Seedlings and Sweet Potato Slips for Spring

A couple weeks ago, Jennifer and I planted seeds in 8×4 trays. The seedlings are doing well and almost ready to plant them in the communal rows! We have at least one tray each of arugula, bok choy, eggplant, cilantro, lettuce, and two trays each of tomatoes, peppers, and kale.

Meanwhile, I experimented at home with growing sweet potato slips. I started off with a small Korean sweet potato I had saved from winter time, and I bought 3 types of organic sweet potatoes from Whole Foods for variety.


From left to right, I had the Korean, Japanese, Jewel, and Garnet. The Jewel and Garnet were both Californian varieties. I labeled the Korean one non-organic because I can’t remember if it is or not, and I bought it at a store that doesn’t sell a ton of organic produce. Supposedly, organic sweet potatoes would work better as they shouldn’t be sprayed with anything to stop the potato from producing sprouts.


After several weeks, the Koreans did best by far, with four sprouts total coming up (I added an extra Japanese potato and threw out one of the halves because it started molding already).

So it has now been about a month since I placed these halves in water, and we are down to: two halves of a Korean potato with four sprouts, each a couple inches long, and one tiny sprout just coming up; two halves of a Garnet potato with three good looking sprouts less than an inch long; one half of a Jewel potato with one small sprout less than an inch long. I quarantined the one Garnet potato which is molding like crazy. Much less than the 16-20 sprouts I was aiming for, but hopefully they will do well in our garden anyway!

Thanks for reading,

– Rica


Garden Lessons at the BJP

This summer, we had the pleasure of hosting two groups of potential gardeners at The Blue Jay’s Perch. We shared fun and informative afternoons with two groups of 2nd to 4th graders from summer camps at the Waverly YMCA.

It was great to see so many kids with already established interests in the plants, gardening and the varieties and fruits and vegetables they encounter regularly. A tour of the garden brought out sounds of recognition (cucumbers! strawberries!) mixed with fear (bees!); we are delighted to teach and learn from kids so eager get involved in the activities we had chosen for our sessions. We used illustrated posters to accompany our hands-on learning in the garden; needless to say we had many helpful volunteers willing to hold up the posters!


During our first session we covered the six major plant parts and each of their functions. The scavenger hunt that followed allowed several of the kids to identify and draw the plant parts they had learned. Next came a brief lesson on two kinds of seeded plants and the different methods of seed dispersal. Having learned about seeds, we moved on to a planting activity. We planted tomato, cucumber seedlings, beans and carrot seeds. We began our second session with the topic of harvesting through recalling familiar crops harvested in each season here in Maryland. We then learned about some important animal species often found in soil that contribute to the biodiversity and overall health of the soil. The kids were amazed by the fact that earthworms have five “hearts.” We then spoke about the composition of soil, its purpose, and how the term “soil” differs from “dirt.” We showed them how they can use a mason jar to measure the ratio of silt, salt, and clay in their soil and reminded them of the importance of organic matter in gardening/farming soil.

It was very hot both days, so drinks were in order: lemonade that we infused with mint harvested from the garden. Some kids felt a little uncomfortable about mint leaves floating around in their cups, but for the most part, they enjoyed the taste. So much so that just about the whole group wanted to harvest some mint themselves to take home to their family. The kids also enjoyed a tasting of green onions and (more) mint. The chocolate mint was a hit! Some had never tasted green onion and were pleasantly surprised. A couple even took some home with them.

Our sessions concluded with everyone helping to water the plots. Once the hose came out, many of the kids took advantage by letting themselves get soaked, making for a happy and cool closure to our lessons.


-Hans, Amélie, and Raychel

7th Annual Race to Embrace Independence 5K Run and Walk!

Our summer season has been fantastic thus far. In the past month we have harvested: cherries, strawberries, dinosaur kale, lettuce, beets, radishes, snow peas, and various herb! We have established weekly volunteer days on Saturdays from 10 am to noon and the turnout has been excellent. The involvement from community members this season has been especially strong.

One of our community partners is Marian House. Marian House offers high quality rehabilitative services and housing to women and their children. Marian House provides these women with the support and resources necessary to achieve their goals and become fully independent.

To help fund its initiatives, Marian House will be hosting the 7th Annual Race to Embrace Independence 5K Run and Walk on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 at Lake Montebello in Baltimore. Please mark your calendars and join the women of Marian House for this fun event! Every dollar raised helps Marian House women and their families rebuild their lives.

Registration is OPEN NOW! Visit for more information. 


Spring Kick-off Party: Take IV

“Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships.”        –Beverly Rose Hopper


Last weekend, as we kicked off one of my favorite events of the year (one which I will be particularly sad to leave behind as I move away from Baltimore this summer), it occurred to me how much this space has evolved over the years.

Delicious food, chill tunes, hoola hooping? Of course, I cannot imagine a better way of spending a sunny Sunday afternoon (especially given that some of our previous openings were notably marked by quite cold/rainy/windy weather). However, as I watched the ~70 students, staff, and community members enjoy the musical acts performed by Sunny Suntharanund, Melissa Delgado, Bea So, Joshua Langfus, and Margo Heston; potluck picnic (all natural hot dogs/brats, SSB+J sandwiches, as well as an assortment of salads, veggie dishes, biscuits, dumplings, and even some of Dale’s hot sauce made with peppers from our own garden!); and the other fun festivities, I was moved more by how we’ve truly transformed this place from a garden into a community.

