Author Archives: Mae Humiston

Campus Cultivation Conference

Campus Cultivation Conference
March 2nd
Tufts University
RSVP by Feb 15 at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE1hRm1fb1MteU83QWlieTVJdy1HeFE6MQ

http://cultivatecampuses.tumblr.com/

In 2010, Middlebury College hosted the first Campus Cultivation Conference, bringing together students from liberal arts schools with a garden or farm – or just a dream for one – in the Northeast for a day of networking and sharing. The following year, Wellesley College picked it up, hosting such schools as Babson, Brandeis, Olin College of Engineering, Bennington, Tufts, and of course, Middlebury.

This year, on March 2, 2013, Tufts University student gardeners are planning to keep it going!

We’ll be focusing on issues surrounding cultivation in an urban environment, with workshops on diverse topics including hydroponics, medicinal uses for herbs, and how to garden in cold climates. We will also have a collective problem solving exercise to help students create strategies for issues such as using limited resources and in the face of high membership turnover.

Working schedule includes:

Keynote speaker: Groundwork Somerville

Workshops:
Hydro/aquaponics by Sabrina from Rootdown Hydroponics (http://www.rootdownhydro.com/)
Canning/Preserving by TBA
Designing Food Systems Curricula by Jeff Hake (check out his blog: http://farmersfold.tumblr.com/jeffhake)
Medicinal Uses for Herbs by Naturopathic Dr. Zartarian
Soil Health by Jeff Hake
Cold Climates by Tufts Biology Professor George Ellmore

For more information or to get involved with planning, email tuftsstudentgarden@gmail.com  or join us at our weekly meetings Wednesdays at 9pm in Eaton 203.

See you in March!
Tom Thumb’s Student Garden, Tufts University

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General Interest Meeting (GIM) tonight!

Come make our garden grow! The student garden will be having its General Interest Meeting tonight (Wednesday, Sept 12) at 9pm in Eaton 203. Come by to check out what we’re all about (hint: it has to do with gardens).

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Anyone can garden!

It’s true! Tom Thumb’s Student Garden is open to anyone in the Tufts community! Check out the different interests and experiences of a few of our members

Michael Rogove

Major(s): Biology

Hailing from: New Jersey

What I do in my free time: Sing, read

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: I worked a summer at the Rutgers University Student Sustainable Farm, which was a fully functional, 150-member CSA. I wrote the newsletter for part of the season and watched the tomatoes carefully.

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Tomatoes, duh

Why I joined the garden club: I joined because I wanted to grow something in the summer.

Favorite song right now: “Hello Weekend” by Biscuits and Gravy

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: Turn the entire roof of Tisch into one big farm

 

Ivan

Major(s): International relations (Fletcher School, grad student)

Hailing from: Danville, Kentucky

What I do in my free time: Garden then cook what I grow

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: Part time work gardening in Kentucky, helping family at home with the garden, and farm/ranch work in Texas and Louisiana for family

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Tomatoes

Why I joined the garden club: I enjoy eating what I grow!

Favorite song right now: Bat Fruits, “When you love someone”

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: Colonize Mars with the garden crew

 

Liz Stockton

Major(s): Biology

Hailing from: Los Alamos, New Mexico

What I do in my free time: Hike, read, cook, study plants!

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: None to speak of

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Snap peas. yummy

Why I joined the garden club: I wanted to get outdoors and meet cool people who also like plants and hangin out outside. I love how informal and laid back our group is.

Favorite song right now: Oviedo by Blind Pilot (it’s so good. listen to it if you haven’t)

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: I wanna be able to fly (not in a plane, with wings) back to bawstooonnn. I miss the garden kids

 

Minh Leu

Major(s): So like I have a couple. Economics, International Relations, and Spanish

Hailing from: da ‘burbs – West Hartford, Connecticut.

What I do in my free time: I usually just bop around campus. Sometimes Boston if I’m feeling adventurous .

I’m also that weird/annoying person who goes to Tisch to “do homework” when really I’m trying to socialize. shhh don’t tell anyone. But I do spend a lot of time in Tisch because classes are hard and that’s where I post all of my ARC tutoring sessions.

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: None!!!!!!! I watched food channel just ALL THE TIME and they would sometimes have short videos of gardens. That’s the extent of it though.

Favorite thing grown in the garden: The FRIENDSHIPS!!!!! (between gardeners)

Why I joined the garden club: Because watching greenness magically appear from black dirt and tiny brown balls is just wonderful.

