This week, Zach is on vacation in Hilton Head, Josh is on his honeymoon in St. Lucia, Patrick left for a wedding in Delaware, and Kayla started her full-time job at the library. Our work calendar looks like a patchwork quilt with different pieces jutting in at different angles. With such irregular schedules, we have been working on loose-ends type jobs, such as writing thank you notes to our volunteers, designing signs for our mallway table, and waiting for a series of repairmen to fix not one, but BOTH refrigerators at the Alliance House.
Some other odd jobs we have accomplished this week: tilling and mulching the circle and flowerbeds at the Alliance House, organizing the garage at the 38th street garden, collecting dog fur to sprinkle around the gardens to keep out raccoons, and picking through the dangerous chemical aisle at Meijer until we found a bottle of concentrated neem, an organic fungicide. Some of our cucumber plants are sick, and we hope that the neem will help nurse them back to health.
Of course, we have also been doing routine work in the gardens, harvesting bucketloads of beans, arugula (still), collards (STILL!), peppers, dill, basil, spinach, squash, and cucumbers. We have let our lettuce and some of our arugula go to seed and plan to harvest and save the seeds for next season. Because the summer has been so cold, our tomatoes are not ripe yet, but the vines are heavy with fruit. Today when I was walking through the 38th street garden with a friend, I noticed some watermelons, cantaloupes, and pumpkins beginning to form on the vines. Our butternut squash is almost ripe, and our grapes are beginning to turn. The fall harvest season is almost here!
This Thursday Katie and I ran our first produce stand in the mallway. We enjoyed setting up the table and making sure everything looked appealing. While we only made three sales, we hope that by advertising through social media and word of mouth, we will build a steady customer base. And when students come back to campus in three weeks, we will have heavier traffic. Because we didn’t sell a lot this week, we had a lot of produce to donate to St. Martin’s. We are excited to be able to donate on a weekly basis as our relationship with St. Martin’s strengthens.
Even though this week was a mess of loose ends, like the tangled twine I re-balled when I was cleaning out the garage at 38th, we were preparing for the weeks ahead. With the start of school, many of us will have to severely cut our hours (I’m starting to realize that 18 credit hours with 3 jobs might be a bit ambitious), and I am thankful that we have weeks like this to catch our breath.
Until Zach leaves for another week on the beach,
Alliance Garden Intern