The Organic Gardening Tutorial, which focuses on permaculture and gardening in the Old Caples Garden wrapped up this week with student presentations and a look at the fruits of its labor as the semester draws to an end.
“We used heirloom seeds [that are] specifically best for southern growing, and that worked really well, producing lovely tomato, eggplant and watermelon plants,” Garden Tutorial TA and thesis student Hannah Gilbert said. “These seeds were bought with Green Fee money along with a seed saving plan, so it was great to get that started.”
The gardeners created a vegetable garden from the ground up. Cultivated seeds sprouted into the now burgeoning variety of edible plants. Among other successful harvestable plants were cauliflower, cucumber, cabbage, black beans, collards and carrots. Students studied the best method to lay out the garden and researched companion planting to maximize garden utility, all leading up to a successful and fruitful harvest.
Students each chose a gardening project, which could range from building lizard houses to attract critters, installing a WiFi-powered drip irrigation system, or creating a cinderblock succulent garden. Many of these projects are in the garden now alongside past gardening projects such as hugelkultur – a permaculture method which utilizes a bed of rotting wood to eliminate the need to water.
“This was the strongest set of projects since I’ve been TA’ing Gardening Tutorial,” Gilbert said. “I loved everyone’s creativity and research. The range was fantastic, and I liked how many of the topics related to permaculture, which has been an increasing focus in the garden.”