Saint Michael's College Organic Garden
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 2013 Growing Season!
The Organic Garden program has come leaps and bounds over the past five years. Our focus on healthy soil-healthy bodies has really instructed us on how the program is run. An interest in learning how to sustainably grow your own food has become increasingly clear among the staff, faculty and especially the students on campus. This past semester, more than half of the seniors in our Environmental Studies program had concentrations that dealt with sustainable agriculture, organic gardening and local foods. Having a space such as the Organic Garden provides our community with hands on experience to put what they learn in the classroom into action.
This year we utilized the Biology Department's greenhouse as well as a grow cart to start some of our seeds over the winter. We started all of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, cantaloupe, watermellon, and Broccoli. We also doubled the amount of garlic we planted as it did so well last year. Just as we've done the previous seasons, 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 in addition to some mini hoop houses to add a little extra heat to those veggies that like it hot.
This season, we are spending a lot of time at the start focusing on preventative maintenance: weeds and pests. We are continuing our method of companion planting to help deter certain pests but also utilizing row covers and insect netting to keep the pests off our veggies. We've also put black plastic around the perimeter of our garden to keep the weeds/habitat of pests down as well as a solar powere electric fence to keep certain pests out. Also, we've left our winter cover crop of winter rye in the walking pathways of hte garden to see if it keeps the weeds down in addition to adding nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
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. Money from the Farm Stands goes directly to fund next summer's Organic Garden Intern. 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). Make sure you have subscribed to the Sustainability List-serv in order to get these farm stand notices
Going in to its fifth 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 2013
The garden is lucky to have three outstanding gardeners for this summer: OG Intern Michael Carlin '13 and OG Crew Members Piper Krabenhoft '14 and Morgan Jenkins '15.
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
- Alan Dickinson
- Alan Sutton
- the Environmental Studies and Biology Departments
- Peter Hope
- all of our amazing volunteers and donors
- the Gardeners Mike, Piper and Morgan
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) Lynch, SMC Sustainability Coordinator and Organic Garden Program Manager at email@example.com 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
Did You Know?
Community gardens (between 25 and 400 square feet) reduce the carbon footprint by 90 lbs of carbon dioxide a year.
Lawn and garden chemicals add 730 lbs to one's carbon footprint year. Decide to grow your lawn/garden without these chemicals, there are a lot of eco-friendly solutions for a healthy, vibrant lawn.
Grow your own vegetables and reduce your carbon footprint by 40 lbs a year!
Become a locavore (eat locally produced/grown food). By eating localy you're not just getting food of a higher quality, you're also supporting your local farmers and producers. While at the same time the fuel costs and emissions of transportation are virtually cut out, which can add up to a total carbon savings of 5,000 lbs a year, just by having local food once a week!
from "The Environmental Equation," by Alex Shimo-Barry, 2008