Favorite song right now: I’m a sucker for Adele. I’ll have to say “Someone Like You”. I transcribed it for Music Theory and after listening to it 923134 times to figure out the notes and stuff, I still love it!!

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: I would spread my wings and soar up high and fly with the eagles. And then I would make them my besties and we would fly to fun places together and find rainbows to frolic around in. then we would fly to Spain and bop around there for a little bit and be merry.

 

Victoria Stevenson

Major(s): History

Hailing from: Candyland

What I do in my free time: Go hunting for the jabberwalki.

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: I spent a lot of time in my garden at home, but other than that I did not have much experience before joining

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Salad greens

Why I joined the garden club: Because I love being outside and I love food

Favorite song right now: Old’ 55 – Tom waits

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: I’d go flying with puff the magic dragon.

 

Eric Seigel

Major(s): International Relations (Middle East)

Hailing from: Menlo Park, CA

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: I helped out around my mother’s garden since I was little and WWOOFed for a short time the summer after high school, but in the last couple of years I’ve really started to get interested in where my food is coming from and have fallen in love with getting my hands dirty.

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Tomatoes, hands down

Why I joined the garden club: Coming back from abroad, I had a new-found interest in food systems and decided to check out the garden club’s January GIM. I hardly knew anyone in the room, but everyone was so welcoming and friendly and eager to share what they knew. All the gardening stuff aside, it’s just a great community to be a part of!

Favorite song right now: Piano Man- Billy Joel

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: Freeze time so I could read everything on my ‘to read list’ while sitting in the shade of a big tree.

 

Stefanie Yeung

Major(s): International Relations

Hailing from: Chadds Ford, PA

What I do in my free time: Compulsively bake.

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: My dad and I have gardened together, not always willingly on my part.

Favorite thing grown in the garden: Basil because it’s in two of my favorite cuisines, Italian and Thai.

Why I joined the garden club: I joined the garden because I liked how ‘tangible’ the club was. We’re actually creating something and gaining skills that we can use daily. Also, I think the smell of dirt is a wonderful thing.

Favorite song right now: Luminol – Miracles of Modern Science

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: I’d stay in China for another year and use my limitless supply of money to travel to all the provinces and try all their dishes.

 

Micaela

Major(s): Biopsychology, French

Hailing from: Santa Clara, California

What I do in my free time: cooking and baking with seasonal ingredients, exploring the unknown, making terrible jokes, and learning to use my film camera

Other gardening/farming experience before joining the student garden: Volunteering at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, CA! (after joining the garden)

Favorite thing grown in the garden: sage and basil

Why I joined the garden club: the tomatoes and peas are just as sweet as my fellow gardeners, and I love the dirt under my nails

Favorite song right now: “Rayos de sol” -Juan Magan

What I would do if I could ignore the limits of physics and money: jump (or hop) from country to country across the world and make pestos out of every herb imaginable, all while taking every class at Tufts that could not fit into my four year schedule.

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It’s been a while

It’s been a while since we last posted, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been working!
Here are some updates:

We’re finished with our semester now so we’re transitioning to our summer care team. If you’d like to be a part of it, email shoshanna.kahne@tufts.edu.

We began planting an herb garden in the beds in front of Tisch Library. We’re still looking for more herbs to plant, so if you have any ideas, let us know!

We transplanted the plants from the greenhouse into the garden! Our beds are filling up, but we still have a few empty ones ready for the planting whims of a gardener!

I’ve had a water barrel sitting in my backyard for like a year now and we finally set it up by the corner of the shed closest to the garden.

Professor Ellmore will be bringing his summer session class down to the garden to show them plants in mid-growth. In return for letting him do this, he said he’d tend to our garden a little himself!

To take this fall:
EXP-0026-F: Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
1.0 credit, Letter-graded
Monday, 6:30-9:00
Caitlin Hachmyer

And some things we need to do:
-Repair some beds
-Fix up the fence where it’s threatening to fall
-Make legit educational signs
-Plant more things!
-Build a spiral herb garden!

Also- Some groups to check out:

Higher Education Farm Network and New England Students Cultivating Campuses

And a couple blogs to watch:

Food and Community and History at the Table by Tufts Professor Cathy Stanton

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Work day

Hey everybody! Ivan, Liam, and I went down to the garden today to clean up a little bit. We discovered tulips, cilantro, and spinach all growing in the garden!

