The Jorgenson Family Garden

By: Joseph Jorgenson

Throughout my life my family has always grown and tended to our family garden. Everyone in the family has always helped out and it is a activity we all enjoy doing. We grow tomatoes, basil, cilantro, red/green peppers, and many different kinds of flowers. My mom would always go pick vegetables from the garden and make a fresh salad or other delicious dishes with the freshest ingredients.

Flower from the Jane Magnolia tree in the Garden

Our family’s garden means so much to our us and is so special to the family. Weather its enjoying a meal directly from Garden or spending Sunday’s planting or picking in the garden. Some of my best memories include picking fresh vegetables, after weeding and tending to the plants , and making a lunch made right from the garden.

Recipes from the garden:

Fresh Caprese Sticks from ( Tomatoes, Basil, mozzarella)

  • Caprese sticks
  • Fresh tomato sauce
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Egg plant-parm
  • Fresh salsa
  • zucchini bread
  • Lavender tea

Family Garden effect on the community and neighborhood:

As we’ve ready many books in class we see a general theme in gardening. That is the sense of community and friendships it brings to everyone around out. My neighbors would come over and help plant vegetables and even take some flowers home. We would share everything we reaped from the garden and the neighbors would do the same. This sense of community built by the garden really strengthened and built a positive relationship Throughout the neighborhood. I believe every community should have a public garden where everyone can enjoy the beauty of it.

Effective planting strategies we use in the garden:

Flower beds from our garden

Some planting strategies we use in the garden is planting bright pollinating flowers right next to the vegetables. Another effective strategy we use is using fertilizer rich mulch on the flower beds to help them grow and retain as much water as they can. Having these certain flowers next to the vegetables for many reasons. Primarily it increases pollination from one bed to another, but also deters unwanted insects from the vegetables as well. In the future we are going to look to build raised beds to better protect the flowers and hold more water for them.

Wrap up:

My family’s garden provides much for than just a place to get vegetables or a pretty sight to look at as you walk by. Although it does provide those things, it also provides a sense of community and a sense of friendship that is carried on with every weed pulled and every delicious vegetable plucked. I believe everyone should start a garden to enjoy the multiple benefits and different ways it helps you and your community!

Summer Time Means Salsa Time

 Written by: Morgan Barker

Have you ever had a garden or something that you take care of regularly? Well my family does, and every year during the summer my stepdad makes the best salsa. He grows his own tomatoes, jalapeños, onions, cilantro, and other plants to make the best tasting salsa that I have ever had along with many other tasty dishes. My stepdad grows tomatoes towards the end of spring, beginning of the summer and they are usually ready around July or August. He is so engaged with his garden that every time a vegetable starts to sprout, he sends it to me and my family. I remember when his onion started to sprout, he was so excited, and I was excited too because I knew that salsa time was about to begin. My favorite part about his salsa is growing the vegetables with him, especially watching the jalapeños grow. It takes about three to four months for them to be ripe. Some of the jalapeños that he plants in our garden are not fully sprouted, however the ones that are we use for our amazing dip. To add a little flavor to our dip my stepdad usually puts a little bit of cilantro to give it that kick. Growing vegetables in my stepdad‘s garden makes me feel somewhat like a chef, because I am making salsa with the ingredients that I grew in our garden. Not many people can actually take the time to grow vegetables or different types of fruit to make something on their own. Usually people just go out and buy salsa or whatever they need to make the salsa and just make it themselves. I think it is more fun and enjoyable for me to grow the ingredients with my step dad and make the salsa from scratch. I think everyone should try to make this recipe from scratch even if you grab a little packet of seeds and watch the vegetables grow within three to four months. It is definitely worth the wait. I believe that everyone can actually do it but it takes time and patience. Try to make your own salsa and see how it comes out! Having a garden in our backyard has really brought my family together. Gardening can be a wonderful way to connect with your family, friends, and other members of your community.

What Effect Does Lavender Have on our Sleep?

By: Jillian Dunn

Lavender is a plant known by so many for its vibrant purple color, and it’s amazing smell. The plant is grown usually outdoors and is fairly easy for a gardener to maintain. However lavender can usually only be found in the hot summer months of June to August due to its strive for the hot dry weather. Lavender can also be grown indoors by anyone who decides to do so, however the plant must stay close to a window for sunlight and overwatering is never good. But how does this plant affect our sleep? For years I was told to use various lavender based products to fall asleep easier and to stay asleep longer, but is there scientific research behind this idea and if so how effective is it? Lavender has been proven to cure insomnia of many who struggle falling asleep. When inhaled the plant works to relax the muscles in the body. The lavender based essential oils include antidepressants and anti-inflammatories causing the person to feel less stressed and more relaxed. However this plant does not only cure insomnia but a variety of other stress disorders as well including depression, anxiety, and nausea. Personally I have used lavender based products for years including pillow mists, and hand lotion. I have seen a difference in not only my sleep cycle but in my stress level the following morning as well. I wake up with a lot more energy to start the morning. Overall lavender has seen to be effective but can affect everyone differently. If you would like to try growing lavender yourself I would definitely recommend it, but on the other hand if gardening is not for you I highly recommend pillow mists which can be found at any local drug store. 


