Much to do in the garden! With the great weather we’ve had, we’ve been able to plant and transplant a good deal in the past few weeks. Our Friday workdays have been very productive. We now have a plethora of leafy greens sowed and transplanted including (but not limited to), kale, lettuces, spinach (ayee), arugula (astro), and chard. I am always surprised when I go to the hoophouse to see how productive it is! Swiss chard and bib lettuce galore!
It has been so rewarding to see students come out to volunteer and learn about nutrition and ecological gardening practices. We have transplanted celery which is looking great! There is a single mammoth celery that had been started in the greenhouse earlier this spring that is now looking quite happy out in the newly redesigned garden with its smaller (but not lesser!) companions. Turnips and carrots have been sowed. Chives and onions also looking quite happy.
Lastly, the plants I have been most excited about are the herbs we transplanted into the garden over the past two weeks. Thyme and oregano are sharing a bed. And miraculously, there is enough lavender from the greenhouse the fill its own bed! Hopefully as these tiny plants mature, they can help ward of pests and insects throughout the growing season. But more importantly, be delicious and aromatic!
Hives: a reaction caused by my Bee Fever!
I ordered two medium super hive kits from Kelley Beekeeping, and they arrived on Tuesday! I had to treat the wood so it will last forever (but not the inside, that will irritate the bees). I wanted to do this well in advance, so that there is no smell of the treatment when the bees arrive.
First, I did a pre stain. The first coat was one part boiled linseed oil, one part turpentine, with 2 tablespoons of Penetrol. The second coat was two parts boiled linseed oil, one part turpentine, and 2 tablespoons of Penetrol. These two coats were designed to penetrate the wood, so the stain would be able to sink deep into the wood.
Second, I used a Eco-Friendly stain ordered from Kelley Beekeeping. This was a powder substance that mixes with water. After applying the stain the wood darkened quite a bit!
I did each coat on a different day, to give the hives plenty of time to dry. My dad will be assembling the boxes (he doesn’t work and could use a project) and will be installing them at Hilltop in a couple weeks! Then we just wait for the bees! Stay tuned!
One day before spring break, and there’s only one thing on my mind…great weather is on its way! Not only is the sun finally out, but the garden is livening up! I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect as a new Garden Corps member, but now that I have experienced the work days, I feel like a new person. I am excited to keep working in the green-house because it makes me feel closer to the environment than any other place on the IU campus. But more importantly, I’m excited to get outside in the garden, get my hands in the dirt and start planting some seeds. I’m finally starting to understand what it feels like to be completely natural and in touch with the world around me. With a changing generation, it’s becoming more and more aware to me every day that keeping our communities sustainable is exactly what our world needs. Seeing the new volunteers come out to the garden has made all of us feel great, and we hope to see more in the future! I hope that everybody has a wonderful spring break, and I hope that each one of us has a chance to breathe some warm fresh air outside.
We’ve managed to stay busy in this awful weather planning for the garden, starting seedlings, and among other things, making beautiful, original, garden-themed Valentine’s Day cards for friends and acquaintances. We are lucky enough to have members endowed with the natural talent of coining heartfelt and sometimes sassy garden-themed greetings, jingles, and catchphrases. And apparently, fruits, vegetables and herbs lend themselves all too well to this purpose. Wondering how mere produce could possibly inspire such romanticism? Well, try these on for size!
“Dill you be mine?”
“Lettuce never be apart.”
“You look radish-ing tonight.”
“I wanna chive with you.”
“You look gourd-geous tonight.”
“Why mustard we be apart?”
“Thyme after thyme…”
Among many, many others, these were a few Garden Corps originals we celebrated the holiday with.
Hoping you all stay warm until springtime!
One of our fellow garden corps members is currently working on a bee project, and I wanted to take some time to learn more about them and their importance to the environment and society. I read an article from foodmatters.tv; you can find the link to the website below. According to the article, the population of honey bees is diminishing at a drastic rate. Over 10 million bee hives have been destroyed over the last six years by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Although the cause of CCD is unclear, some sources say it has been linked to the use of agricultural pesticides and the growth of industrialized agriculture. Honey bees are massive contributors to US agriculture. California produces over 80% of the world’s almonds and uses 60% of the United States’ honey bee colonies. Honey bees are also used to harvest avocados, blueberries, pears, and plums. If you care about saving the honey bee population, here are a few things you can do. Sign a petition urging the EPA and USDA to ban neonicotinoids, a toxic pesticide believed to be a main contributor to CCD. Provide honey bees with nourishment by allowing dandelions to grown in your yard. Avoid commercial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, which are harmful to people and many animal species. Finally, find a local bee keeper to purchase your honey from. They are usually more considerate about the health of their bees in addition to making a profit, unlike large honey corporations. Protecting honey bees is important based on principle alone, but it is also important to United States agriculture and food markets.
Knowledge is power. Yea, we’ve heard that one before. In a time where Google search has become our best friend, knowledge about almost anything seems to be within reach. However, though I firmly believe that this cliché utters Truth (it deserves a capital T), I am finally questioning what kind of power. An openness to learning is one of the most beautiful gifts people can give themselves. The development of the mind really can cause unique opportunities and experiences to occur. For me, when I hear this cliché, I think of the ways I have changed due to exposure to information and the astonishing ideas and people I have experienced. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, there are other powers in the world that triumph a better informed mind. Since the beginning of the semester, I have been watching documentaries about the agricultural system in the United States. Though I have only watched a few, the power of money seems to be a main concern. Even though all of these documentaries are full of facts and imagery showing the devastating impacts of the food industry, the power from these large corporations are immense. The knowledge of climate change, diseases, animal cruelty are all there, yet profit overrides these issues more often than not. Fortunately, I am an idealistic type of person, and I live to be hopeful. I can see that people do want a change and are starting to change behavior to avoid contributing to the processed, inhumane products. For instance, though I was raised eating meat probably more than once a day. I never thought I would stop eating meat, but after learning about the reality of the food industry, I started being pescatarian two years ago. Now, I’ve been vegan since the new year! Therefore, though the power of money and overbearing mainstream ideals are there, people can’t change if they don’t know about it. Even though it seems unchangeable, I say keep the documentaries coming.
It has been two weeks that I haven’t been to our garden, feel sorry but did not do that on purpose! It was snowing crazily in Bloomington recent two days, really don’t know how our garden is doing, hope she is fine!! This is a season that she would like to take a break and then put all the effort into feeding new lives in the coming spring. This week we will have potluck in Audrey’s home and make some further steps! I