Week 16: August 19-24: First Week of Student Presentations

Topics:

  • Mosquito and tick-born diseases and prevention
  • How-to make Dahl, an Indian food staple
  • Container gardening
  • Food preservation and what it takes to be self-sustaining

This was the first of student presentations. These presentations are a great way to get to know one another a bit better, to cultivate a learning community, and to start thinking about taking what we are learning in this class and to spread it elsewhere.

Heather works for the Department of health, and gave an informative presentation on mosquito and tick diseases, and recommendations on how to prevent them. This topic, the mosquitos in particular, hit close to home for Tommy Thompson gardeners, as we sat in the clover patch, with mosquito head netting. For more information, please refer to the Department of Health website, http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/arbovirus/index.aspx.

Next, Anu presented on the art and memory of Indian cooking. He talked us through the process of making a staple in the Indian diet: dahl. Anu told us that before coming to the US, he would eat this once a day at least. When dal is eaten with a bread or grain, you are able to access the essential proteins and vitamins. Here is a link to Anu’s recipe: http://chefinyou.com/2008/12/tadka-dal-recipe/

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Steve gave a wonderful presentation on container gardening. He has been cultivating a porch garden all summer and led us through his lessons learned and explained the pros and cons of a container garden versus a traditional garden. Steve tested some of the Gardener’s Supply options for container gardens, including the tomato master,  self-watering containers and the carrot planter. He brought in a few of his plants, and we all had the excitement of turning over his potato container garden to see what the yield was (about 20 potatoes!).

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Jan started his presentation with the question “What does it take to grow enough food for the planet?” This inquiry drove the rest of his presentation, which delved into urban homesteading, salting, smoking and and brining meats, and preserving vegetables through presentation. Jan’s research showed that an average person would need 1 acre to feed themselves for an entire year. However, he found a family of four in CA, who claim to grow enough food on 1/10th of an acre to feed themselves and bring in $20,000/year in profit! Here is a link if you are interested in learning more:

http://urbanhomestead.org/urban-homestead

On Saturday gardeners had a tour of the no-till garden on the Tommy Thomson site, led by Wendy Coe (Site coordinator at the TT Community Garden), Ron Krupp (Long time gardener and author), and Fred Schmitt (On the Vermont Community Garden Network Board of Directors). We talked about the history and layout of the site, and then walked into their gardens and had the chance to ask questions to those who have been here for a while. Many thanks to Fred, Wendy, and Ron. Ron has also offered to sell his book, The Woodchuck’s Guide to Gardening, to students in our class at half price! (http://woodchuckgardeningvt.com/)

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This is the beauty of a community garden- learning together, listening, and asking questions.

We wish you much growth and health- garden and otherwise- in the week to come!

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