by Chris Stephens —
If you have a keen interest in gardening but don’t have your own or don’t know, you can get your gardening gloves dirty at the Garden Commons meeting, Workday and Harvest outside the Cultural Center on Halloween at 4 p.m.
The Garden Commons has a greenhouse with student-built solar panels and captures rainwater from the roof. It composts to generate organic fertilizer in rolling bins of discarded food scraps. It also features handicapped-accessible raised beds and in-ground beds, set amid several different fruit trees, bike parking and outdoor classroom space.
At Workday and Harvest, participants will learn about gardening, and immediately get an opportunity to work. Students played a key role in establishing the foundation of the garden four years ago, and it has been a campus staple ever since.
Project coordinator Tamara Russell said, “There will be some manual labor such as watering, pulling weeds, clearing certain spaces out preparing for winter, planting for what we want to install in the spring. We have a bed that is full of sweet potatoes, so we’re trying to get as many folks as we can who are interested in digging those out, and passing those around.”
You can bring your own crops to this workday as well as future workdays, but if you don’t have any, don’t let that stop you from contributing, as plants and crops will be available on site. However, it is requested that you come only on specified workdays to work on the garden.
“We would prefer if people came during the specified workdays so we can get a gauge on what is where, so when people come there aren’t just different plants everywhere,” said Russell. “We would prefer if we all did that as a group, but we are open to people bringing their own things. There are some folks who have brought things from their home that may not have survived, may not be doing as well, or they may have had to transition from one space to another and just don’t have a place for their plants and crops anymore. People do transition things here, and we strategically put them in a place so that they are successful.”
The harvest is very crucial because you need to pick the mature crops from the garden at the end of each growing season. This is necessary to lay the foundation of new crops that go through the same cycle as the previous batch.
“There are herbs, tomatoes out there, sweet potatoes, there’s also some fall plants that we installed during Welcome Week at the SOUL event. I’m sure that some of those will be ready, and some of those are beans, squash, and gourds,” said Russell.