Tuesday, December 1, 2015


A few years ago, when we started the Learning Garden at SMU, Dick Langill donated a pile of worms from his home garden, so that we could start our own worm bin. The fat red worms ate a lot of compost, multiplied and eventually needed more space to stretch out.

We now had more than enough to share so that others could start their own worm bins. The great thing about worm bins is that the worms eat up the compost and make rich soil that provides a low cost and a natural way to feed the plants. Worm tea made from worm castings (yup, worm poop) is the best fertilizer there is.
worm bins
Glad to have SMU alum, Sarah Gabel, back to help with the garden!

In the beginning of Fall semester, Sky organized a worm bin building workshop. It takes two plastic tubs and some holes. There are many variations of this design, here is one from Seattle Tilth. We started with our huge pile of red worms that needed to be split up. The worms had to be picked out by hand and added to a fresh pile of newspaper strips and compost.

Hand picking worms out of the rich soil.

Everyone got some worms and bins to take home for their gardens and in Annabel's case, for her dorm room. Since worm bins don't smell, they are a great and easy way to compost indoors.
Pam Holsinger-Fuchs adopts some garden worms for her garden.
Alan Tyler has a pile of worms to take home too.
The best part is that by using a worm bin, you turn your food waste into a reusable resource that goes back into the garden instead of the landfill to produce methane gas. According to the EPA, food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane, which is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. By feeding the worms, you are actually helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feeding your garden to grow more food.

OIKOS FYS101 class takes veggies to the Food Bank
Here is what we do with the food we grow. Our First Year Seminar class took this harvest to the Thurston County Food Bank where we learned about how this local non-profit helps eliminate hunger, diverts good food from going to the landfill and provides healthy and dignified food options to people in need.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Calling All Gardeners to the SMU Learning Garden!

Have you checked out the Learning Garden on campus lately? Our veggie crops and flowers are growing like crazy in this hot weather. There is a lot of work to do and volunteers are needed to help with harvesting for the local Food Bank, planting crops for fall and-as always-weeding. Garden Manager, Sky Myers is on campus every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and is seeking volunteers to help out through the remainder of August, September and October. Faculty are encouraged to contact Sky to schedule a time to bring your class to the garden. Special projects and dates can be arranged to suit your needs. Drop ins are always welcomed!

Worm Bin Workshop September 18th
Our Eisenia Fetida (aka Red Wigglers) have been very busy this summer turning vegetable scraps into worm castings. These little critters are totally amazing at transforming organic material into gardener’s gold. These bins are tidy, they do not smell, and are perfect for apartment dwellers or those who don’t need a large, outdoor composting system. Our bin is so full of worms  that we have enough to share! If you are interested in starting a worm bin to compost your kitchen scraps, join Sky September 18th from 12:00 -2:00 pm. Donations will be accepted to cover the cost of materials. RSVP to Sky at lmyers@stmartin.edu by September 4th to participate.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Plant Sale and Summer Class


Annual Plant Sale at Saint Martin's Learning Garden
April 29, 30 & May 1st from 11-2pm in the garden adjacent to the cafeteria patio.

This year, in addition to the usual variety of vegetables, flowers, herbs and berries, we will have an assortment of garden planters made from repurposed materials by student intern Steven Caron.

Throughout the summer quarter the Learning Garden will be offering workshops on how to make some these fun garden projects including:
Vertical Pallet Gardens, Terra cotta Hanging Pot Planters, Repurposed Glass Planters, Beach, Wood Planters, Hanging Gutter Gardens, Garden Totems, Birdhouses, Birdfeeders.

TAKE A SUMMER CLASS (3CR.)! Get outside and learn.
COM395: Ora et Labora: Contemplation and Work in the Garden  (3cr.)
This course has three components: 1. Hands on work in the Learning Garden, planting, tending and harvesting fruits and vegetables for Thurston County Food Bank. 2. Researching local and global issues related to food production and distribution. 3. Creating media stories based on research,m contemplation, and the hands-on experience of working in the soil. Students may take either or both sessions.
Main Summer Session
Fridays, 9am-12:20pm
Instructor: Sky Myers

Volunteers needed! Contact Sky Myers (svdervish@gmail.com) if you would like to help with the plant sale, planting or if you have plants to donate!

All sale proceeds go towards the Learning Garden. The vegetables grown in the garden go to the Thurston County Food Bank.

Read more about the garden here http://sustainablesaints.blogspot.com/