Student-run organic garden on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis
Welcome to a place meant to serve as a cathartic outlet for those with perhaps a bit too much thyme on their hands. I hope that past, present, and future ‘quatters will make use of this as a place to discuss farm goings on, germinate excitement, and generally share a word or two. If you’d like to enrich our literary experience with a story or poem or heck, even an acronym, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll guide it along its path to bloggish publication…
December 5, 2012: A New Farmigarchy for the New Year
Compost Masters: Libby and Jessica
Workday Coordinator: Billy
Market Bunny: Hallie
Plant Planner/Site Manager: Jacob
Web Spider: Max
Assistant Spider: Peter
Resident Artist: Max
Party Animal: Molly
Pre-O: Tal, Max, Molly
Camp: Jenny, Max
Clouds: Pepper, Terry, Alyse, and Lisa
If you were unable to make it to the meeting where we passed on positions but you’d still like to take on a more active role, let us know what you’d be interested in at theburningkumquat[at]gmail.com and come to our meetings next semester – we’d love to have you!
October 27, 2012: A Visit to Earthdance Farms
A couple quatters woke up early Saturday morning (Okay, ten. Early by university standards.) to head over to the Ferguson Farmer’s market. There were Shetland sheep for the petting–so soft!–and an amazing band of ladies playing Springsteen and other rock classics. The band’s name? “The Hot Flashes!” It was a high quality morning, to be sure.
Next, we headed over to the beautiful Earthdance Farm for a farm tour from Molly Rockamann. We learned about Molly’s connection to the old Mueller farm and Earthdance’s amazing apprenticeship program, which gives area residents the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to start their own farming endeavors. And ohey graduating seniors: there’ll be some Americorps positions on the farm soon.
Best of all, Earthdance had some goodies for us: a box of überripe beefsteak tomatoes and some spectacular green zebras. I’m thinking there may also be some pickled green tomatoes in this quatter’s future.
October 18, 2012
Aw shucks – it’s the very first butternut squash of the season!
It’s just one of many, though – our squash patch is thriving. Yah, I’ve got a picture of that, too:
October 9, 2012
We got a Vermont Cart! Now one person can take pounds upon pounds of produce to market without any need for help.
But, of course, if’n you want to help we’ll be harvesting alternating Tuesdays (like this week) at 11:30 and Wednesdays (like next week) at 12. E-mail Lisa Tang, our market bunny, at theburningkumquat[at]gmail.com for details on the market schedule.
September 22, 2012: A Visit to Earthdance Farms
A few lucky ‘quatters hit up Slow Food STL‘s annual “Art of Food” event. We were invited last year, and we had such a ball that we were eager to return. And oh, it was worthwhile.
Chefs from all of our favorite local restaurants were there with fresh, delicious items from lamb ragout to salted caramel ice cream. Not for the small of stomach!
We spent the evening moving from table to table to sample all sorts of delicious thing. The food came from all over; we saw Niche, Farmhaus, Kaldi’s Coffee, Local Harvest Café, Companion Bakery, and many others. Between bites, we bid on the silent auction, where we won a farm tour from Earthdance. There were plenty of other great items too, including wine tastings and CSA shares. My personal favorite was a piece entitled “Cleavage”–with lots of kitchen knives.
One of the most delicious plates of the evening–not that they can be compared–came from the brand new Pint Size Bakery. They served up a sweet potato cake with salted caramel sauce and goat cheese topping. Mmmmmmm. I have yet to make it out to the bakery, but they got an amazing write-up in STLmag a few months ago – perhaps the next great Kumquat activity?
But the best part of the night, without question, was the people. We met chefs and restaurateurs, learned about Schlafly Brewery’s community outreach (check out their movie screenings!) and ran into some good friends from Kakao.
If you haven’t yet been to the chocolaterie in Maplewood, be sure to check it out; their salted caramel and their bacon truffles at the event were absolutely spectacular.
March 16, 2012
A few farmers who stayed for break got to enjoy a lovely garden with blooming magnolias (and beds that need deep digging, but mostly magnolias.) And the first planting of the season: Captain Custard, the persevering tomato plant who survived winter break all by herself in a dreary dorm room, got her own little patch of garden space.
November 30, 2011
A new farmigarchy is found:
November 20, 2011
Last night’s hoedown went down without a hitch! We danced the night away to the lovely twangings of Karen Jackson and the Traveling Waves, weaving in and out of circles, over and under arms, and only occasionally knocking into one another. But now it’s the night after, and we’ve still got some left-over decor: a few red onions and some squash. With cabbage still growing in the garden, I think I have dinner for tonight!