Tulip

We moved one of the cold frames onto one of the beds, so we should seed some things in it. We also moved some soil from a collapsing raised bed onto the other beds. We think we’re going to need to fill in some of the gaps in the taller raised beds so we stop leaking soil out of them, and we’re going to have a tool/shed cleaning day soon. Keep your eyes open for more chances to get in the garden!

Ivan and Liam

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George Ellmore Talks About Gardening!

If you’re a Tufts student at all into plants, you’ve probably heard about George Ellmore. But if you haven’t, here’s why we’re excited that he’s coming tomorrow, Feb 29, at 9pm to Eaton 201 to talk about gardening in Massachusetts:

  • His bugs-get-stuck-on-Drosera-trichomes impersonation is flawless
  • He’d rather lose 10% of his produce to critters every year than get cancer from pesiticides in ten years
  • He’s managing to grow a small citrus tree in Massachusetts
  • He has a calendar of dates of when things sprout/flower/grow the best
  • He grows a mean garlic
  • Oh yeah, and he teaches Bio 14, Plants and Humanity, Plant Development, and Plant Physiology. So he knows his stuff
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My ode to peas.

The pea plant is my favorite plant, by far. The following might be a little extreme, but it is true – I love the pea plant!  Not only is Pisum sativum the most delicious snack to munch on between picking tomatoes and weeding the eggplants, but it is also the most elegant and peaceful plant, in my opinion. Did you know it is actually a fruit? Did you know it self-pollinates? Did you know it can fix nitrogen? Did you know you can eat the young shoots? Oh my goodness, what a cool plant.

I will explain the pea plant’s impact on my life. Last summer, I worked in a dark, over-air conditioned, sunless office staring at a computer screen. How did I make it through? I’ll tell you: The secret little gems I had stored away in my pocket kept me optimistic. I would wake up an hour early every day to pay a visit to the student garden to check on the plants, water them, do some basic chores… and eat peas fresh off the vine. I would take a few extra to hide in my jacket pocket (again, the office was over-air conditioned). A simple touch of the smooth green skin reminded my fingers of the warm sunshine and moist dirt that went into this little pod in my pocket. And then, at my most desperate moments, I would eat one. So sweet and cool and beautiful!  Days that I did not get to pay my early morning visit to the garden were the worst days. With no sharp crunch and sudden sensation of cool sweetness to start off the day, I knew those days would be darker – such is my obsession with peas.

Let me go on. If I had to get a tattoo, if it were a life-or-death matter, I would get a pea plant up my back. If I could only grow one thing in my garden, it would be a pea plant. If I got the chance to name a planet, I might name it after the pea plant. I like eating peas and their pods, I like looking at the plant itself, I like hunting for pods under the soft leaves, and I like trying to capture their elegance in drawings to decorate my apartment. Although they are spring plants, during this past fall, which was extraordinarily mild, my fellow student gardeners agreed to let me try to grow some. It worked and I got to rejoice with my gardening friends in the sweetness of victory and peas in the fall.

Why such a celebration of success? Because the pea plant is simple and beautiful in its purposefulness. The gentle curving tendrils with their life-seeking grip on anything in its path, the cute tiny pods swelling up and promising sweet deliciousness each day, and the simple perking-up of the leaves when you water them, these are the things that contribute to my love for the pea plant.

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General Interest Meeting Wednesday, Feb 8!

Want to get involved with the garden but have been too shy to show up at our weekly meetings? Come join the other newbies at our GIM tomorrow night. We will meet at

9pm in Eaton 201

(as we do every Wednesday night!)

Our potential agenda is as follows:
History/origin of the garden
Group structure
Plans for the spring semester
Weekly meeting structure
Announcements
Map garden

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From the summer log

To get you excited for the planting season, here are some pages from our summer garden log:

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RABBITZ

Who is that nibblin at our greens? It might be a New England Cottontail – the only rabbit

New England Cottontail vs Eastern Cottontail

native to New England – but it’s probably an Eastern Cottontail (brought to New England for hunting purposes).

If it is indeed a New England Cottontail, we should probably make friends with it. They’re much rarer than the Eastern, and in the spirit of preserving biological diversity, we should let them live happily. BUT if it’s an Eastern, I say we bust out the figurative guns and defend our produce!

How do we know if we have rabbits sharing our garden?

1. You see a rabbit in the area.

2. You find rabbits living in a raised bed (true story).

3. You find circular scat about 1/2-inch in diameter in the area.

Deer and rabbit scat comparison

4. You find tracks!

Cottontail rabbit tracks

So now for an exercise in the hypothetical:

Lalala just watering the garden… OH MY GOODNESS A NEST OF RABBITS IN THE RAISED BED! WHAT DO I DO?

