Gardening is an essential skill that enriches lives. Our gardening program focuses on the connection between the earth, society, and the food that sustains us. When we learn how our food is produced, and participate in the process of growing it ourselves we become vested in the outcome, and begin to care about the nature and origin of our food sources. Gardening is a microcosm for the complexity of the world in which we live, and sharing the skills of gardening with students will give them tools to support them throughout all areas of their lives as they work and grow into rational, responsible, and compassionate adults.
As a teaching garden, we focus on biodiversity as opposed to volume production, so there are often as many as 50 varieties of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. We practice succession planting, crop rotation and no-till methods. Heavy mulching keeps the soil moist, prevents weeds, and provides shade to the roots of the plants. We rarely water, except in a drought. We use natural and organic treatments for bugs and pests. The addition of a geodesic growing dome gives us the ability of turning a limited participation activity into a regular part of the year-round curriculum, offering more students the possibility to experience the wonder of growing and the challenge of solving complex indoor gardening problems. Garden produce is used in the dining hall, and surplus crops are donated to the Kent Food Bank. Students work in the garden throughout the year as part of our weekly community service program, and on a daily basis in the spring as an afternoon activity.
Alicia Winter P'17, '19 is the Garden Coordinator.