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Now hiring garden interns!

By Sustainability Office on July 20, 2016

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Department: Sustainability Office
Hours per Week: 6 hrs during fall semester

Job Description:
The Sustainability Office is offering a paid Garden Internship to a qualified student starting in mid/late-August 2016 until November 2016 (the end of the growing season). The garden intern will help manage and promote the one-half acre vegetable/herb garden and greenhouse on campus. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding job. Work includes exposure to outdoor elements (e.g., heat, sun, rain, etc.). The student intern is expected to coordinate and organize volunteers and student work parties. The Garden Intern will report directly to our garden manager (Beth Roy) and work in close collaboration with other garden interns and other Colgate students, faculty, and staff. The student intern will gain life-long skills and knowledge in harvesting and maintaining a garden, organizing events, and supervising volunteer workers.
Required Skills and Experience

Key Responsibilities:
• Work with garden manager (Beth Roy) to plan and manage the garden during the fall season. Specific tasks may include preparing soil, cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
• Organize and supervise volunteer work parties.
• Coordinate with Green Thumbs presidents to schedule a weekly time for volunteer work parties, and be at the garden during those scheduled times to supervise the work parties.
• Provide continuity for work on the garden throughout the 2016 growing season.
• Prepare for and help run a weekly Farm Stand to sell produce from the garden.
Recommended Qualifications and Skills:
• Strong work ethic and self-motivated.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
• Preference will be given to those with experience and firsthand knowledge in farming and/or gardening with vegetable crops; though previous garden experience is not required.
• Experience organizing and supervising the work of others.
• Tolerance for hard work and exposure to outdoor elements.
• Excitement about promoting local farming and local food production

Work Requirements and Benefits
The garden internship position is rewarding but demanding work that involves physical exertion and exposure to the outdoor elements.
Starting Hourly Rate: Fall semester – $8.50/hour (estimated because Financial Aid determines pay rate)

Supervisor: Beth Roy, Garden Manager

Key Contacts: John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability; Christopher Henke, Associate Professor and faculty advisor to the garden; Beth Roy, Colgate Community Garden Consultant

To apply, send a resume and one page cover letter to the Garden Manager, Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu) and fill out an application on the Colgate Portal.
The application deadline is August 5. Employment will begin on or around August 15.


June Updates at the Garden

By Sustainability Office on July 5, 2016

With the recent rain falls and the rays of sun, the garden is looking very green and luscious! If you haven’t had chance to stop by (which you should definitely do during our open volunteer hours Tuesday 12-2 PM and Thursday 4:30-6:30 PM) and roam through the rows and rows of sprouting veggies, here are some updates! Our lettuce, radishes, kale, and chard are pluggin’ away and giving us lots to share! Snap peas practically popped out overnight this week with some impressive 5-inchers! And we had our first two squash after the wonderful rain!

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With such a great abundance, we have been harvesting for some very successful farm stands as well as for Chartwells, the dining service at Colgate, and the Food Cupboard located in Hamilton. Through all these sales and donations, we have been meeting many wonderful people and we are so thankful for all their help and the connections we’ve made. We would like to thank all of our farm stand regulars, our generous community plot members for words of encouragement (and delicious donuts!), and Chartwells dining services for supporting local food.

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We would also like to give a big shout out to all our weekly volunteers, and namely our volunteer group from the library. Last week, a group of library staff members came down to be out in the sun for a few hours and give us a helping hand. They mulched, weeded, and planted parsley and brussel sprouts! To cool off and relax after their hard work, they sat in the shade and were able to paint some of the most beautiful and unique rocks our garden has ever seen. The garden looked so healthy and lively after they left and we are so grateful for all the time and energy they put in.

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Our next work party will be Wednesday July 6th from 5-7pm. Come to garden, enjoy good vibes, and eat delicious (and garden-sourced) food! And we are happy to announce that our Farm Stand is officially every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 in front of Trudy Fitness Center right across from the Sanford Fieldhouse. On rainy days, we’ll be located inside Trudy at the sign-in desk! Hope to see you there! And remember to stay fresh and eat local!


Organic Pest Control at the Colgate Community Garden (and yours!)

By Sustainability Office on June 30, 2016

No matter how careful you are about keeping your garden clean and maintained, you are bound to run into some pests. At the Colgate Community Garden we have lots of critters that get to our food and it is important to be proactive in controlling them. To do so, we choose to use only organic methods as to reduce our impact on the surrounding land and create the healthiest produce possible. We have compiled some of our methods here for you so that you may implement them in your own garden or plot at the CCG.