Wong, C. (2020, December 09). The health benefits of lavender essential oil. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

Company, R. (2020, July 27). Can lavender really help you sleep better? Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

Garden Design Magazine. (2020, December 08). Growing lavender, Planting & caring – Buy LAVENDER plants – garden design. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from


Wong, C. (2020, December 09). The health benefits of lavender essential oil. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

Lavender plant Pods. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

Everything Eucalyptus by Amanda N.

Ever since I was little, one of my all-time favorite plants and perfume scents has been eucalyptus. I couldn’t really tell you why, it just always has been a personal favorite of mine! Eucalyptus has been a staple in my household as well as in my college dorm rooms’ for years. My mom taught me a while back to hang the plant on a shower head so whenever the hot water steamed up a bathroom, the infamous scent the plant releases would circulate in the room. Though I have multiple toiletry/skin care products and a few plants hanging in various showers, I realized I didn’t have much knowledge about the plant itself. I decided to do some research about the plant in general as well as find any benefits it offers, and lastly some fun facts!

Pictured above is a “Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree”

For some background, I learned that eucalyptus is a genus that contains many hundreds of species all within the Myrtaceae family. All of the species within the eucalyptus genus do not produce petals, hence their “leafy” appearance. The genus originated primarily in Australia and Tasmania, however they can also be found on nearby islands as well. These trees are also known by the names of “gum trees” and “stringybark trees”. Through further research I found that the oil derived from these plants and tree’s has been used in medical practices (it can be found in some cough syrups and medicines that assist in lowering fevers), aromatherapy practices (a yoga class I used to go to had eucalyptus scented incense), as well as in body lotions, face mists, and various other skincare products. 

Pictured is a common example of what the plant looks like

The plants leaves (dried or fresh) are also commonly used for air fresheners and in medicinal teas! The tree’s themselves grow very fast, and also serve beneficial purposes for the environment. Eucalyptus trees are known to be able to prevent waste water issues, and can prevent the disease Malaria. A random fun fact I stumbled upon at this point in my research was that Koala bears mainly survive off of eating eucalyptus (and dirt too which I found to be kind of funny). 


Overall, eucalyptus serves many different purposes to both humans and nature- some beneficial and some, just harmless. After diving into this general topic, I was able to answer the question I had that inspired me to write about the plant: Is Eucalyptus beneficial to hang in showers? Yes! Though the benefits might not be life-altering, it doesn’t hurt to have a calming and stress relieving scent filtering throughout your bathrooms at home.


Informative articles:

Harrell, Elizabeth, et al. “Useful Eucalyptus: The Many Uses Of Eucalyptus: Everyday Health.”, 

“Eucalyptus.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 


        Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, “Just Fun Facts.” Just Fun Facts | Fun and Interesting Site, 10 Apr. 2021,

Building a Raised Garden Bed

Written by: Eliza Whitfield

This semester, I’ve been taking a couple of food and agriculture-based classes; between that fact and my general love for the great outdoors, I decided that I wanted to grow my vegetables this summer. Feeling extra inspired, I decided to build two raised garden beds at my house in Upstate New York. I have always considered myself to be relatively handy, so I confidently drew up basic design plans for the beds and determined what supplies I would need. I figured I would build an eight-foot by the three-foot bed and a six-foot by the three-foot bed would provide sufficient space to grow a handful of vegetables.

I started my project with seven 2” x 6” x 12’ boards, six 2” x 6” x 8’ boards, and two 4” x 4” x 6’ boards. Using a circular saw I cut the 2” x 6” x 12’ boards; I cut three boards to 6’, three boards to 3’, and one board to 18” increments. I then cut the 4” x 4” x 6’ board into 18” increments.

I lined the boards up and using #9 x 3” outdoor screws,  I drilled two 18” boards against three 8’ boards — in the case of the 6’ bed, I only used one 18” board. I then attached the 4” x 4” ‘s to the ends of the lined boards.

I then added the 2” x 6” x 3’ boards to the other side of the 4” x 4” corner posts. Then repeated the process for the remaining sides of the garden bed.

