By Matthew Roychowdhury, Garden Club President
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Garden Club has been lucky to have the resources and support necessary to work around new problems and come up with creative new ideas this year. When campus was shut down in spring and summer, we were lucky to have Professor of Art Pallavi Sen and Nancy Macauley of CSS step up to take Parsons and ’66 Gardens, respectively, under their wings.
When students were allowed to return to campus in the fall, we were also lucky to be able to hold in-person garden meetings, and although we had to adjust our methods slightly to make sure all event attendees were distanced and safe, we were able to spend a productive fall clearing beds, turning compost, building up our leaf pile, and harvesting the last of the produce and donating it to local food pantries. We finished off the growing season by planting a cover crop of winter rye and vetch to replenish the soil, and planted garlic to harvest in the spring.
We spent the winter season planning for the coming spring. Mindful that only a portion of students this year have been able to return to campus and attend in-person events, we started a series of online interviews with local gardeners and farmers so that folks on and off campus could be part of interesting conversations around gardening techniques and experiences; we have had three interviews so far, with a fourth on the way.
In early March, we started growing a variety of seedlings on our indoor growing rack, the first of which have now been transplanted outside. The unseasonably warm weather of early April allowed us to get a head start on in-person meetings, during which we’ve pruned back our raspberry bush and started the first of our outdoor seeds. Over the rest of the semester, we will see more sowing and transplanting in the gardens, get to work reconstruction of the fence around Parsons, and maybe even use some of the compost we’ve been building up all year.