Some common pests in the Upstate NY area include slugs, beetles, grasshoppers, and birds. The most vulnerable time for your plants is when they are young, as they are weak, and when they begin producing fruit.

It is often possible to determine which pest is getting at your plants based on the type of damage they leave. Once the pest is identified, you can begin steps towards prevention. Below are some common pests at the Colgate Community Garden, the damage they leave, and the steps we take to prevent them.

Common Pests and their damages

Beetles: Beetles typically leave small pinholes in the leaves of young leafy plants. They especially love our arugula and spinach plants. To keep out beetles we cover our plants with Diatomaceous earth after every rain. This method is explained below.

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Slugs: Slugs typically leave larger damage than hard-shelled insects at the center and edges of leaves. To keep out slugs we use cups of beer in the ground. Slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer and when they go for it, they drown in the cup. This method is further explained below.

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Cutworms: These worms are most dangerous to our tomato plants, but can affect a wide variety of species,. They work by wrapping around the base of the plant tightly and severing the stem. The plant subsequently dies. To prevent these worms, we wrap the base of our tomato plants in a ring of newspaper. This method is further explained below.

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Birds: Birds especially love berries and corn and thus your plants are most vulnerable to birds in their later stages. PLus, birds love earthworms, which are super beneficial to the soil health of a garden. However, if birds are not a huge problem in your garden, we suggest you embrace them. Most of the time, birds are also hardworking garden allies, munching away on annoying pests like snails, slugs, and harmful insects.

Grasshoppers: Grasshoppers are sneaky pests and it took us a while to figure out they were getting to our plants. The damage looks similar to beetle and slug damage: large bites out of the leaves of plants. To prevent grasshoppers you can use diatomaceous earth or try the flour method, explained below.

Organic pest control options

Beer: Simply fill a cup or jar about ¾ of the way to the top with dark ale. Bury the cup in the dirt so that the rim is just slightly above the soil. The slugs will be drawn to the yeast in the beer, and once they lean in for a quick sip, should fall right in and drown. This often captures other pests as well.
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Diatomaceous Earth: This is a natural product collected from the ocean; it is made up of tiny crushed up shells of creatures called diatoms. It feels soft in our hands but to an insect, walking on diatomaceous earth is like walking on broken glass. Beetles to  caterpillars will be lacerated and dehydrated from the diatomaceous earth and will thus die. Spreading a thin layer on the leaves of affected plants is helpful in controlling a wide variety of crawling insects. While diatomaceous earth is safe for humans, we recommend using a dust mask and eye covering to avoid inhaling it or getting it in your eyes as it is microscopically sharp. Diatomaceous earth washes away so should be replaced after rainfalls.

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Flour: Although we have not tried this method at the garden, we have read that it works similarly to diatomaceous earth in the prevention of grasshoppers. The flour is harmless to the plant but will coat the grasshopper’s wings and clog it inside. If you attempt this method, make sure you are using all-purpose flour without any added ingredients!

Newspaper wrapping (tomatoes): To prevent cutworms, we wrap a thin layer of newspaper loosely around your tomato plants when planting. To do this, simply rip a 1 inch strip of newspaper and loosely wrap it around the base of the plant a few times. Then place the plant in the earth and cover the bottom half of the paper collar with dirt so it stays on.

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Basil: The oils in basil are said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes. We plant basil alongside tomatoes which is said to make them larger and tastier. Basil also tends to keep away tomato hornworms.

Marigolds: Like basil, marigolds are another addition to your garden with a dual purpose. The marigolds are bright and beautiful, and also provide a well-known pest control. Make sure you choose scented marigolds if you are using them as a repellent. It is also important to note that they may attract other insects such as spider mites and snails, so do not use marigolds if you have a problem with these other pests!

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Covering: If you are unsure what is getting to your plants, and they are still weak, you can try covering them with a semi-permeable covering. We use Agribon, which is permeable to sunlight and water, yet helps keep bugs out. This covering can also help young plants adjust to the outdoors if they were grown in the comfort of a greenhouse.

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Neem Oil: Neem oil acts as an organic pest control for some insects by disrupting their reproductive cycle, while causing other insects to stop eating and starve. Neem oil also remains effective even after the spray has dried on the plant, so it can be used as a preventative insecticide. Unlike synthetic insecticides, neem oil will not harm beneficial insects. It is important to record how often you spray any form of pesticides on your plants so you do not over cover.

