Want to plant your own garden but don’t have a place to do it? Still nervous that you don’t really know what you’re doing? The Ecology Center has the answers. Once again this year, the Center will be sponsoring a community organic garden at North Campus. And to get local gardeners underway, the garden will be the site of the “Rite of Spring,” an annual celebration to tell people about gardening, and to have some fun at the same time.
VEGETABLES AND SUNFLOWERS
The organic garden, located at Beal and Glacier Way (behind the Veteran’s Administration Hospital at North Campus), is divided into a large area with individual plots, and a smaller garden for a community co-operative.
“One of the major aims of the garden is to teach people to do it for themselves,” said Barbara Wykes of the Ecology Center. “It’s a great place to learn organic gardening well.”
Many of the people who come out to the garden to work are students and young marrieds who live in rental housing and have no other place to grow vegetables. According to Wykes, the garden draws as many as 200 people out to North Campus each year.
Not everyone who works on the garden is unable to garden at home. Many people come out to learn how. After they’ve learned something about it, Wykes said, “We encourage people to start their own if they can.”
Planning for the garden has been underway since February, when a gardening committee got together at the Ecology Center to begin coordinating the garden.
The committee decided what to plant and where in the community garden, and interviewed people for the position of garden manager. They hired Julie Patterson, whose job it is to show people what to do at the garden, and teach them how if they don’t know about organic gardening already. Julie is at the garden on Saturday’s in the spring and fall, and on a daily basis during the summer. There will also be an assistant manager working with the garden.
People who want to get involved in the organic garden can do so by going out any Saturday this spring and talking to the garden manager, or can call the Ecology Center to find out more about it.
RITE OF SPRING
Spring festivals in the fields to start the growing season right are an ancient tradition, and the organic garden at North Campus is no exception. While it may lack the priestesses and religious rites of old, the annual spring celebration at the garden will have music, animals, demonstrations and exhibits.
Scheduled for April 27, from 10 a.m. till 4:30 p.m., the “Rite of Spring” is open free to the public. Not only is it a chance to tour the garden and find out what will be happening this summer, but it is also a chance to pick up some tips on gardening which will be useful for starting your own.
Among the features of the “Rite” are an exhibit of old farm machinery, some small farm animals, and an exhibit of insects, both good and bad, with some tips on what to do if you find them in your garden.
Information will be available on organic fertilizers and biological pest control. There will also be demonstrations on home canning and handouts on how to set up your own organic garden.
Not only do you get shown how to get a garden going, but there are free flower seeds and tree seedlings which will be given to all potential gardeners, which have been donated by the Huron Valley National Bank.
For entertainment, the RFD Boys, a local country-western band, will be out in the afternoon to provide music for people and plants. It’s not quite like the flutes and drums of the ancient fertility rites, but the modern celebration promises to make spring planting as exciting as ever.