Peas and Love from Pepper Saturday, October 5 2011
Recipe for happiness:
Some carrots, fresh out of the ground
A big bag of apple seconds from Maplewood farmer’s market
A beet green or two
Cody Copp and his amazing juice-creating machine
Yes, that’s right, we had a juiceful meeting this week. We pulped and juiced apples and watermelon, carrots and kale. We learned that beets and kale, by their lonesomes or just as a pair, are not particularly delectable–but they’re the perfect lower note in a cup brimming with the juice of ripe fruits and veggies! Thursday, August 4th, 2011
I thought that this was pretty cool. I have done a quick tally of where we are in terms of produce progress this summer. Drumroll please….
$604.30 made from BK sales
398.25 lbs of produce harvested
That’s like a couch worth of vegetables…a very fancy couch indeed. Monday, August 1st, 2011
The ups and the downs
Japanese beetles fly, fly
Campers find the wind Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Let’s check in with the farm via a photo tour!
The cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and okra are loving this heat!
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
MYSTERIOUS TOMATO PRUNER STRIKES!
Guest Reporter: Alyse (aka Potato)
Last week we arrived at the garden one morning to find huge gaps in both of our tomato rows! :O Shocked and surprised, Farmer Amanda started to look around the garden for the missing plants. The mystery deepened when we found tomato branches with fruit in our new compost bins. Although we have not cracked the case, Amanda’s hunch is that it was a fellow gardener wanting to help us prune. Kumquatters love collaboration (the burning kind of love in fact), but we ask that those plants with fruit stay as they are. They worked so hard so we want to give em a chance!
In other news, Camp Kumquat session two is off to a great and very warm start! Visit the blog (campkumquat.blogspot.com) to hear all about it from Arugula-Ann and Tomatillo Terry!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
BEETLES, BEETLES & MORE BEETLES
If you have a garden, or a plant, even one plant at all, you have likely noticed that there are many bugs out there (both good and bad) that will come to check it out. I have sharpened my google skills due to the amount of garden bugs that I need to identify every week in an attempt to determine whether or not I need to get rid of them. Today, while doing my usual morning Japanese beetle hunt (oh yes, I still have to do that), I found a monster bug! It looked like a Japanese beetle but four times as large, and I found him in the base of an okra leaf. I had all of the campers gather around it, and we collectively decided to kill it using the jar of soapy water that we use for the Japanese beetles. She was colossal but also majestic; never before had I seen a beetle of that size. It almost looked like a Japanese beetle on steroids. I realized that I had found her. The queen. The queen Japanese beetle was in my glass jar, and the king was out there waiting to be captured. It only took me a few minutes to find him on the pole beans. He was more brown than green, making me think that he was the other half of the royal pair. Yet, I botched the kill, and he flew off to an indeterminable location. Later that day, I was turning the compost when I made a king sighting. He was resting on the magnolia bush, so I threw off my work gloves, quickly retrieved the murder jar and scooped him into it! Naively, I thought that I had killed the two parents to the hundreds of Japanese beetles in the garden. I returned to compost turning when I started to hear the loud buzzing of several giant bugs. Most of them were circling the compost, some flying spot on into the walls of the shed, others landing on the magnolia bush. I followed one until it landed and noticed that it was another giant Japanese beetle. I thought that it must be a member of the extended royal family. After a few minutes, I gave up catching them since in reality, I had no idea what they were.
My research tells me that they are called “Green Fruit Beetles” or “Figeater Beetles”. They are in the same family as cicadas and are known to eat overripe fruit. Additionally, they are infamous for awful flying skills due to their large size, so it is likely that I will be hit by one very soon. However, they are harmless to humans and can only eat overripe fruit because their jaws are so weak that they can’t eat anything tougher.
Also, one more beetle to mention. This week I found the harlequin bug.
They are on the kale and lay really cute black and white barrel shaped eggs. But don’t let that fool you! They suck the juices right out of the leaves until they kill the plants. I know, I know. It looks really cool and artsy. But remove them from your garden if you see them! Maybe some inspiration for an Egyptian art project?
Friday, July 7th, 2011
Camp Kumquat began on Tuesday and we’ve been having a blast! The campers have started to experience working in the garden which is all that I want them to do. On Tuesday, they pulled up fava beans, on Wednesday, they planted potatoes, and today they harvested veggies for City Greens and did some small garden chores.
Here’s a conversation I had with one of the campers yesterday during aftercare:
Amanda: So Aiden, I mean, Fat Tony, what was your favorite part of camp today?
Aiden (aka Fat Tony aka Amnesia-Aiden): Nothing.
Amanda: Wait, what?! Really?
Aiden: The whole day was my favorite part!
