Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Random Farm Knowledge: Part 1

Working on the organic farm at my university this summer has quickly taught me a lot of things. Lesson Number One is to ask A LOT of questions. I feel like asking questions is part of my job. I've also started to accumulate a lot of random bits of knowledge. Most of this comes from my amazing supervisor who's been with the farm since it started and did her Horticulture undergrad and Ag Education masters at my university. Other stuff comes from trial and error (aka: Abby makes a mistake and then doesn't make that mistake again). This is the first part of the Random Farm Knowledge series that I'll try to do every so often.

1. White Dutch Clover makes an awesome row cover and cover crop. Why spend time weeding pathways when you can just seed it with clover and let that grow up instead? It also makes awesome pollinator habitat and just looks so darn pretty.

2. Cucumbers, watermelons, squashes, zucchini, etc don't like their roots touched. These plants can often be finicky transplants, and a big reason why is that if you touch their roots too much when transplanting, they get kinda upset.

3. You can eat lambsquarters. I've been pulling this weed out of gardens my whole life, not knowing that the small plants can be eaten in salads. Crazy.

4. Speaking of lambsquarters, quinoa is in the same family as the common weed, so herbicides that kill lambsquarters can also harm quinoa.

5. YOU CAN MAKE JELLY OUT OF DANDELIONS!!  You only use the yellow petals and it makes an amazing jelly. Our supervisor made it and we tried it on gingersnaps, which was awesome.

6. You can grow cold-hardy kiwis. So that's pretty awesome.

That's it for now! But hopefully I'll accumulate some more Random Farm Knowledge soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014


Hello everyone!
I've been a bit quieter than I'd like to be recently as I've started settling in to my new job as a Marketing Intern at Cornercopia Student Organic Farm on the University of Minnesota campus. I'm LOVING this job. It's more hard work than I've probably ever done for a job, but it's incredibly enjoyable and my co-workers are fantastic and fun to work with. We've been going absolutely crazy with planting anything and everything lately. We just got 910 tomato plants (80 varieties!) in the ground at the beginning of the week, as well as sweet peppers, hot peppers, basil, squash, watermelon and potatoes.

That's a lot of tomatoes!!
The farm itself has been around since 2004 and has been certified organic for most of the time that it's been around. The farm partially serves as a learning tool so students like me can work as interns, do research and take classes that relate to an organic farm and have a real-life model for their studies. I took the Organic Farm Class this past semester so our lab section did a lot of the seeding for the farm. The farm also sells it's produce to the University community. The University Dining Service buys a lot of our produce for catered events and their dining halls on campus. The Campus Club, a restaurant located in the top floor of our student union, also buys our produce and does pretty awesome things with it. They're really committed to using local and organic produce (their chef insists it makes everything taste better and I totally agree).

My job specifically is to A) work as a general farm intern (planting, weeding, harvesting, etc) and B) to work as one of the two marketing interns that head up farmers market stands that sell produce on both the Minneapolis campus and St. Paul campus portions of the UMN-Twin Cities campus. Our market stands officially start up after July 4th and I'm so excited to start that portion of my internship. The other great part about being an intern is the 10ft by 12ft plot that I have to do whatever I want with. Currently, it only has two brassicas and three sweet pepper plants in it, but eventually it'll have zuchetta, zucchini, 8 different varieties of tomatoes, salad greens and possibly bean plants as well. I'll have more on that later.

The plot is looking a bit barren at the moment but that'll change within a week or so!
In the meantime, if you want to look in on what the farm is up to, you can find them on Facebook here or follow their blog here.