Introduction of other beneficial insects: Not all insects that come into your garden are harmful. Many are good pollinators and many others will eat harmful insects. Therefore, it may be useful to encourage these beneficial insects to enter your garden. It is possible to breed them in your garden, but it may be cheaper and more simple to plant items in your garden that these insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, and some wasps are attracted to. Each of these insects feasts on different pests so be sure to look up which you need to encourage in your garden. Additionally, each is attracted by different plants, such as cilantro flowers, Queen Anne’s Lace, tubular flowers, or clover. Beneficial insects are not attracted to frilly double flowers such as double petunias or hollyhocks, because it is too difficult for them to reach the pollen in a double blossom. It is important to provide a variety of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the season to attract the most beneficial insects to the garden.

More sources for Organic Pest control

Neem Oil

Beneficial insects

Flour method

Bird control

More pests we didn’t mention!

More creative organic control methods

More plants that double as repellents


Green your Summer BBQ

By Sustainability Office on June 21, 2016

By Revee Needham ‘18 (Environmental Studies major from Elko, MN)

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With great weather in upstate New York this summer, everyone wants to barbecue. Here are some tips so that your meal is more environmentally friendly!

Bring Reusable Utensils Instead of one-time use plastic cups, plates, utensils, and tablecloths, use more durable materials that won’t end up in the landfill. If you must, choose compostable options, which you can buy in bulk from eco-products.

Fill up Pitchers Avoid water bottles and individual lemonades by serving homemade drinks. Provide a marker so guests can keep track of their cup instead of using multiple. (1)

Designate a Recycling Bin Set up your recycling bin next to your trash to make recycling easiest for everyone. Remind your guests to empty liquids from bottles and cans before recycling.

Choose Electric or Natural Gas Grills Charcoal, propane, and lighter fluids release more fossil fuels and chemicals than electric or natural gas grills. (2)

Pre-heat Wisely It only takes 5-10 minutes for most grills to warm up. You can save energy, money, and cut down on the amount of chemicals released by reducing your grilling time. (2)

Make In-Season Dishes Find out which vegetables and fruits are fit for grilling in the summer. This cuts down on the distance your produce needs to travel to arrive on your plate. Check out https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce to learn more.

Serve Vegetarian Dishes Meat requires much more water and fossil fuels to produce. Look up tasty meat-free dishes to offer for your guests. (1)

Encourage Friends to Walk or Bike Neighborhood events are easy for your guests to travel but you can also help coordinate a carpool if they are coming from further away.

Be Wary of Bug Sprays Avoid DEET repellents as they are toxic for you and the planet. (3) Look for products with picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil to protect yourself. (4)

Happy grillin’!

 

Sources:

Picture: http://www.windward-dayservices.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/bbq-cleaning-brisbane1-620×308.jpg

  1. http://www.nature.org/greenliving/gogreen/everydayenvironmentalist/green-your-summer-bbq.xml
  2. http://www.justenergy.com/blog/your-green-summer-bbq-green-grillin/
  3. http://groovygreenlivin.com/five-tips-to-green-your-barbeque/
  4. http://time.com/3856309/mosquito-repellent-bug-spray/

Greening Reunion 2016

By Sustainability Office on June 17, 2016

With Reunion drawing in over 2,000 alumni, Colgate University decided to green the event. Preparation for reunion has taken place for a while, and thanks to the Alumni Relations Office, biodegradable utensils and cups were provided for all meals served on Friday June 3rd. We are proud to say this prevented sending plastic waste, that would have otherwise been used, to the landfill where it would have sat for over 500 years! No doubt these materials cost slightly more, but the price was definitely worth it. These biodegradable materials and the food will break down in about half a year (1). In addition, the catering team collected all recyclable materials.

Colgate Reunion’s normal food service providers have supplied biodegradable plates, napkins, and utensils for a few years now, and fortunately, this year, the beverage providers were also able to bring biodegradable cups, completing our quest for the biodegradable reunion event. The only trash generated during the Friday meals were ice cream wrappers from the infamous Byrne Dairy Chipwiches and hand-wipes used during the evening BBQ.

To coordinate the effort for a near Zero Landfill Reunion and to educate alums of our efforts, the Sustainability Office had dedicated student volunteers (pictured below) stationed at all bin areas during Friday’s meal times. These volunteers helped alums with what items were recyclable and what items were biodegradable (On your own, you can differentiate between these two by looking for either a leaf symbol or a normal recycling symbol). You can create your own compost pile of food scraps by following the instructions on http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-compost. On campus, the Colgate Community Garden also runs a compost program that community members can take part in.