Phew. That was a close one.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
THE TUCK AND ROLL
A new dance move? A method for escaping fire hazards? Part of my gymnastics routine?
It’s a Japanese Beetle’s method of self defense.
If you have a garden, you have probably experienced the threat of Japanese beetles. They are about the diameter of a dime and have bronze, metallic backs. They are notorious for eating the leaves of plants down to the veins. It’s dreadful. Currently they can be found at the BK on our pole beans, marigolds, and sorrel, in large quantities. There isn’t really a spray or general method usable to try and rid yourself of these little creatures, but there is one thing we’ve been doing at the farm to gain our dignity back.
LeeAnn, Zia, Alyse, one other guy’s whose name I forget, and I have all gone hunting for Japanese beetles. All you have to do is get a jar of soapy water and position it so when you flick the beetle off of the leaf, they will fall right into your trap. However, since we’ve been doing a lot of hunting on the farm, I have a feeling that we have been artificially selecting for the beetles that are the best at avoiding our trap. Sometimes they will just fly away because you disturbed them too much in your attempt to catch them. Yet other times, they perform the “tuck and roll” which baffles me to the point of blurting expletives every time my plan gets thwarted. Here’s the all too typical situation: while holding the end of a leaf that contains a Japanese beetle that you are hunting, you prepare your jar of soapy water, moving it to the perfect position for your attack. But that’s when they do it! They curl up into a ball and roll down the leaf until they are in mid-air all balled up. That’s when you think, “Ha! I’ve got you! You’re just going to fall onto another leaf where we will dance this dance again!” It’s when they are in mid-air that they perform the most breath-taking trick of all. While descending towards the earth, they break out from their tuck position into flight mode and fly away (often times hitting you on the way out as if to say, “Sucker!!!”). The ones that we have failed to capture are the experts of this move, making it very difficult for us to catch them. Though I am amazed at their skill, it makes me so angry when they escape my trap! Not only do they feel the satisfaction of escaping the clutches of a human, but now they even get an entire blog entry devoted to them!?!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
How is June flying by so quickly?
We made a farm fresh dinner in honor of the summer solstice. Nearly all of the ingredients came from the farm (I’ll put them in bold). Pesto (a.k.a. herbacious babe sauce) made of sorrel, basil, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and spinach. Stir fry of potatoes, chard, bush beans, and fava beans. Que delicioso!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Last week it was time to thin the okra, and Paul and Alyse were the perfect farmers for the job. We decided that instead of just tossing the thinned plants into the compost we were going to transplant them to a new home. A beautifully refurbished bed just next-door was looking for some new tenants. Carefully, Paul and Alyse wiggled their fingers under the roots of each okra plant to free it from being bound up by its neighbor. They placed them in the new bed in straight rows about 1.5 feet apart. We watered them in and were certain that they would be much happier with all of the extra leg room, but we were so wrong! For the next few days we watched them cringe; no matter how much we irrigated them, they still were unhappy. Their leaves had shriveled up and most of them were not standing up straight. It would appear as if they had been fried by the sun, but we were experiencing a cold front that had produced gorgeous days of 75 degrees. Almost a week later, futures are becoming hopeful for the baby okra plants. Their brethren in the nearby flat are about twice as tall, certainly because they didn’t occur quite a shock. Now, the babies that barely escaped a slow death of decomposition are beginning to perk up and gain a little more color. After talking to Mike, the manager of the WashU greenhouse (who has a fabulous garden), we learned his transplanted okra plants were surviving just fine. What went wrong? Paul, Alyse, and I may never understand. Currently, we are accepting donations to our new charity, Friends of Okra Transplants, to benefit our damaged and stunted okra plants.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Things are gearing up in terms of sales for the BK, and our market schedule is getting sorted out more or less. On Fridays we will sell at a table outside the DUC at the Friday BBQ. Saturdays we will be at the North City Farmer’s Market, and Thursdays we will sell to City Greens (I think). But when should we have our workdays? Sunday mornings? Sunday evenings? A random night during the week?
Meeting today with Bon Appetit to talk about camp stuffs!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Oh, those poor strawberries–all red and plump and lonely! Fortunately, they will always have a home. In my belly.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The farm looks really beautiful! The kale and arugula and strawberries and tat soi and lettuce are begging to be eaten and the sunflowers are growing about a foot every day. Amanda is working diligently to keep the weeds from taking over and Terry and I are working on finding campers and speakers for Camp Kumquat. We just found a chicken lady (who’s going to bring a chicken for the kids to play with!) and the owner of Companion Bread will be teaching a lesson and baking with the kids! sugar snap peas and love,
Monday, May 16, 2011
Far away in Missouri
Kids will eat their fruit