Four years ago, when we celebrated our first opening, we barely knew one another. Sure, we came together to eat and chat, but we were strangers in nearly every way possible. Students might have known one another from classes or clubs, staff from their own department, or community members from their respective groups. Now, after having spent countless hours together planting, weeding, turning compost (or sitting in a meeting planning to do all of these), I know more about many of my garden buddies than I do about some of my closest friends. Transformative childhood memories, job stresses and successes, major life decisions, political opinions, favorite recipes – we’ve shared it all.


And I think that’s what makes this garden such an integral part of my life (and, I presume, the lives of many of the others who return each and every year). It’s wonderful to grow some of one’s own food, but the relationships I’ve built up over the years have proven so much more fruitful. College (and one’s 20’s in general) is, by nature, a period of transience. Friends are coming and going every semester. Life plans (if existent at all) are constantly in flux. It seems like one has to move at least once a year. Having such a tight BJP community across generations, neighborhoods, disciplines, and backgrounds keeps me grounded in what really matters in life – deep conversations, helping hands, good food, a sense of belonging.

While it’s bittersweet knowing that this was my last opening celebration (knock on wood, as I did say this once before), I will treasure these memories forever, and can’t wait to hear about all the exciting new ventures to come from the BJP in the future!

All the best,


JHU Homewood CSA: Fall 2015

Get fresh, organic vegetables weekly and help support a local farm: Join our JHU Homewood CSA!

The second annual CSA @Homewood kicks off this June! Continue reading to learn more and signup to become a member today.


What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s like a produce subscription service. Members sign up for a share and then get weekly deliveries of fresh, delicious produce at a designated pickup site. This CSA includes about 8 items/week of seasonal, local produce which is chosen by the farm. One share will typically feed a 3-4 person household every week. Click here for FAQ.

The Farm

Our CSA partners with One Straw Farm, the largest organic farm in Maryland. Drew and Joan Norman have lovingly tended One Straw Farm since 1983. They aim to provide their CSA members with the highest quality Food Alliance Certified produce. One Straw is located in White Hall, MD about 40 miles North of Baltimore City.

Why Join?

By joining this CSA you will be: supporting local farmers and the local economy, protecting the environment, improving your health, and expanding your diet. With a pickup site at the Homewood campus, this CSA is an affordable, convenient way for Hopkins affiliates to buy directly from a farm. Buying through a CSA ensures freshness and diversity as produce is harvested at its seasonal peak.


Where: Weekly Pickups will be at Charles St. Market

When: Mondays 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Duration: June 8th to November 16th

Price: $27/week

(See the signup link below for the current price)

8+ items/week

A typical share: 1 bunch of red chard, 6 corn, 1 bag of tomatillo, 1 red cabbage, 6 Japanese eggplant, 5 pimiento, 6 cucumber, Chrysanthemum greens, 1 romaine lettuce. All for only $25!!!

A typical share: 1 bunch of red chard, 6 corn, 1 bag of tomatillo, 1 red cabbage, 6 Japanese eggplant, 5 pimiento, 6 cucumber, Chrysanthemum greens, 1 romaine lettuce. All for only $27!!!

 Check out this video to see a CSA in action at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.


  • Select “Full Share 2015” for membership type
  • Select “JHU Homewood” for Pickup Location
  • Complete the rest of the forms
  • Enjoy your first delivery of fresh produce the following Monday!

Still have questions? Email

YOU ARE INVITED: 4th Annual Spring Kickoff Party!

Join us Sunday, May 3 from 12-2pm to celebrate Spring and the end of the semester!

Garden spring party 2015

This event is free and op sen to the community! All-natural hot dogs and sunflower seed butter/jelly sandwiches will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish or drink to share for the POTLUCK PICNIC. Please also bring a picnic blanket or chairs.

All plates, napkins, utensils, and cups will be provided. All the material used at the garden party will be compostable, so please do not bring outside materials (such as plastic or paper plates). 

RSVP @ our Facebook event and invite your friends!!!

Don’t know where the BJP is? Check out our Google map location.

Don’t know how to get to the garden? – Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! A group of students and other Hopkins affiliates will be meeting in front of the Subway at 33rd st. (across from Barnes and Nobles) at 11:50 am to walk over to the garden!

Email with any questions or concerns!

Community Green Resource Network: Upcoming Events!

Cultivate Baltimore, a urban agriculture workshop series, is coming up in April!

Details and registration at
Check out these workshops:
1. Farming In The City: Land, laws, and community

Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 – 9 pm [FB link]

Clifton Mansion, 2701 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, 21213

Featuring Abby Cocke of the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability, Becky Witt of the Community Law Center, and Gail Taylor of Three Part Harmony Farm.

2. Farming Concrete: The science and practice of growing in urban soils
Wednesday, April 15, 6:30 – 9 pm [FB link]
Clifton Mansion, 2701 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, 21213
Featuring Cheryl Carmona of Boone St. Farm, Rufus Cheney of the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, and Brent Kim of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
3. Cultivate Baltimore! Hands-On Urban Agriculture Workshops
Saturday, April 25, 10 am – 4 pm. [FB link]
Real Food Farm, 2801 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, 21213
Hands-on agriculture training for backyard growers, community gardeners, and urban market farmers. Workshops include: container gardening, flower farming, keeping produce fresh after harvest, gardening with youth, from seed to transplant, enriching your soil with compost.