The Saint Michael's College Organic Garden was established in the summer of 2008 thanks to a group of students who recognized the importance of having space for the campus community to practice the art of organic gardening. With initial help from Physical Plant and support from the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association, the SMC Organic Garden has become a fully established program on campus and is now under the Office of Sustainability.
What's happening for the 2011 Growing Season!
This year we utilized the Biology Department's greenhouse to its fullest capacity! We started all of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, melons, celery and Brussels sprouts by seeds in the greenhouse. We are also experimenting with garlic this year (we planted bulbs last Fall and have been delighted to see them come up this spring!). Just as last year, we are continuing our row systems of planting which entails 4' beds and 3' walkways in an alternating patter across our entire ¼ acre main garden plot. Each row is broken down into sections of different vegetables and we will integrate herbs and flowers throughout each row based on companion relationships and aesthetic delights! The rows are intended to cut down on soil compaction because we will be able to reach across each 4' row to tend and harvest the vegetables without ever having to step in them. Last year our experimentation with black plastic row covers (to heat up the soil and keep weeds down) worked fantastically! So, we are utilizing the black plastic even more this summer.
While we experimented with companion planting last season, we are really going to put it to the test this year with a focus on planting companions to deter pests! We hope it works, we had enough little bugs in the garden last season.
Campus Farm Stands & Intervale Foodhub CSA shares for students, staff and faculty!
We have weekly farm stands on campus to share our veggies, flowers and herbs with the rest of the community. Be on the look out for e-mails announcing the farm stands (estimated to start mid-end July through to the fall (usually mid-October)
Going in to its third year is our partnership with the Intervale Foodhub. Faculty, staff and students can buy a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share and it gets delivered right to campus each week! (summer and winter shares). To learn more, check out the Intervale Foodhub.
The Amazing Gardeners for 2011
The garden is lucky to have two outstanding gardeners for this summer: Brian Ahern (SMC '11) and Erika Bodin (SMC '13). This is Erika’s second season in the garden; she is an Environmental Studies major with a minor in anthropology. Brian is this summer’s Intern. Although it's his first year working in the garden, he was a regular volunteer last season and makes the best Pesto (from the garden’s basil of course)!
The garden would not have happened if it had not been for the tremendous support from our amazing community members:
- President John Neuhauser
- Vice President of Academic Affairs Karen Talentino
- Father Mike Cronogue and the Edmundites
- MOVE's Outdoor Volunteer Efforts
- Charlie Krumholtz (community member)
- Alan Dickinson
- Alan Sutton
- The Environmental Council
- the Environmental Studies and Biology Department
- Peter Hope
- all of our amazing volunteers and donors
- the Gardeners Erika and Brian
- Heidi Lynch for all the knowledge you passed on to us
If you have any questions about the garden (or want a tour and don't know how to find it), please feel free to contact me, Heather Ellis (Sustainability Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802.654.2733.
Hope to see you down at the Garden soon!
Local Garden/Agriculture Links of Interest:
Friends of Burlington Gardens - Vermont Community Garden Network
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
Vermont Master Gardener Program
The Center for an Agricultural Economy