Well first of all, that means we failed to prevent them from getting in the garden. The best way to keep them away is to never let them in, so fine mesh fencing such as chicken wire laced along the bottom of the fence is a simple, basic, and cheap solution. Sometimes rabbits get desperate/clever and will dig under, so in an ideal world where we have a lot of manpower to dig a trench, we would sink the chicken wire in half a foot or so to keep them waskelie wabbits from sneaking past our first line of defense.

But now you’ve stumble across their home! The brash little buggers are living IN OUR GARDEN! Well, now that you’ve discovered them (let them know you discovered them by clearing out the nest overgrowth and letting them see your teeth… I’m serious…), they’ll probably flee that nest and take up residence nearby. But check on it throughout to make sure they’re gone from that nest.

Now, hopefully they’ve made a nest outside the garden perimeter. Throw up that chicken wire! Or pile rocks a foot high along the fence. But they still might find a way back in… since they’ve taste the forbidden fruit, they can’t resist…

Try some of these suggestions from www.ghorganics.com (more suggestions on the site):

1. Sprinkle or hang cheesecloth bags of bloodmeal around plants. If sprinkled it must be redone after rain.

2. Vinegar: Soak corn cobs (cut in half)  left over from a meal in vinegar for 5 minutes, then scatter throughout the flower or vegetable garden. Two weeks later soak them again in the same vinegar. You can keep reusing this same vinegar again and again.

3. Soybean plants will repel rabbits or some say they attract them.

4. Onions will repel them. So will bonemeal.

5. Use red pepper, black pepper, cayenne, paprika etc. as a dust to repel. Rabbits are always sniffing so they snort this up and it sends them packing.

Mexican marigolds! Also edible!

6. Plant “Mexican Marigolds” (Tagetes Minuta) and garlic in the garden to repel them.

7.  Try planting some crops that rabbits will eat instead with, we hope, the intention of deterring them from your other garden crops. Try annual crimson red clover, planted as a

strip border around the garden. Now even if it is not successful as a distraction the clover will up the nitrogen content of your soil. Soybeans are said to be good munchies for bunnies but some say they act as a repellant.

ifplantscouldtalk.rutgers.edu also has information on plants that are known to repel rabbits:

Annuals such as Ageratum, Campanula, Impatiens, Forget Me Nots, Scabiosa and Cineraria;

Perennials such as Achilleaa(Yarrow), Amaryllus, Aqualegia(Coral Bells), Artemesia, Aster, Tuberous Begonia, Campanula, Cyclamen, Dahlia, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Digitalis (Foxglove), Echinacea (Coneflower), Ferns, Gaillardia, Hemerocallis (Daylilly) Iris, Monarda (Bee Balm) and Verbena.

Groundcovers such as Bougainvillea, Hedera (English Ivy) Lantana, Pachysandra, Solanum (Potato Vine) and Vinca

Shrubs and Herbs include Buddlea( Butterfly Bush), Boxwood, Camellias, Holly, Juniper, Lantana, Lavender, Rhododendron, Rosemary, Salvia, Mexican Sage, Lilac, and Viburnum

These are things we could plant around the edge of the garden to not only act as deterrents but also perhaps to attract some butterflies and bees too!

And finally, if you happen to have a rabbit problem at home and someone in the area is into small game hunting – we don’t recommend trapping because rabbits carry diseases – here’s a recipe for rabbit stew from the Food Network:

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds rabbit, cut into stew sized pieces

    Rabbit stew?

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups red wine
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced sauteed mushrooms

Directions

Using half the flour (3/4 cup) coat the pieces of rabbit, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and brown the floured rabbit on all sides. Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaves, 6 cups water and red wine, and stew for about 2 hours. Add the potatoes 45 minutes into the stewing process. Once the rabbit and all the vegetables are cooked, use some water to form a paste with the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Stir the flour mixture into the pot as a thickener. Add the already sauteed mushrooms to the stew and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve.

Information from:

http://www.fws.gov/mainefieldoffice/New_England_cottontail_rabbit.html

http://www.biokids.umich.edu/guides/tracks_and_sign/leavebehind/scat/

http://www.jesseshunting.com/california-rabbit-jackrabbit-cottontail-hare-hunting-info

http://www.ghorganics.com/page6.html

http://ifplantscouldtalk.rutgers.edu/planttalk/article.asp?ID=13

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robert-irvine/rabbit-stew-recipe/index.html

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