From strawberries to blueberries and asparagus to rhubarb the community garden is the proud home of many different fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers. An icebreaker for new students and a place of tranquility for local gardeners, the community garden has lots to offer to the university and local community
In 2009, a student in environmental science developed the community garden as a fourth-year project. Now the 500-square foot community garden is thriving as an essential part of the campus and the surrounding area. Consisting of 50 plots and approximately 75 gardeners, it acts as a place for the public, faculty, staff and students to experiment and share gardening ideas. For $15, community members can rent a plot to plant their own personal garden. With tools, compost, mulch and some seeds and transplants available, gardeners are only responsible for providing their own organic seeds and enthusiasm.
Community garden co-ordinator Shanthanu Krishnakumar is a fourth-year environmental science student majoring in landscape horticulture. He is responsible for co-ordinating the rented plots and cleaning the garden in the spring, seed orders and other general issues or inquiries. Shanthanu also tends to his own plot in the community garden.
“I have planted green onions, red onions, peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant and watermelons,” Shanthanu said. “A little of everything.”
Co-ordinating the garden is no small task for Shanthanu. Last year a fence was constructed to keep deer out. This year the fence was completed, doors were constructed at both entrances to the garden, new plot signs were installed and flowers were planted to beatify the entrance. An irrigation system was also installed to facilitate easy watering.
Shanthanu stressed that maintaining the garden is a team effort. Jeff Morton (senior instructor, landscape architecture and horticulture) has acted as a mentor for developing the garden. Chris Nelson (senior instructor, engineering), Darwin Carr (botanical garden manager), Krista MacLeod (greenhouse manager), crops unit staff, botanical garden staff, and members have all played a major role in maintaining the garden and helped made it a success.
The community garden will be open during an open house on July 23 and will host a variety of activities for people of all ages. There will be a tour explaining the benefits of growing your own food, kits for growing your own vegetables for children and an activity on planting garlic. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
“We want to highlight the community garden this year during Community Open House,” Shanthanu explains. “Not many people know it even exists. The garden is an integral part of our campus as most of the faculty, staff and students who stay over the summer grow their food here and we really feel a sense of community and friendship.”
Emma Geldart is a public relations student working as the communications and marketing assistant at Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.