St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works

Weekly Pictures (6/15 - 6/22)

Hey everybody,

I thought I would throw up a few pictures from this past week.

Both varieties of basil, yum!

Everyone working hard

Laying soaker hoses is how we water a third of the garden,
for the rest we have an awesome new irrigation system (pictures to come...)

Just Another Day at the Farm...

June 9-13.

This week at STOGROW we’ve been continuing planting, weeding, trellising, and working on special projects. Nearly all of the vegetables are planted leaving only a few more tomatoes (destroyed in the recent cow rampage). New plants in the ground this week included basil, onions, green peppers and winter squash. These were all transplants from the greenhouse; the seeds were planted earlier this spring. We planted two basil varieties, one of which has a beautiful purple color. As Abby and Rob have an extreme love for basil, they were very excited. In fact, they couldn’t stop smelling it as they planted. The onion transplants were a new addition this year. Onion seeds were planted last year, but not much amounted from them. We’re hoping for greater onion success. Seeds planted this week included beets, radishes, and carrots.

The weather this week was cooperative for the most part. The heavy rains and strong thunderstorms Wednesday night left the ground soggy and too wet to walk on Thursday morning. The afternoon on Thursday, however, followed with warm sunshine and enough heat to dry up the soil and allow a few of the farmers to do some work.

A new project on the farm is a raised flowerbed on the east side, near the newly planted carrots. We took some old tires that were piled around the greenhouse, filled them with compost and arranged them in an arc, planting four or five flowers in each tire. The flowers planted were statice mixes and impatiens. A big heap of compost was added on the west side to house some transplants. (A few plants that were in the flower bed by the greenhouse were overtaking the smaller flowers, so we decided to make a raised flower bed elsewhere to accommodate their larger size.) The new raised flowerbed was complimented with a hedge of rocks to keep the soil in formation and add a little decoration, as well.

The chickens are still doing well. Rob and Tom made a new portable hut (aka chicken tractor, as Rob likes to call it) for the chickens last week during a rainy day. This hut is a little more structurally sound and allows for the chickens to have even more access to parts of the farm and time outside of their main coop. As usual, they accompany Rob wherever he goes and they like to visit us while we plant, making sure they do a good job of weeding, fertilizing, and taking little nibbles at the earthworms and other insects.

The First Full Week of the 2008 Season

After another long Minnesota winter, we were all excited to start farming. While the majority of the past week was overcast or rainy with threats of hail and tornadoes, we managed to get everything in the ground. Kristin and I were fortunate enough to be able to get most of the preparatory work done during celebration week (before the new interns returned to campus). This allowed us to break ground right from the start.

We also bought six chickens from the local Latino Chicken Farm. They run an excellent operation and I encourage everyone in the Northfield area to look them up for their next chicken dinner. This year's chickens are all Cornish Crosses, and while they aren't as colorful as last year's, they've really grown on me. They're all very friendly, and happily follow behind us when we're weeding--in hopes of snagging a worm.

The farm also survived the first crisis of the year this past week. A herd of cows got loose and trampled much of the garden. No serious harm was done. The cows were nice enough to leave quality fertilizer behind as an apology for any squashed plants.

Finally, I would like to thank the Northfield Co-op for donating beautiful flowers for our bees and a variety of vegetable plants (which are all doing very well).

I also attached a few pictures from the one nice day had. They're mostly of chickens--but that's only because they're so photogenic.