Campus, News

Grow Beach spring 2015 update

New life waits buried in soil of the Grow Beach community garden in the form of large purple eggplants, bright bell peppers, sweet red strawberries, six alarm spicy peppers and bushels of green onions.

The rental period for those who rented a plot in the Grow Beach garden spring semester has been extended into the summer due to delay in the initial creation of the plots, said Grow Beach Committee Chair Elizabeth Flores, a senior nutrition and dietetics major.

“Over the summer we have a rotation of garden managers who will maintain inspection every week,” Flores said. “The garden will be active and open all summer long.”

Grow Beach originally planned to have rotating plot rentals over spring, summer and fall, but since planting did not start until the middle of April Grow Beach decided to combine spring and summer, extending the plot rental until August 21, said garden manager and junior environmental science and policy major Cameron Jones.

“I know it has been a lot of work setting up the raised beds and filling them with dirt,” sophomore cellular and molecular biology and German major Trevor Teafatiller said. “I was there with the rest of the volunteers tackling pile after pile. It took several days, but it was worth it once I saw the whole garden coming along.

Before plot owners and Grow Beach members could start planting, they had to attend an orientation workshop, Jones said. The plots were plant ready two weeks ago, after two build days were held in February and March.

“If you paid your dues and you attended a workshop you got the green light,” Jones said. Of the plots rented, 12 out of about 50 are paid for leaving almost 40 plots open for use.

About five plot owners have actually planted and over two dozen intend to start planting before the end of the semester, Flores said.

During the early stages, Grow Beach planned to use hoses for watering plants, but as plans changed Grow Beach kept the drought in mind. The organization decided to switch to using mostly watering cans, Jones said.

“We found that when given a hose students will tend to over water,” Jones said.

One of Grow Beach’s biggest concerns is water loss due to evaporation and the water seeping down. Jones said that watering cans save water and nutrients.

“The soil we have is very rich and full or organic materials,” Jones said. “Things that plants need to grow, but when you flood soil it pushes those [nutrients] deeper into the ground and out of reach of the plants roots.”

Grow Beach addresses hand watering in the workshops so students know how to water and how much to water.

On the application, there is a list of plants that are not allowed in the garden on the application. Flores said this is because the plants use too much water and or not right for this area.

“We encourage everyone to be very attentive with their watering and to do root hand watering so that you are not oversaturating your box,” Flores said

For the future Grow Beach is looking to move to a larger and more permanent location near parking lot 20, Flores said, where a community garden existed in the 1970s.

“Just getting here was impressive enough, but as for the future we first want to get all these plots rented out,” Jones said.

Students can still rent plots through beach sync and the next Grow Beach meeting is on April 22 in the University Student Union room 304.

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