After a very cold winter, Octopus’ Garden volunteers have been working the past two weeks to prepare the garden for a new season.
Several outreach and production initiatives will be underway this spring to further establish Octopus’ Garden’s operational mission. All operations funding is provided from the Presidential Green Grant.
Octopus’ Garden was the brainchild of two Ozone House members who wanted an on-campus venue to gather organic vegetables.
The cultivation of the garden is highly labor intensive and thus heavily reliant on voluteers. Voluteer recruitment has been a challenge over the past few years.
The volunteer shortage comes at a time where the garden has more than doubled in area and production yield has continued to increase.
In order to reverse this trend, this season, the garden is trying to build long-lasting volunteer relationships with other groups on campus.
This spring will also witness a new production system that will hopefully get a large proportion of the college community involved with the garden.
Octopus’ Garden Volunteer Coordinator Heather Mendiola expressed that an active community involved in Octopus’ Garden will foster a continued culture of awareness and care for the garden.
Mendiola expresses that “if students have pride in “their” garden, it always have people who care about it and want to take care of it.”
Volunteers will help in the planting of potatoes in the coming week. By the end of the spring term, the garden will be home to carrots, onions, squash.
Basil will no longer be growing at Octopus’ Garden, this spring. The reason for this is that basil is a summer-intensive crop, and the number of students staying on campus this summer is limited. Any hired summer help is not nearly enough to sustain the basil crop. Summer plans for the garden are inconclusive but the garden hopes to hire one student to maintain it.
The hope is that this spring will continue the stability and extremely productive crop rotation which has produced record pounds of harvest, witnessed in the past few years.
Octopus’ Garden is in a transitional state. In the past, the garden has alway thrived on new blood, and new directions. The reforms initiated this spring is needed to ensure the success and continued evolution of the garden in the future.