The final step to completing these beds is: filling them with soil, compost, mulch, and seedling vegetables. I have not done this step yet, I will fill the beds in May once this semester is over and I am able to plant the vegetable seedlings.

I have made sure both beds are located in areas that recieve generous amounts of sunlight to allow the vegetables to grow big and healthy. These beds were very easy to build and through building them I was left feeling very accomplished and eager to produce my own food.

The Secret Garden

Written by Aleda Collins

How To Build A Raised Garden Bed For Cheap - Farmhouse on Boone

I live in a suburban neighborhood with very strict rules about landscape and property use. It is required to get approval from the neighborhood to paint your house, pave your driveway, and even remove potentially dangerous trees! Even worse–there are no gardens allowed! Container plants are great, but I have made it my goal to transform a hidden corner behind the garage into a make-shift ‘raised’ garden bed so I can incorporate companion planting into my practices. Companion planting is placing varieties of plants in a close proximity as to benefit each other throughout their lives. Benefits that come from companion planting include pest control, nutrients, or habitat for helpful critters.

All About Seeds Germination - theseedsmaster

So far, there is a 10 foot by 2 foot patch of land backed up to the house, lined with planks of wood that act as the walls of the garden bed. The walls are about 3 inches tall from the ground, just enough to pass as a raised bed. I have started the germination process with sage, oregano, basil, parsley, sweet mint, white onion chives, potato, and watermelon seeds. All of the herbs will be transplanted to this make-shift garden bed, whereas only one or two watermelon and potato plants will be transplanted and the rest will be given away to family and friends that are able to grow crops on their property. I chose to mainly produce an herb garden because herbs typically don’t grow to be too big, and subtlety is a priority.

Grow Your Own no-FUSS Herb Garden

Basil is said to improve the quality of neighboring herbs, as well as repel flies and mosquitos. Mint also repels mosquitos, aphids, and ants while attracting bees (Dyer, 2021)! The list of beneficial properties of herbs and other crops is endless, but the important thing to remember is to do your research before companion planting because some plants don’t like to leave near each other such as basil and sage. For that reason, they will be on the opposite sides of my herb garden.

Gardening comes in so many forms, and being creative with the space that you have can lead you to a successful harvest. I am eager to see how herbs grow alongside each other compared to in separate containers, and to see if I can get away with my secret garden.

My Mom’s Sunflowers

My mom has always been interested in all things relating to flowers. Every year in the early days of April, she would drive down to our local gardening store and buy a couple bags of soil and an assortment of flowers to plant in our flower bed in front of our house. She loved to plant daffodils, roses, and tulips. She would pick a warm Saturday morning in April and she would spend the whole morning planting her flowers.

While she always loved planting roses, tulips, and daffodils, she always wanted to plant sunflowers. My mom would always run into problems growing sunflowers with squirrels eating them early on or having them blow over from the wind or a storm. The sunflowers never would last the whole season. But my mom has had enough and she was more determined than ever to grow sunflowers to their fullest potential and have them last the whole season.

The type of daffodils my mom would plant every year

Last April, my mom enlisted me to help her grow the sunflowers. With the Covid-19 pandemic at its worst, we both had nothing to do and we can put our full focus on the flower garden. We first worked to space the sunflower seeds about 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep in the bed. We then made sure to water them regularly and monitor their growth. To deter the squirrels from eating them, we found that if we planted thorny or sharp tipped plants around the base of the sunflowers, they will not be a problem. Sure enough, during the whole growing process, we did not see one squirrel attempt to eat our flowers. To keep the sunflowers from blowing over, we used stakes and tied the sunflowers loosely to the stakes which proved to be successful. 

15 Different Types of Sunflowers - Sunflower Varieties To Plant
The type of sunflowers my mother and I were able to plant last April.

In about 3 months, my mom and I were able to grow the sunflowers up to 10 feet and we were able to keep them around without them dying prematurely. This made my mom so happy and it proved to be a very good project during the pandemic.

Jeff Joslyn April 6, 2021

An Unexpected Trip

By Mike Patterson

Gardening is something that I never really thought that I would get into. Looking at flowers and planting have been something that have never really been prevalent in my life. However in taking this class I have started to gain an appreciation for nature and the beauty that plants have and all the different qualities they possess. A couple of years ago I would never even have considered going to visit a garden while on vacation. But this time around that is not the case. This summer I am going to be taking a two week long vacation traveling to different parts of the United States. One of the stops that we are going to is Virginia. I was looking at things to do in Virginia and one thing I stumbled on was the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Photo by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

From the moment I saw the garden I was immediately impressed. It has a classic look but with a modern twist. The garden has a beautiful orchid collection along with a butterfly garden. The garden has a little bit for everyone including art exhibits, live music, and a variety of tours that you can go on. After reading the description of the garden and looking at different photos I was hooked. Visiting the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden became a must on our summer trip to do list. I never would have thought that going to a garden would actually be something that I would want to do on a vacation. Normally I want to go to amusement parks or stay on the beach. Visiting a garden never really crossed my mind. Throughout the past couple of months I have gained a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature and gardening.