We learned from this event and hope to make next year’s reunion even greener! We’d like to thank our volunteer team of students for their time, energy, and passion for this green event.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.ecoproducts.com/compost.html

Applications now open for the 2016-2017 Green Raider Internship Program

By Sustainability Office on June 15, 2016
Our recently graduated Green Raider interns.

Our recently graduated Green Raider interns

The Sustainability Office is pleased to announce positions for qualified students to implement and manage Colgate’s peer sustainability program. This is an exciting opportunity for Colgate students to get hands-on experience putting sustainability and green living practices into action.

Qualified interns will work up to 12 hours per week, during both fall (2016) and spring (2017) semesters. Official start date is August 22, 2016. Orientation is mandatory and will begin the morning of August 22nd.  Weekly work schedule is flexible, however, we will have mandatory team meetings once every week.

INTERNSHIP OVERVIEW AND PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Green Raiders will model and promote environmentally responsible behavior in on-campus residence halls by inspiring and educating their peers using proven community-based social marketing skills (no prior knowledge necessary). The Sustainability Office will hire enthusiastic, self-motivated, over-achieving students who have demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability.  The mission of the Green Raider Program is to help lower Colgate’s ecological footprint, reduce energy costs, and increase student understanding of environmental issues that will have lifetime benefits. More specifically, Green Raiders will:

  • Promote green living practices in each of the residence halls and the larger campus

  • Be an accessible resource to students on campus with any questions they may have about sustainable living

  • Promote the Green Living Program through the use of blogging, social media, email, and other outlets

  • Plan and execute high-profile campus events that engage and educate students with green living practices

  • Create materials and behavior change programs that inspire and influence first-year residents to practice environmental stewardship

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:

FLEXIBILITY AND OPENNESS TO CHANGE. Successful Green Raiders will be individuals who think critically, are problem solvers, can adapt to change, and who can turn a challenge into an opportunity.

TEAM PLAYER. Be a team player and take advantage of peer-to-peer education, learning the best practices from other Colgate Green Raiders. Successful Green Raiders will bring their own “flair” and innovative ideas to the program, but also know how and when to conform to the better judgment of the team as a whole.

BE A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOR. Green Raiders are expected to practice what they preach and model sustainable living by recycling, practicing energy efficiency and water conservation, using alternative transportation, and practice other sustainable living strategies.

RECOMMENDED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS and ABILITIES

  • Solid interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively and respectfully in a collaborative, culturally diverse work environment

  • Detail-oriented and possessing the ability to accomplish results in designated time frames

  • Being comfortable working in a fast moving/changing environment and having the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously

  • Having the ability to effectively motivate community members to action

  • Possessing strong organizational skills

  • Having very good written and public presentation skills

  • Being computer literate and proficient in the use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other office applications

  • Proficiency with Google Apps (Drive, Calendar, etc.)

  • Having the ability to maintain a productive and healthy work/life balance

  • Knowledge of design and publicity, as well as associated design programs is helpful

  • Experience using social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, is helpful

The Office of Sustainability is particularly interested in applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and are interested in using their work in sustainability to support their academic and professional objectives.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Updated Résumé

  • One-page cover letter explaining why you are interested in becoming a Colgate Green Raider and why you believe you will be a valuable addition to our team

  • Submit your application through the portal or via email (sdickinson@colgate.edu) by no later than 5:00pm, Friday, July 8, 2016. Successful applicants are expected to begin work on August 22, 2016. Daily work schedule is flexible and contingent on student class schedules, current projects, and scheduled meetings.

  • In order to have the most cohesive team possible, being on campus for the entirety of the academic year is preferred. However, with some current team members going abroad, there may be some flexibility in hiring new Green Raiders who are going abroad.

Contact Steve Dickinson (phone 315.228.6360; email sdickinson@colgate.edu) for additional information or follow-up questions.


Work Parties are the Best Parties

By Sustainability Office on June 14, 2016

The first work party of the season was a success! This past Tuesday, so many people came out to garden and got right down to work. Students filled our melon patch with watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, and winter squash; we can’t wait to watch them grow through the weeks. Others worked on mulching rows of tomatoes with newspaper and straw to help prevent the spread of weeds and pests. Tires donated from NextDoor Hamilton were beautifully spray painted to be used as decorative planters. During a 10 minute downpour students stayed dry and warm by painting rocks for our flower garden underneath the porch. After all the hard work, students enjoyed a lovely meal of slices, freshly picked salad greens, guacamole, and brownies! The garden looked happy and bright and we can’t wait to share all the future progress.

