Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vertical Pallet Garden

Don't miss this fun workshop on building vertical garden boxes from old pallets on November 14th. Student, Steven Caron and Sky Myers will be leading the workshop, based on Steven’s plans.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Planning new things!

Hello everyone!
Guess what's new, recently? We have new friends coming to help in the garden! Sky is planning new changes for this beautiful and fun garden! Dave brought us new students here to help clear ivy and make a new bed for new plants!
Look at these two cool friends, Steve and Patrick!!! They are clearing ivy to make more space for the garden beds. If you are curious about what we are going to do in this place, come and check out our garden every Friday! Or you can keep a close eye on this blog, we will update anything fun here. 

This student is planting future pretty tulips! I know, these tulips look like garlic now. They will be incredibly beautiful soon. Believe me, I planted them in my yard.

Aha! Are David and Patrick planning exciting new things for our garden? Do you think it will be about Halloween? Well, I don't know too. But I'm going to ask them this Friday. If you want to know, please join us!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Recent fun things

Do you know what's cool if you have a garden? Donating food to help others! In the last weeks, our garden donated five bunches of beets and six large cucumbers were donated to the local food bank. In July we also donated  a box of kohlrabi and six heads of broccoli.
Before I came here, I never knew that food can be donated too. This is a brilliant idea for both the environment and people. We don't waste food and somebody will enjoy these tasty veggies.

These photos are what beets and broccoli look like. Isn't it amazing to see them in the ground in a natural state rather than in supermarket?
The right one is garlic drying in our shed. They look kinda funny to me, because of their messy leaves and roots. Hahaha! Even I don't know what this garlic will be after drying, but I'm sure they will be better things, eventually. 
Besides veggies, I also have other news to share with you, the following photo is our garden picnic table with new color! Is it romantic to have a picnic on it?  
Have a nice day and come to garden explore more fun! Thank you! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Harvest Time!

Hello Everyone!
It is been a while since we planted these vegetables and it is time to harvest them! Please take these colorful and delicious veggies home and make a great salad for your healthy dinner! Plenty of fruits and veggies are waiting for you! We have tomatoes, broccoli,  peas, blueberries, radishes and beats! If you have enough patience for several weeks more, carrots will come soon! 

Happy to harvest! Yay!!!

If you come to the garden, you will also find these amazing lilies. This time we have dozens of them and it looks  just like a royal garden now. 
By the way, if you are lucky, you may see moles running in ivies! They are super cute! But I was not as fast as them to take a picture.:(
Anyway, come to the garden and explore unlimited surprises!

Flower Blooming Season

Last Friday,June 20, as usual, Dave, and some students came to help in the garden. I  saw these beautiful Daylilies on that day. Before that, I had only white lilies in my mind and I also considered lilies to represent something pure like the color white. But this amazing orange color as you see in the photo is just right for the passion of summer. All I want on this sunny summer afternoon is to be sitting down in a quiet garden with a cup of tea and to be appreciating these special flowers. They are different from my thoughts before, and they look very pleasant with the sunshine. I was thinking that must be the sun that gave them such great color.

By the way, lilies are not only ones worth noticing! These blueberries are almost ready. See the changing colors from green to purple? It is always amazing to see how plants are growing. They may not change during the five minutes that you  are staring at them,  but check in after a week! You will be surprised  how much they did grow!

And feel free to come! We all will be there every Fridays 2- 4 pm. Actually in this garden, you are welcome anytime to visit!

Enjoy the great summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Garden Projects

Summer is the best time in the garden! Heat and sunshine make everything beautiful. On Friday students from Dave Martin's class joined our new Garden Coordinator, Sky Myers for a work party. Dave led a group of international students in the construction of a new bin for last year's maple leaves that were in one of the raised beds.
First, they took the fence apart and removed the netting. Beneath the surface, the leaves were already beginning to decompose. We worked some of the leaves into other beds and used some as mulch. Leaf mulch helps retain water as well as keeping the weeds down. The new bin was constructed entirely from recycled materials. It will allow us to turn the leaves regularly to expedite the decomposition process.
Meanwhile another group of students worked on clearing out an area where we will later build a trellis. Students also created a new small bed along the fence and planted some sunflower starts and cleared ivy from around the gingko and fig trees. Ivy is terribly invasive and requires continual maintenance to keep it at bay. 

After a break, Sky and a few of the students worked on the drip irrigation system. An afternoon of hard work in the garden left us with smiles on our faces and sense of accomplishment.

Garden Coordinator, Sky Myers is in the garden on Friday afternoons; stop by and say hello or pitch in for an hour. She always has projects going. Next up? Planting the raised bed that formerly held the leaves.
Can you believe these are onion flowers?!
P.S: It's almost time to harvest strawberries! Please come and check how great they are! If you find some red ones, you can taste them! Definitely better than what you buy in supermarket!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Garden Map
Sky made this awesome garden map for watering, so I thought I'd share. In case you want to see what's happening in the garden, here it is. download a PDF here.

Films about food

Here are some titles of films about sustainable food production and things related:

Dirt (2009): Talks about the science of dirt and importance of good dirt as a natural resource.

Growing Cities (2013): SMU library has this. About urban farming in America and implications of food ownership.

2012 Time for Change (2010): An eclectic searching movie that covers many eco-cultural topics, goes to a range of interesting speakers, and leaves one feeling hopeful and capable of creating a flourishing present.