Photo by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

I am looking forward to my summer vacation and experiencing the beauty of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. It has a lot to offer people of all ages so I believe that it will be a great experience for our vacation. 

Photo by Don Williamson Photography

🌷 Signs of Spring 🌷

Cheers! Cheers! Spring is here!

By: Kyannah Hernandez

Rising under the avalanche of winter weathers, spring begins to sprout. 

Our community has several signs of spring, whether it be flowers blooming, animals leaving and arriving, or simple sunshine. 

According to Bird Watcher’s Digest, animals and flora to keep an eye out for are Woodcock, Peepers, Juncos, Ducks, Owls, and lastly, Tree and Flower Buds. One main sign would be that distinct spring smell, Bird Watcher’s Digest described the smell of spring as 

”earthy spring smell that the land produces in late February and early March. It’s equal parts rain and soil, grass and ozone, creating a perfume that no amount of chemical wizardry can replicate.”

Bird Watcher’s Digest

Known for its gloomy, showered down days; April is the primary month that introduces warmth in our New England area.

Being born in spring has added a sense of peace in my life. As I walk out into the Merrimack campus, just after 4:00pm- you will witness the geese who do not clean after themselves. You can see them near Austin Hall, by McQuade Library or even spread out around the Sak. 

Spring is a season of peace and tranquility, a truce against the harsh winter and the coming summer. A chance of blurred pasts and new beginnings; spring is beautiful. 

According to the Weather Channel, a common sign of spring would be the nature of:

“flowers start to bloom in parks, gardens and woods.”

Throughout the community, a flower is springing out of the soil; birds are flocking toward the north to take advantage of the increased insect populations. As birds follow food, when winter comes and food options decrease, birds travel back south until the chain commences again. 

Spring is all around us, it can be down the street or in your very own backyard. If you see it, take it in because when spring goes it’ll be a year before we’ll see these marvelous signs once more. 

Remember to Smile as bright as Earth’s Sun and Enjoy Spring!!

Farmer Dave’s CSA

Written by Kaitlyn Foley

Have you ever wished for access to fresh fruits and vegetables straight from a farm instead of the grocery store?  Well, look no further than Farmer Dave’s.  Farmer Dave’s is a farm in Dracut, Massachusetts that grows a variety of vegetables and fruit, and makes bakery items too.  Other than the farm itself, the business can be found at farm stands and in local famer’s markets as well.  Farmer Dave’s operates under a CSA model, which stands for community supported agriculture.  Instead of selling produce to grocery stores, a CSA is a membership that provides individuals with vegetables and fruit, depending on what plan they choose.  Right now, the farm has 2021 bakery shares, 2021 spring shares (an assortment of fruits and vegetables), 2021 summer fruit shares, 2021 summer vegetable shares, and 2021 late fall shares (an assortment of fruits and vegetables).  These “shares” are the different plans the farm offers its members to choose from.  The price of each share depends on what it includes and how long it runs for.  Using a CSA model allows Farmer Dave’s to collect money upfront, which is beneficial because they know how much money they should be able to put back into the farm. Not only does the farm supply their members with fresh locally sourced food; they also provide recipes, produce identification, and vegisodes, which showcase recipes and different ways to cook with the produce, that can be easily accessed on their website under farm resources.  

International interns harvesting spinach in the greenhouse to use for the CSA and their barn market. (picture taken from Farmer Dave’s Facebook)

Joining a CSA is a great way to eat healthy foods, support a local business, and help the environment.  By selling directly to the consumer, the CSA model decreases the amount of travel required, thereby lessening carbon dioxide emissions.  The farm also has reusable crates they package the produce in, which members can home and bring them back at the next pickup. 

Details about the 2021 Summer Vegetable Share 

Example of a share and reusable crate (picture taken from Farmer Dave’s Facebook)
  • It runs for 20 weeks from early June to late October 
  • Individuals are given two options to choose from:
    • A small share can feed one to two adults, or a family with young children, depending on how much they eat. 
    • A regular share can feed two to four adults, also depending on how much they eat. 
  • The shares include a variety of in season vegetables such as:
    • Lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, peppers, sweet corn, eggplant, summer squash, radishes, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, basil, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, onions, garlic, shell beans, green beans, collards, winter squashes, and more.