Organics, Biodynamics & Pest Control

By Garden Group 3

Organic Agriculture

It’s safe to say that organic agriculture has assumed the role of poster child for alternative food production. The USDA lists it under Alternative Farming Systems and defines it as “a system [of production] that integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” Organic food in the United States is associated with a national program of accreditation–The National Organic Program. The regulations that govern this process of accreditation are determined by the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) of 1990.




Reminder: Truck Farm Film Screening and Q & A tonight!

Just a quick reminder about the Truck Farm Film Screening!

Truck Farm Screening Tonight
Tonight at 5:30pm
We’re meeting at 725 Commonwealth Avenue (College of Arts & Sciences)

Room # 313

There will also be a Q & A session with the Boston Truck Farm following the film screening! Hope to see you there!

What exactly is hydroponic gardening?

by Katya d’Angelo

I’ve heard of growing plants using the hydroponic method, which judging from the name (hydro) uses water, but I never really knew what it was all about. So, I decided to research it a bit and find out.  According to one of my gardening books, hydroponically grown plants grow bigger and faster than ones grown in soil. Although it does not explain why, my assumption is that the nutrients are being fed directly to the plant roots, which allows for a quicker and perhaps better absorption.

Apparently, plants can grow in almost any other material besides soil. These include sand, gravel, rocks, or the water solution itself. Seeds can be started in those materials, but for the water solution method, seedlings must be started beforehand and transplanted later to a homemade or bought hydroponic container.

Read more here –>

My First Garden

by Alison Gross

I am a gardening novice.  I have never tended my own garden, and I have very rarely planted anything, or even cared for potted plants. I come from generations of women who have cared for and maintained beautiful backyard gardens.  It is unfortunate that the only time I can remember putting a flower into soil was shortly after my grandmother died. For as long as I could remember, she had the most beautiful backyard full of roses, begonias, and apricot trees.  She loved spending time in her garden and because of the cooperative Central California weather she would be out there year-round.  She would pick flowers from her garden to make bouquets for her home, and can apricots from the overflowing trees.  One particularly warm summer, I helped her use some of the apricots to make ice cream.  To me she was the ultimate gardener.

Read more here –>

Confessions of a Second-Story Planter

by Sarah Warmus

“[I]n the meantime we’ve got it hard
Second floor living without a yard”

I’ve never had my own garden.

Sure, when I was younger, I helped my parents in their flower and vegetable beds, but it was a chore, a punishment for lying or staying out past curfew. I hated it – and, at times, them – for taking me away from the TV shows, music and phone calls that seemed crucial to my teen existence.

As soon as I could, I fled to university in the big city, where I didn’t have to hear about pests getting into the lettuce. I loved the freedom of being able to choose the where and why of when I got dirt under my nails – never! – and embraced living in a concrete jungle. It didn’t faze me when a dormitory or apartment lacked outdoor space; if it was near the action and lights of the city, then that’s where I wanted to be.

Read more here –>

Securing the Future of a Garden

by Daniel Amstutz

The lot next to my apartment building used to be an abandoned, weed-strewn wild until my landlord bought it and started landscaping it into a memorial garden.  As I was talking to one of my downstairs neighbors as he and his roommates were building a raised bed for their garden, he expressed surprise that our landlord was not going to build anything on it.  He was not complaining, of course – our downstairs neighbors had been growing seed starts for at least two or three weeks.  Yet, in our heightened awareness of money and economy, a question immediately springs to mind: would it not be more economical, and more profitable, to construct a permanent structure on this land?

Looking out over the lot to the southeast. Photo credit Daniel Amstutz.
Read more here –>

A Sense for Health

by Lucia Austria

With an undergraduate degree in marketing, I have always been familiar with the role of sensory analysis in the consumer packaged goods industry. Product development, branding, merchandising, and repeat purchase habits of customers all can benefit from sensory tests and analyses. I had never applied the field of sensory analysis to any other purpose besides business initiatives, and was therefore fascinated and delighted with Christopher Tilley’s article, “The Sensory Dimensions of Gardening.” Bringing to mind the depth of physical experiences people can have with their gardens, I have come to understand how much I can explore and discover in a small garden plot using vision, smell, sound, touch, and taste. Though I enjoyed Tilley’s article, the pragmatist in me could not help but think, so what? What use is uncovering the sensory dimensions of gardening except for explaining varied experiences of gardeners and visitors?

Read more here –>