Ahoy green beings,

This weekend was the first ever Tom Thumb’s Student Garden/GreECO reps day of community service. The GreECO reps, an organization of environmentally minded leaders of greek life at Tufts, sought out our garden as a place to volunteer this spring. And what a day it was. Not only did spring rear her soft head, but the sun emerged in time to build new beds and fill them with soil, roll out some seed bombs (for our campus-wide event on Earth Day), give the fence a fresh coat of blue-mint paint, and sow a patch of native wildflowers.

The new beds look awesome (see below) and with the creative brush of a few artists, they’ll fit right in with the others. Deciding on what to plant in them is another story (and probably the topic for a future post since companion planting is such a hot topic), but we’ll most likely use parts of them for summer squash, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and beets. Construction was a cinch: for our 4’x8′ bed, we used untreated 2”x12″ planks with 3” screws at the seams, reinforced with cross-braces. Each bed took about 30 minutes to assemble, plus an extra hour to dig the hole, remove weeds, and fill with new soil. If you’re trying to build beds for your plot, two alternatives to our design would be to add a weed blocker cloth to the bottom and/or outfit the bed with a drip-irrigation system. Since we’re on a tight budget, we decided to forgo both of those options; in the long run, I don’t think our garden will suffer.

Bed #1

Bed #2 (front left)

The second product of our day was seed bombs—hardened clay capsules of seeds and compost designed to be lobbed into hard-to-reach places or bare earth that could use some color. The recipe we used was 1 part air-dry clay: 1 part compost :1 pinch of wildflower seed, with water to moisten to a paste (thicker than peanut butter). For a 5 lbs tub of clay (picked up at our local Michael’s) we were able to make ~60 seed bombs. And now that they’re made comes the fun part: we get to spread wildflowers all around the campus, probably much to the chagrin of facilities. So if you’re wandering around campus this summer and see and oddly placed cluster of flowers, you can thank the Tom Thumb’s Student Garden 🙂

Overall, it was truly amazing seeing everyone work towards a common goal—the success of our garden this season—and have fun the in process. I think everyone had a fantastic time during our work day, and hopefully it’s the first of many in a partnership with the GreECO reps.

Happy planting,

-N

p.s. Our seedlings are looking excellent in the greenhouse. We hope to plant them (i.e. beans, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, and others) next weekend.

IMG_2221-1

An assortment of peppers, tomatoes, cukes, beans, and melons.

If you’re interested in helping out this summer, please don’t hesitate to email me at nicholas.dorian@tufts.edu