Winter Garden Status

October 27, 2010

October 18-24

Bok Choy

Everything seems to be blooming beautifully. The most difficult task with a garden during this state is deciding what’s a weed and what’s potential food. Everything that’s green looks edible. The second challenge is deciding which plants to pull when you’re trying to thin out a row. All of the plants seem to be thriving, and I feel a little uncomfortable when my un-astute eye has to play such a vital role in the ‘survival of the fitest’ veggies. I managed to push through and do a good deal of weeding and a mild amount of thinning.

I was aided in the weeding process one early afternoon when two dudes walked by on their way to The Strom. I had just gotten off my bike and was scoping out our lovely greens when I heard one of them read aloud our ‘Arab Food Garden’ sign. A moment after he read it he said to his mate, “I didn’t know Arabs have their own gardens.”  I couldn’t hear his friend’s response, but I’d be amazed if either of them even knew what he meant by that. I’m not sure how you’re in college, Buddy – not because college is particularly difficult- but because I don’t know how you made it this far in life with a mind that works like that. Talk about survival of the fitest. I dedicate all the weeds I pulled that day you, my man.

Anyone lose a shoe?


Winter Garden week 2!

October 19, 2010

This week was the second week of the winter garden. What was extremely different was we had our first cold weather of the season! This should be very good for the new veggies trying to grow. As you can see in the photos at the bottom of this entry, the new plants are looking very fresh and green. The chard was growing like crazy so Brooke and I had to thin it out over the course of the week. We took turns watering and tending to the garden so check out the photos to see its progress! -Meghan

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We planted two wonderful large gardens for our service learning project at the Spring of Life Lutheran Mission off of Two Notch Blvd. The church does wonderful work, servicing the underprivileged Latino community in Columbia. We planted one garden full of  the super-green kale. This plant will do well in the winter and  provide a highly nutritious but also delicious green for the community. In the larger garden, we also planted bok choy (Chinese cabbage), two kinds of broccoli, collards, and lots of fava beans and lots and lots of garlic.

The previous Wednesday, the students planted our winter Arab garden at the Green Quad as a dry run. It was a successful practice as the students tilled up, reworked the soil, re-built up raised beds, fertilized and planted seeds for a thirty by thirty  garden and a thirty by one hundred garden all within three hours.

Before planting, we harvested the remains of what was a rich and abundant garden, salvaging many peppers, cayenne and sarrano hot peppers, and few other vegetables like egg plants and cucumbers

The students were self-directed and motivated, efficient and cooperative. They worked wonderfully together. Many had to leave earlier than others but this did not stop anyone from giving 100 percent. I am really proud and happy about how the garden looks. I will be visiting the garden periodically.  Middle school students who attend the mission’s after school program will take care of the garden throughout the winter.

The students need to be commended for a great job.

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This week (October 6th – October 11th) was the first week of the winter garden.  After the class planted garlic, fava beans, broccoli, kale, collards, and artichoke, I tended to the garden, ensuring it had abundant water in its initial stages of growth.  I watered wednesday afternoon, thursday, friday, saturday, and sunday.  Sprouts of the broccoli and collards began to shoot up on Sunday, which was exciting.  The garden in its entirety looks very healthy and rich.  The boc choy continues to be abundant.  Hopefully the garden will continue to flourish as the temperature continues to dip.  -Dylan

We planted the Winter garden in back of the Green Quad (West Quad) last Wednesday. The students came ready to work and we used this event as a dry run to the gardens that we would plant for the Spring of Life Lutheran mission.  We ripped up the remaining plants from the summer garden (planted by last semester’s class). The students churned up the soil of the raised beds and built them up more, adding new cardboard to prevent erosion. We put wood chips between the beds to further help drainage and allow us to walk when it rains.  In turn, we planted lots of broccoli, collards, and kale. In addition, we planted the winter staples, particularly lots of garlic and fava beans. Furthermore, we expanded the garden.  Three students built up a new circular raise bed where they planted artichokes from seed and another group of students made a new raised bed running along the north side of the garden to plant more garlic.

The bok choy  (with some arugula and mustard greens mixed in) that we planted for the Fall garden looks incredible and the chard and beets are doing very well. Unfortunately, we had to rip up beech nut squash that was doing well and we planted a month ago to make room for the garlic.  The boc choy will be used soon for our famous “fusion fatayyir’! Stayed tuned!



Everyone Loves Hummus!

October 10, 2010

It was hummus (chick pea) day. We put this versatile and high in protein and nutrient bean through its circuit. We broke up into four groups. Two groups made hummus bi-tahini (AKA hummus dip) and the remaining two groups made two kinds of “balilah.”

All of the dishes are made with garlic and hummus. We had to buy the bread but everything else was completely organic. Moreover, we ate the last of the cucumber and garlic from our garden!

The dishes were fantastic and the students were creative in adding their own flairs to the dishes. The four dishes were so good that the students ate in virtual silence except the “mmmms.”


So look. We don’t cook with meat. That’s tough because no matter how rich the vegetarian diet in Middle Eastern cuisine, so many the main dishes of the region are meat based. This included masakhan and kabsa, which have chicken.  We made a dish which effectively was spiced, roasted almonds (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon), with chickpeas as our protein and replacement for chicken. For a savory contrast, we mixed in raisins and garnished with dates and served on a bed of basmati rice.  Divided into three groups (of about 6 students), the students did a great job, worked well and gave their own spin on each dish.

Jenna and I got lucky with garden duty this past week because the rain really helped us out! Towards the beginning of the week, it didn’t require a whole lot of watering because it was cool and wet, but we made sure we checked up on the garden every day to see how it was doing. On Wednesday those cucumbers that we ate with our hummus were picked by Jenna fresh off the vine right before class! We made sure to thin out the plants and picked whatever looked like it was ready so that nothing would go to waste.

On Thursday afternoon I went out to water the garden and it was looking really good even though it hadn’t rained that day. I think all of the natural rain water the plants were getting throughout the week really helped them thrive and provided regular hydration, rather than when we go out there once or twice a day to give them all the water they need at once. The soil still looked damp but I gave the garden plenty of water just to be sure. I also picked another cucumber that looked ready and shared it with my roommates that evening; it was really good 🙂 The tomatillo plant was looking good so if anyone wants to use those there are plenty of them 🙂 I didn’t see any peppers, but noticed an eggplant growing in. It was still really small so I left it alone, but should be ready for whoever has garden duty next! The bok choy looked really good and healthy and so did the swiss chard. I took some pictures at the end of the week so feel free to check it out!

-Amanda (and Jenna)