The organic garden is the original site of the garden program. This site 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. The site was procured with help from Physical Plant and support from the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association.
The site has a stocked tool shed, perimeter fence, a well with pump and cistern to water and is home to an organically managed permanent bed system with a rich organic soil horizon.
The site was able to rest during the 2016 growing season while the garden crew focused on launching the permaculture site. It remained in cover crop: a rye/vetch combination through the winter and spring and buckwheat in the summer.
Check out the interactive campus map for the organic garden’s location here.
The permaculture site has a long history of growing. In the 80’s and early 90’s it was home to the Hunger Gardens and a tree nursery for the landscaping trees found around campus. In 2015, it saw a resurgence of student interest and energy as the permaculture site of the Garden Program blossomed.
Today, the permaculture site is home to pollinator gardens, vegetable production, a fruit and berry orchard, a 26 x 72-foot hoop house and a beautiful wash station. The summer of 2016 was the first true growing season at the site and the soil provided resilient fertility, the hoop house provided 90 pounds of salad greens in the early season, beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes in the height of the growing season and promises sweet potatoes, herbs and late season greens for the fall.
Students who engage with the Garden Program practice and study today’s best practices in small scale, sustainable agriculture. The gardens are cultivated under low-till standards often with hand tools and rarely with a small tiller. The annual vegetable production is done in permanent, deep raised beds and crops are spaced intensively. Cover crop, crop rotation and companion planting ensure soil fertility and are crucial to disease and pest prevention. The orchard is intercropped with nitrogen fixing species and is modeled after an agroforest system.
The permaculture site has undergone intensive development over the 2015/2016 academic year. There truly is no way to describe all that happens down there. One must experience it. Check out the events and open garden hours for opportunities to visit the site.
Check out the interactive campus map for the permaculture site’s location here.