Gerald Hyatt pulled one long stalk of horseradish from the ground. A large plant, it was the first one he planted at UNCG Gardens on McIver Street three years ago. He rooted it, from part of a plant at home.
Now, it’s very productive. Just like the whole garden.
The garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers has 50 plots in the ground and two additional plots (raised off the ground) for those with special needs, says Dr. Susan Andreatta. A co-director of the gardens with Guy Sanders, she notes the garden has contributed to the university’s mission of sustainability.
And it’s a part of many students’ educational experience.
With most of the students away for the summer and the excessive summer rains, the garden was not at its tidiest last week. But with the students’ return and a big community workday approaching, the garden will soon look fantastic.
“Everything’s organic here, too,” says Kevin Deans, Dining Services’ executive director. “No chemicals.”
Hyatt says they did use ivory soap one time as an insect repellent, and cayenne pepper another time.
The volume of the food harvested here is a small fraction of what they use at Moran Commons, Deans explains. “It’s fun for the chefs.” Also, “It’s nice having fresh foods. We put an emphasis on local.”
This garden is as local as it gets.
Hyatt, who’s senior executive chef, and Wilson each work the garden about 2-3 times a week – weeding, watering and harvesting.
Three years ago, they started with two to three plots. Currently they have 10.
Justin Wilson, executive chef, has been using the peppers and eggplants in his stirfry at the Moran Commons on Fridays. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Today they will look over and pick some peppers, tomatoes, beets, eggplants – and several herbs, including purple and green basil. The excessive rain has harmed some yields. “A lot of our tomatoes popped” from too much moisture, Hyatt says.
Some will be on the salad bar. Wilson noted the UNCG Music Camp kids loved the cherry tomatoes.
They start in April, with tilling. And will harvest till it frosts. Hyatt says they will add broccoli and collards as a late season crop. And they rotate their crops, Hyatt explains, to help suppress disease. “We go all-organic out here.”
Interested in the campus’ garden? Some notes of interest:
- The UNCG student Garden Club’s first meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 29, Room 423, Graham from 6-7 p.m.
- Faculty, staff and student organizations can get in touch with Andreatta about plot availability.“We still have a few remaining for fall and spring semesters and then we will revisit it for the summer months – tomato season. We have application forms and more information on the campus garden web site”- http://www.uncg.edu/aas/uncg_gardens/
- You can only work one of these plots if you are part of the class or student group that has the assigned plot, says Andreatta. However, all students, faculty and staff can participate in the garden work days when we working on the larger space and the space in between the plots.
- The garden work days can attract as many as 85 students, as well as faculty and staff.
- Interested in volunteering? The first fall work day will be Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The garden is at 123 McIver Street.
By Mike Harris