Green thumbs needed to grow Brock Community Garden

In addition to plants, the University is hopeful interest will grow in the Brock Community Garden.

Brock’s grounds crew is busy tilling the soil, creating new grass aisles and enlarging the 12 garden plots located beside the entrance of the Zone 2 parking lot near Theal House.

University staff, faculty and students looking to cultivate their green thumb are invited to use one of several free garden plots, assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Six plots are available, with six already claimed. The Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care will use two plots for experiential learning; Biological Sciences Professor Liette Vasseur’s research team will use three plots to test different cover crops — plants grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil; and Brock employee Alison Innes (MA ’13) plans to tend one plot for her personal vegetable garden.

Before learning about the community plots last year, Innes, the social media co-ordinator for the Faculty of Humanities, considered herself a ‘gardener without a garden’ and often resorted to container gardening in her apartment complex.

“It’s just wonderful to have space to grow things,” she said of the University’s communal greenspace. “It’s easy to stop by the plot at the end of the day and pick some fresh veggies to take home for supper.”

Last year, Innes grew radishes, lettuce, carrots, chard, cucumber, zucchini, onions, beans and garlic. This year, she looks forward to adding potatoes and trying some heirloom varieties of vegetables such as purple beans. She also has an assortment of herbs and pollinator plants.

Unfortunately, butterflies and bees aren’t the only animals the plants attract.

“I joke that the deer and bunnies on campus are really well fed,” she said. “They got all my sunflowers and most of my beans last year. It takes a little creativity to discourage them from munching, but that’s the case wherever you garden.”

Garden plots are expected to be ready for use after Tuesday, May 22. Water will be available near the garden as well as some tools for sharing. Pesticides are not permitted and annual and non-invasive plants are preferred.

“I can’t wait to get started,” said Innes. “I find working in the garden really calming and meditative. I like to garden in the evening when it’s a bit cooler and will sometimes see wildlife and birds.”

Innes encourages first-time gardeners to consider getting a plot.

“Try it. It’s not as difficult as it might seem, although your garden will need regular care like weeding and watering,” she said. “There are lots of easy-to-grow vegetable like potatoes, beans or summer squash, and lots of great online resources on how to layout your garden. Growing plants from seeds keeps costs down, too.”

Staff, faculty and students interested in claiming a garden plot are asked to contact Grounds Manager John Dick at jdick@brocku.ca

Story originally published in The Brock News.