So what is going to happen to the garden since summer is practically here? Students like Matthew Bush and Camille Perrett will be in Tuscaloosa to help take care of the garden. Students are discussing having one big potluck with all the delicious food we have growing. Let it be known, the food will not go to waste, but more importantly the garden will be taken care of even though there will not be as many students in town as during the school year.
There are all ready plans for what we will plant (crop rotation!) and do in the garden when we come back in the fall and I cannot wait until then. I hope next year we figure out a way to get the community and students more involved with the garden. It has been a tremendous success since it started a few years ago and each year a few more students become involved. It is important to try and get as many students involved if we want the garden to keep going. I hope we can also figure out a better way to advertise for the garden and the importance of it. Hopefully more students will gain an interest in gardening and sustainability.
Doing this independent study has been an eye-opening experience for me. I knew very little about gardening and sustainability before doing this study. I have learned many valuable things like why I start seeds in the greenhouse or which bugs are good for your garden and why. One small thing I learned is the importance of labeling your plants! Keep organized and realize which plants are which. I think one of the most fascinating things I have learned is about crop rotation and how certain plants restore nutrients in the ground that other plants take and vice versa. I have learned about the frost season and the dangers it can cause on plants, especially with this past winter.
From the readings I have learned more about the Slow Food Movement and the importance of knowing where my food comes from and what is in it. I have also learned new sustainable concepts and methods we could use in the garden.
I was glad we were also able to lead field trips at the garden. I was able to teach younger kids what I had just learned within the past few months! I was so excited to see them get to experience what I am learning from working in the garden.
Most importantly, I have gained a deeper respect, understanding, and concern for the environment. Before the study, I would say that I was all for “going green”, but did not know much about how I could do this or why it was so important. Plants are living organisms just like we are, and they deserve to be treated well. Without them, we would not be here.
Working in the garden this semester, I feel I have responsibility to take care of the it and make sure it is constantly being attended to. I plan on coming back in the Fall and helping with the garden and Students for Sustainability. I cannot wait to see what the garden has in store for the upcoming years!