A Community of Gardeners (2012): Focuses on Washington, DC, community gardens as centers of calm and social interactions in inner-city neighborhoods.

Canned Dreams: what people, places, and animals go into a can of ravioli

Food Inc: industrial food industry focused

Food Matters: health focused

Forks over Knives: health focused

Ingredients (2009): Focused on the local food growing movement and sustainable farming. 

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil: hopeful; culturally and economically focused

The Garden: South Central Los Angeles farmers fight to save their huge community garden in a poor urban area

The Garden at the End of the World: social justice and permaculture efforts in Afghanistan 

Vegucated: New Yorkers go vegan as a challenge

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sustainability, Place-based Learning, and the Campus Garden

Dr. Tema Milstein (UNM), award-winning journalist and eco-pedagogist, visited as a guest facilitator at an afternoon workshop focusing on using SMU’s garden as a “learning laboratory” for teaching and learning.

Participants included: Olivia Archibald, Heather Grob, David Martin, Teresa Winstead, Kathleen McCain, Julia Chavez, Ernesto Chavez, Mary Jo Hartman and Irina Gendelman

In the tradition of Hands-on Teaching and Place-based Learning and following the concept of Washington Center’s Curriculum for the Bioregion, the workshop focused on the ways that we can prepare undergraduates to live in a world where the complex issues of environmental equality, community health and well-being, environmental justice, and sustainability are paramount.

Faculty and staff discussed the Learning Garden as a laboratory and envisioned a collection of teaching approaches to build sustainability concepts and place-based learning into a wide array of undergraduate courses that can be used to engage students with the issues facing the bioregion.

Dr. Milstein’s work, which includes whale and community-based participatory research, focuses on communication as a cultural force in the nexus of humanity and ecology. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism at the University of New Mexico.  Among her publications, Dr. Milstein’s article “Greening Communication” was published in Greening the Academy: Ecopedagogy Through the Liberal Arts, a 2013 Critics Book Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bring on the Ban: Owning the Water You Drink
Sustainable Saints get inspired at WAHESC (Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference) and initiate the conversation about banning bottled water on campus.
Scholar's Day. Annabel and Dalia present reasons to ban the bottle at SMU.

Bring on the Ban: Owning the Water You Drink
HH 115
April 29, 2014
Annabel Warnell
Dalia Pedro-Trujillo
This presentation takes a closer look at the “Ban the Bottle” movement that has successfully spread among several institutions of higher education in Washington State. Drawing upon inspiration from the Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference this past February, the following questions are explored: what are the benefits and consequences of the ban, what does the ban really aim to accomplish, and why should Saint Martin’s join the ranks of “bottle-banners?”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden Sale

Our first garden sale of the year was a success! Come by on Friday and we will have more tomatoes, herbs greens, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, flowers, native trees and more! Everything is organic and non-gmo.

UNI 101 students selling plants for the garden

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Plant Fundraiser Sale

Wednesday April 23 & Friday, Aril 25
12-2pm in front of the cafeteria
Get your starts for the garden! This is a garden plant sale and benefit for the SMU’s Learning Garden. Prices vary from $3-$7 depending on the plants.

Plants for sale:
Green Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes
Red Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes
Black Krim Heirloom Tomatoes
Yellow Pear Heirloom Tomatoes
 Purple Kohlrabi
Greens Mix

Snap Peas 
Onions (Walla Walla Sweet)
Beets (Shiraz)

Day Lilies
Golden Sage
Western Hemlock Potted
Firs Potted
Vine Maple Potted

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Laboratory for Learning

The SMU Learning Garden is a laboratory for a hands-on exploration of subjects such as sustainability, food justice, urban farming and engineering.

On Earth Day, April 22 at 6:30pm we will be screening the film Growing Cities in Harned Hall 110 (free). The film examines the role of urban farming in America and the potential of urban farms to revitalize the city and to improve the ways that we eat and live. It will be followed by a discussion with a panel of local farmers and food activists. Check out the full program here. If this inspires you to action, stop by the SMU Learning Garden just outside of the cafeteria.

The campus garden is a perfect place to apply theory to practice and to experiment with urban farming and sustainability ideas. It is a lab to learn and to model  sustainable ways to produce food on a small plot of land. For example, most recently, we have faced the problem of water. EPA cites that sustainable water management is essential to ensuring the environmental and economic sustainability of our communities.

So we asked, how can we collect and use rain water to water plants in the garden? We began with a 260 gallon food-grade tote, found on Craigslist for $100. If you do a search online, you will find that there are plenty of these containers available for re-use after they have been emptied of their original contents.

Next, we had to figure out how to install the massive tote in the garden. Since the plot is in the center of campus and highly visible, aesthetics are just as important as function.

Maintenance technician, Vernon Randloph, came up with the ingenious design. He covered the plastic container with cedar siding to blend it into the garden and raised it to create water pressure for watering.

To our surprise, the 260 gal. tote filled up after only a couple of days of rain! Vernon had to engineer a design that dealt with the overflow.  Once the tote was full, it would spill over and create a drainage problem around the base of the building and in the garden, so Vernon rerouted the overflow back into the building drain. Check out the incoming and the outgoing pipes and the awesome water pressure. Now we have a model for a water collection system that can be used for demonstrations of the design, class experiments as well as for watering the garden.

What do we do with the food that we grow? In the Benedictine spirit of service to the community, it goes to the Thurston County Food Bank.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring clean up

  Weeding, mulching and pulling up carrots and beets that survived the winter!