Grow Your Best Basil

Basil is not only delicious, but easy to grow and manage with the correct approach. Over the weekend, I produced this short video of my Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) co-worker Meredith Epstein giving expert advice on proper plant care. She is the Sustainable Agriculture lecturer and advisor at the IAA, and also manages the University of Maryland’s Community Learning Garden. Meredith is also the one who chose basil as the topic for our first how-to video; I think she made a great decision!

Making a how-to video was a great way for me to get back into using iMovie. I had a lot of fun producing this using only my iPhone and the iMovie app. I found that the app doesn’t have all of the features from the desktop version, but still enough.

I have mentioned in previous posts that the Community Learning Garden is one of my favorite spots on campus. I hope that after watching this video, you will see why I love to spend time there.

Please do enjoy le film. Get ready to grow some expert-level basil!

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Green Tomato Chutney

Near the end of fall, my friends Meredith and Hardeep showed me how to prepare and can green tomato chutney. Over the course of a day, we prepped, boiled, and heat-sealed enough chutney to send each of us home with over 20 jars apiece!

This chutney is special because all of the green tomatoes were harvested from the UMD Community Learning Garden, which Meredith manages. Hardeep and I were regular volunteers this summer. We had at least 100 green tomatoes remaining at the end of the summer and they all went into this recipe, along with locally-grown apples purchased from the Olney Farmers & Artists Market.

Everything else came from the Burtonsville Giant. Sorry.

Because the tiny jars are so giftable, I decided to design a Christmas-themed label. A 2″ diameter sticker nests perfectly on a standard-sized Ball jar lid, so I took advantage of Sticker Mule’s 10 stickers for $9 deal.

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And then, my super-Seinfeld-fan-friend Hardeep requested a Festivus sticker. It seemed apropos. Hardeep requested a square 2×2″ design so that he could print at home and add in a custom title. He is a regular hot sauce connoisseur and has a need to label his many varieties of homemade hot sauce.

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The way we cooked, canned, designed, and labeled together feels so rewarding! Thank you, Meredith and Hardeep for sharing your canning expertise and design feedback with me. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to all!

 

“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way…”

-Frank Costanza, The Origins of Festivus

UMD Community Learning Garden Banner

Check out our crew in front of the fancy new UMD Community Learning Garden banner! We are but a few of many burgeoning gardeners who meet at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays to learn about sustainable food production and help tend the raised beds and terraced plots.

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At the official hoisting of the garden banner last Monday. I ended up in the middle of the photo. This is awesome.

Sustainable Ag advisor Meredith Epstein (middle, in teal) manages the garden and leads the work hours. When I started working with Meredith at the Institute of Applied Agriculture, the garden quickly became one of my favorite spots on campus. This summer I grew soybeans, pole beans, green peppers, tomatoes, kale, thyme, sage, and basil in my garden plot.

I was excited when Meredith asked me to design a 12×4′ banner for the garden. I had previously made a sticker design for the garden club, so I took this as an opportunity to build consistent branding by pairing the same colors and fonts with the provided terp/carrot logo.

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At 12′ wide by 4′ tall, if you can’t see the banner to find the garden I feel bad for you.

The UMD Community Learning Garden is one of four campus gardens at the University of Maryland, College Park. Formerly called the Public Health Garden, it is nestled between the School of Public Health and the Eppley Recreation Center. You should definitely follow on Instagram.

I Went Viral

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Last fall, my co-worker Larisa Cioaca presented me with some statistics about Maryland agriculture and a request to create an infographic. Larisa is the Agricultural Business Management lecturer and advisor at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), where I am the Student Services Coordinator and Graphic Designer.

The project was shelved for a little while, but I eventually put it together and posted it on the IAA Facebook page last Friday at 10:00 a.m.

As of right now (11:00 a.m. on Sunday) it has 40 likes and 84 shares. Whaaat? Why wasn’t there this much hype about my Open House post?

I credit Meredith Epstein, lecturer and advisor of the Sustainable Agriculture course of study at the IAA, with the idea of drawing male AND female farmers in the “350,000 Marylanders” block. Because: equality.

I feel so affirmed by my newfound ag peers. I look forward to creating the next infographic for the IAA, Alternative Agriculture in Maryland.

Please feel free to download the infographic from the IAA website for printing and posting in classrooms.

**Update: We are now up to 121 shares! Whaaat?

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