March, 2012:

Vote OGT to receive Follies proceeds!

Hello gardeners and lovers of accessible green space!

We are beyond stoked to announce that Our Green Thumb has been nominated as one of 5 organizations to potentially receive the proceeds from Follies ticket sales !!! Only the top two organizations will win, so – vote for us!

What could Our Green Thumb do with the money?

  • offer a stellar campus-wide workshop on the subject of your choice, potentially with take-home-ables (could be: potted-vegetable gardens, rainwater catchment, vermiculture (worms!), compost systems, municipal waste field trip – OR anything awesome you can think of)
  • purchase lumber to frame each plot, both beautifying the garden AND preventing water and nutrient run off from beds
  • purchase additional compost infrastructure (we currently process between 200-400 lbs of your food scraps each week!)
  • purchase more decorative plants for planter beds and street-scape facing Van Buren
  • purchase a more diverse seed collection for gardeners
  • purchase more tools (replace our broken wheel barrel; more trowels, etc)

Follow this link to vote:

Thanks for your support, supporting YOUR campus green space!


Kale 101: Basic care and Harvesting tips

Howdy gardeners!

I’ve noticed three things going on regarding Kale in the garden this month (note: these do not apply to all plots!): aphids, poor care, and improper harvesting, the last of which inspired the sign pictured below.  Thus, I thought It may be helpful to go over a couple of the basics for those of you who are not familiar (or who want a refresher!).

First things first: Kale plants like to have a little space. This isn’t terribly surprising (many veggies do), but I was surprised to find recommendations of 12 to 18 inches between seeds. (Yes – a foot!) This allows Kale plants enough space for all of their leaves to receive sunlight when they eventually grow larger. This means that if you densely planted seeds and find your bed with thick rows of sprouts, your Kale will thrive best if you thin them out.
That leads me to another fact that growers new-to-kale may not realize: Kale is essentially a perennial crop, meaning it continues to grow and produce through multiple seasons, even multiple years, if you care for it correctly. An essential part of this care: harvesting.

The only way Kale will grow up big and strong to last multiple seasons is by undergoing continued, proper harvesting. So what’s the proper way?  Always harvest the older, larger leaves that are closest to the bottom of the stalk, and be sure to take each leaf stem-and-all. So long as you continue to harvest in this fashion, the plant will continue to produce new leaves from the top as it grows taller. But if you harvest the leaves from the top, they you will stunt the plants growth!
Also note: you should continuously remove yellowed leaves. If they are yellowing or have holes in them, it’s a sign that you’re not harvesting quickly enough!

Continued, proper harvesting is the number one way to fend your plants from all the insects who would like to make it their dinner instead of yours. The principle is quite simple: if you’re constantly getting your hands up in your Kale plants, you’re constantly disturbing where insects would like to set up shop. Furthermore, if you’re constantly harvesting then you’re taking the stuff they’d prefer to eat. It works out nicely, doesn’t it? Just harvest regularly and you shouldn’t have a problem.
That said, aphids are also fond of kale flowers. When a Kale plant does mature enough to begin flowering, you can make an exception to the chop-from-bottom-only rule and remove the flowers – before they attract aphids.

The bottom line is: be kind to kale, and kale will be kind to you!

Read more: How to Care for Kale | Garden Guides

From Shade to Mulch: Commemorating one trees service to the garden

As many of you know, the crazy wind storm that shook Monterey last Tuesday managed to knock over one of the large trees in our garden (!). Thankfully no person was hurt, and luckily very little property damage occurred (with the notable exception of a few succulents – may they rest in pieces!). Upon informing the Presidents office, we were promptly provided with wood-chipping services, and – less than 24 hours later – we had a giant pile of wood chips !

This worked out serendipitously, as we were in fact in need of mulch to combat weeds and redefine the paths between the plots. Thus on Sunday, about 15 garden members joined me in the garden to celebrate our dear trees passing and to put the resulting mulch to good use.


Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.