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We would also like to say a special congratulations to Good Nature Brewery who celebrated their groundbreaking on Tuesday! GNB will be expanding their business by building a brewery, tap room, beer garden, and hop farm surrounding our garden plot. The event was full of friends, family, professionals, and some delicious GNB beer. Construction should start within the week and continue throughout the year. The relationship between the garden and GNB is one we are eagerly excited to grow in the future.

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And with that, the garden is now completely planted! We expect to have our first farm stand this Tuesday, the 14th from 5:30-6:30pm. We will be located on Broad Street, right by the Gamma Phi “Little Blue” house. Our first haul of the season will include some lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, and herbs! Be sure to come by and take some veggies home for fresh cookin’.

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Spring 2016 Green Thumbs Work Party

By Sustainability Office on June 13, 2016

The rain held off long enough for the first official work party of the 2016 Colgate Community Garden season on May 4.  About 15 people came to check off a list of garden tasks and bid farewell to some of the Class of 2016.

The list of tasks included: planting potatoes, planting seeds in the greenhouse, planting pansies in the vertical palette garden, and laying down mulch in the walkways around the community beds. The group made quick work of the tasks and enjoyed some tasty treats from Hamilton Eatery afterwards.

Before the event ended, several seniors who had a role in the garden over the past years were honored: Brett Christensen, Alex Schaff, Quincy Pierce, Grace Littlefield, and Renee Berger.  Their hard work and dedication to the garden over the past several years has allowed the garden to grow and continue to find success.  We wish them the best as they continue on their journey outside of Colgate!

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Colgate Community Garden Summer Updates

By Sustainability Office on June 1, 2016

The Colgate Community Garden is up and running for the 2016 season! Over the past two weeks, we’ve been getting busy at the Garden to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for the huge plans we have for the summer months ahead. We are so excited to share with you all that is happening here!

 

As the last frost date passed last week, we are busy planting away our tender and very tender veggies! In the ground so far we have potatoes, radishes, lettuce, peas, turnips, carrots, beets, beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes, oh my! We have Sam Stradling of the Hamilton Food Cupboard to thank for starting to grow so many of our plants. In the next few weeks we should start seeing some produce and by the end of June we hope to be selling that produce at our Farm Stand! Until then we will be passing our time weeding away…
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Many of our Community Plot Members have started planting in their raised beds and we are seeing some promising results! Pictured is one member’s’ beautiful grid design with some sprouting lettuce and arugula. Also pictured are our potato towers. Layered with dirt and potatoes and lined with hay, these vertical gardens are easy to set-up, maintain, and harvest!

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Additionally, we are eagerly anticipating the groundbreaking for Good Nature Brewery’s new brewery and hops farm next door! To make way for their building and operations we have relocated our shed and are creating a new entrance on what is now the back-end of the Garden. Construction should begin within the next few weeks and we are excited to see the progress!

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As we pull weed after weed in the Garden, we can’t help but think how wonderful it would be to have some more hands! We would love for volunteers to come help with planting, prepping, watering, and harvesting (or just for a tour!) during our Open Hours, every Tuesday from 12-2pm and Thursdays from 4:30-6:30pm. Our first work party is also coming up on June 7th from 5-7pm; food and drinks will be provided for helping hands. We cannot wait to see you all, whether it be gardening, or munching on veggies at the Farm Stand. Happy planting!

 

Signed, Kaitlin and Anika (Pictured, feeling the #heat in the Garden)

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Green Thumbs Hosts 13 Days of Green Event

By Sustainability Office on May 11, 2016
Student and community volunteers help build a new raised bed at the Colgate Community Garden.

Student and community volunteers help build a new raised bed at the Colgate Community Garden.

A group of students gathered at the Colgate Community Garden on April 21st to complete some tasks as part of the 13 Days of Green campus-wide events. More than 10 people came, ready to work, and ready to eat some delicious food after finishing the work.

The main task planned was building another raised garden bed inside the adjacent greenhouse.  The students used their carpentry prowess (and some pretty snazzy new power tools) to put together a 2’ x 20’ x 12” raised bed made of local larch lumber.  They then muscled some topsoil into the greenhouse to fill the bed so it will be ready to plant in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, other people added compost and manure to existing raised beds in the greenhouse to help add fertility to the soil.  Outside the greenhouse, 4 old car tires were spray painted with various designs.  These tires will later become planters for flowers!

When all was said and done, snacks were eaten, water was consumed, and good company was shared.  The crew did a great job on the first official group work day of the 2016 garden season.  Many thanks to all who participated!

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