left in the active semester--if a couple-three people want to help set up a small demonstration plot, please talk with dr cawley!

Anyhow--so in 2006 we did our first food-waste project--notice how small our official student garden was back then--only 6 foot square! Still, that small spot was 3 feet deep when we began, and five of us moved and composted 1700 pounds of food waste from the commons. We interlayered it with shredded paper and cardboard from the (then volunteer Earthbound) recycling efforts--added five pounds of red worms (they actually did most of the work), covered it with a soil/live compost layer, and then tarped it to keep the moisture in.

It worked beautifully. And quickly too.