A Garden of Many Uses

By By Brenda Ballou

By Brenda Ballou

While it might not look like much now, in a few weeks the little sprouts in the dirt patches around the Sill Center will begin growing into carrots, radishes and onions. The carefully planned plots of land that line the walkway leading up to the building are part of a larger plan to bring more attention to ecology and service.

The community garden is tended mostly by the biology department through the labor of Professor Fred Montague, his students and numerous volunteers.

Working the earth, they learn how to best utilize the small space, applying ecological principals.

Unlike conventional farms and gardens that confine different vegetables in plots all their own, the community garden carefully interplants some of them?a method derived from American Indians. Plots are filled with plants that help each other grow. Native Americans planted corn, beans and squash in the same area. As the corn stalks grow tall, they provide the beanstalk tendrils something to latch on to. The squash plants serve as living mulch and help conserve water with shade from their wide leaves.

Community gardens bring people together to engage in a common goal, according to Montague. People from the U’s campus community are involved with all aspects of it, from planting in the spring, helping maintain it through the growing season and ultimately harvesting the rewards in late summer and early fall. These go to the Jubilee Center and the Utah Food Bank.

The garden survives mostly on donations from the biology classes, the Sill Center and from others. Besides monetary donations, the garden also receives other necessary items like tools and hoses.

“We just seem to get the things that we need with out asking for them. They just seem to show up,” Montague said.

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