Reed Trustees Decision on Divestment expected May 2014

A few weeks ago Fossil Free Reed met with the Board of Trustees. Thank you so much to those who were able to attend or sign the petition — your interest and engagement with this issue is almost as important as our actual investments. Demonstrating that this is an issue you care about is crucial if we want the Trustees to take this seriously.

The meeting was a big success. The four trustees who composed the ad hoc committee on divestment brought to us the major questions which concerned the Board in their evaluation of divestment.

While the campaign has had a few opportunities to share their positions on these questions, it was valuable to include more of your voices in the conversation.

We stand by our commitment that divestment from fossil fuel industry is warranted under the conditions set out in Article III of our Investment Responsibility Policy, and that logistical difficulties should not constitute a prohibitive obstacle to divestment. Furthermore, a wealth of financial research suggests that fossil free investments outperform broadly diversified portfolios. Divestment is necessary to bring Reed College in line with its own values and policies and does not constitute a threat to the College’s operating budget.

The Trustees promised to make a public announcement regarding their decision on divestment before the end of the semester, which means we can expect to hear from them any day now. We are truly eager to move forward in the process of making Reed an institution that can stand up for its principles. I am particularly excited to continue conversations about the criteria Reed should use as ethical standards of investment.

With love and rage, for justice,
Happy summer everyone,

Austin Weisgrau
&& Fossil Free Reed

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Spring Herb Spiral Dreams

Spring Herb Spiral Dreams

Please enjoy this picture of the lovely mulched herb spiral, and go on get ye down to sniff at it.

Know that there are multitudinous herbs growing – mint, thyme, fennel, garlic greens, onion greens, red raspberry leaves, rosemary, lavendar – and that it would behoove your body and soul to make tea of them. Behoove.

Tis a good time for planting. Come all ye with desires to grow – there is budget and soil, compost and mulch aplenty. Serious tho – any possible thing – we can do it. Hands – we need your delicate, booky hands. Save your receipts when you buy stuff and get them to me. Hit up this list with ideas or if you want help on a project.

-chromatic flower beds
-a mint/fennel/hop/passionflower/lemonbalm transformation of the grassy slope behind the lower garden…with shrubs along the bottom of that slope

Today we:
-tied up the raspberries
-planted new flats of carrots & stuff
-put more leafy greens in the ground
-weeded, composted and mulched most of the herb spiral
-fell in love

Here are some dreams, let’s sublimate them into realities:
-family friendly community day in the garden on Saturday 5/11, after reading week
-bbq & party in the garden Thursday of reading week

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April 20, 2014 · 6:22 pm

Everyone Likes Volunteers (especially edible ones)

I’m not promoting the cannibalism of our much-loved people shaped volunteers! There are some tasty plant volunteers popping up in the garden. Here’s a few:

Borage (a.k.a Starflower)


A beautiful and prolific plant that attracts beneficial insects. Bees love it! The flowers are edible and the taste reminds me of cucumbers.



Long and leggy supermodel arugula plants with lovely white flowers are popping up everywhere in the lower raised beds.



With a leave style like a lily pad, nasturti-yums have peppery edible leaves and flowers. Pollinators love ’em. The flowers are often orange, yellow and red in color.

Eat up those volunteers! 😉

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Pea Seeds Rejoice!

Axcelle came up with this great idea: when the peas are planted in tires, they are off the gopher radar. The gophers did their seed nomming drive by and didn’t notice the seeds.




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Gophers ate our Pea Seeds


After some investigation, a gopher tunnel was discovered in the ground underneath where we planted seeds. Sneaky!

Here is one suggestion for warding off gophers from this article:
Use a repellent. Not as effective as a gopher trap, but worth a shot! In a glass jar mix 1/2 cup of Castor oil, 1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce and a few drops of peppermint oil with about a cup of water. Shake well to create an emulsion. Dip cotton balls into the mixture and stick the balls into active gopher holes near plants that you want to protect. You can also put the mixture in a spray bottle and mist away.

Another option is dog poop. Use gloves! Also, since most animals are deterred by human scent, we could try the good old technique of dumping diluted human urine around problem areas.

There are poisons available, but be conscious to choose a poison that will not kill an animal that happens to eat the gopher. Safer poisons use a bait laced with anticoagulants (causes gopher to bleed internally).



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Spiraling Keyhole Mandala and Tire Planters, Oh My!

Austin, Warren and Axcelle have created a beautiful and creative new area of the garden! The spiraling keyhole mandala and curving beds offer more space for planting and less paths. A planter created from tires holds strawberries and gathers more heat for nearby tomato plants. Newspaper and straw were used to mulch and prevent opportunistic plants from growing, and cardboard helps block light from undesirable grass and marks paths.

Currently there strawberries, tomatoes, mint, parsley, chives, sage and more herbs planted. Nearby are mature raspberry plants. We are hoping to add sunflowers, nasturtiums and much more.



Looking gooood!

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Toughening up those Seedlings

This week we noticed our little seedlings in the greenhouse are ready to make it out into the great outdoors!  Also, in some of our raised beds where we used scattering seeds as a method of distributing plants, some of the seedlings are becoming a little crowded. Below is a little information on handling these garden topics.


Transplanting  Seedlings
Seeds that are planted too close together need to be thinned out once seedlings get their true leaves, or the 2nd set of leaves. First, thoroughly water the plants. To separate the seedlings use a stick (a pointed stick works well) to push into the ground next to the plant and pry the soil up gently. The most delicate part of a seedling is the stem so use gentle hands or hold onto a leaf. Re-plant seedlings in a new, spacious area. Plant no deeper than where the original soil line was. Water gently and thoroughly.


Hardening off Seedlings
Direct sun exposure, cold nights and wind can damage or kill tender seedlings that have been started indoors or in a greenhouse. Young plants should be introduced gradually to the outdoor environment. This can be done in a couple of different ways. The following information on hardening off is from Norma Rossel, Quality Assurance Manager for Johnny’s Selected Seeds:

• On a mild day, start with 2-3 hours of sun in a sheltered location.
• Protect seedlings from strong sun, wind, hard rain and cool temperatures.
• Increase exposure to sunlight a few additional hours at a time, but do not allow seedlings to wilt.
• Keep an eye on the weather and listen to the low temperature prediction. If temperatures below the crop’s minimum are forecast, bring the plants back into the greenhouse or cover with a cold frame.
• Know the relative hardiness of various crops. Onions and brassicas (i.e. cabbage, broccoli, etc.) are hardy and can take temperatures in the 40’s. After they are well hardened off, light frosts won’t hurt them. Warm-season crops such as eggplants, melons and cukes prefer warm nights, at least 60° F. They can’t stand below-freezing temperatures, even after hardening off
• Gradually increase exposure over a 7 to 10 day period.

From Growing Gardens Website:
Recommended Minimum Temperatures (for seedlings)
40° F.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage, onions, leeks, parsley

45° F.
Celery, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, endive

50° F.
Squash, pumpkin, sweet corn

60° F.
Cucumber, muskmelon

65° F.
Basil, tomatoes, peppers


In the lower beds, I have gone through and spaced out most of the collards and mustards that were clustered together. In the next week, I see that hardening off (and planting) the rest of our greenhouse seedings is a priority, so Axcelle and I are leaving the greenhouse front flap open. It’s getting hot in that hothouse!

Happy gardening and last week of classes!


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