Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So Many Seedlings!

Please enjoy a few snapshots from our weekly check-in at the greenhouse:

The tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and marigolds are growing fast - but not as fast as that cucumber Ken Ingram planted on Friday, March 25th! (photographed on Tuesday, March 29th)

Plus, we've got so many happy plants popping up in the greenhouse that we decided to put together a few herb garden pots to raffle off on Maryland Day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Behnke Nursery Spring Open House

We had so much fun on Saturday at Behnke Nurseries' Spring Open House.  We were able to share information about the Public Health Garden and all the work we have been doing to get ready for our implementation in May.  We had pictures of the seedlings, information on sustainable agriculture from SARE, details about the Institute of Applied Agriculture, and samples of the Landscape Architecture students' initial designs. Everyone who visited our table was excited about our project and many people even signed up to get involved and volunteer!  Here is a picture of our table:

The event was excellent and informative!  Also, the Spring Open House kept the feelings of spring in the air despite the cold temperatures.  I even got to attend a talk by the University of Maryland Extension's Master Gardeners about Grow It Eat It to learn how to start a vegetable garden in 12 steps. 

Thank you Behnke for having us!  We are excited for the next event in June. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

MLA Student Check In

Before we left for spring break, the MLA students provided us with updates about their designs for the Public Health Garden. There are three different teams of students, each with their own design. One group even came up with three initial designs!  Here are a couple pictures from the presentation. 

Next time I'll be sure to focus some more energy on getting good photos of the students work. It is really excellent!  We are looking forward to seeing the final design presentations in April from both the graduate and undergraduate students.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Plant Babies!

A friend of the Public Health Garden and graduating public health senior, Meredith Zaslow, has started some seedlings at home to contribute to the garden.  Take a look at the wonderful photos of them starting to grow:

Thanks Meredith!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Help the Public Health Garden Send Rachel and Wenji to CGIU

Public Health Garden Friends,

The Public Health Garden was started with the enthusiasm and energy of a small group of graduate students who spent last semester envisioning the garden, planning, budgeting and working to submit the UMD Sustainability Office Green Fund Grant Proposal.  It is with those funds that we will be able to implement the Public Health Garden this year.

We are both pleased and proud to announce that two of these students will be representing the garden and all of its collaborators at Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in San Diego from April 1st to 3rd this year - Rachel Tennant (graduate student in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology) and Wenjie Li (graduate student in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture). 
Not only were they accepted to attend based on their commitment to this garden, but they were invited to exhibit at CGI U to share with the conference about all of our progress and success so far!

Rachel and Wenjie will bring with them information about us, our collaborators, UMD, and all the student work going into this project so far. They will share our experience and project with CGI U conference participants and organizers. They are representing us and the University of Maryland's commitment to sustainable agriculture, community, and public health.      

Please join us in showing our support and gratitude by helping fund their trip to the conference.  We are looking to raise $1800 to cover the cost of their hotel room (just one-- they are sharing), flights, and the modest fee paypal charges for fundraising.  Please click the link and donate today!    


Please contact me if you have questions or concerns!  I wouldn't ask for the funds if I didn't think this was important. We are very lucky to have such generous collaborators and donors, so you won't see many requests for funds in the future.

Consider donating and sharing our request with your friends and family!

Thank you so much!

Weekly Greenhouse Update

The transplanted eggplant and tomato seedlings (pictured left) are thriving under the care of the Institute of Applied Agriculture's Greenhouse Management class.

Because we weren't sure what percentage of the seeds would germinate, we played it safe and got quite a few going. It's better to have a few extra plants that the club can gift to spread the garden's message of health and community than a sparse selection for the designers, right?

Of course none of these greenhouse gems would be possible without so many generous seed donations from America the Beautiful Fund, Behnke Nurseries and Burpee.

Here are a few pics of the plants from this afternoon:

Although there is a tomato seed packet visible in that last photo, those aren't tomatoes - they are marigolds. Used as a companion plant, marigolds are known for their ability to discourage insects, especially those fond of tomatoes, and keep the soil free of bad nematodes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Volunteer with Us!

Unfortunately, we will not be able to start our regular volunteer hours until after UMD spring break; however, there are chances for you to start getting involved now!  Please go to our Volunteer Sign Up Page and sign up to help out the Public Health Garden with some upcoming events.

Contact us with any questions or concerns.  Can't wait to see you soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

LARC321 Check-In: Transforming a "Forgotten Space" with "Dirty Hands, Sustainable Living and a Healthy Spirit"

Today was our first check-in with the Landscape Architecture students in Professor Dennis Nola's LARC321 Class. The two teams of undergraduate students did a great job filling us in on all the work they have been doing and the ideas they have so far for the Public Health Garden.  We were lucky to have faculty and staff from Facilities Management, the School of Public Health, the Institute of Applied Agriculture and Campus Recreation there with us to comment on the students' initial designs and concepts and ask questions.   

Here you can see a couple of the members from Team Mark (named for the project manager of the team) holding a model they made of the garden site:
Here you can see some of the members of Team Amber (named for the project manager of the team) presenting their sketches:
And here is Allison and Rachel T glowing about how awesome all the students' work is and how thrilling our progress is so far:
One of the concepts the teams mentioned during their presentations included our reclaiming a "forgotten space" between two buildings by putting this garden in place (Team Mark).  Another great concept: "Dirty Hands, Sustainable Living, Healthy Spirit" (Team Amber).

Thank you LARC321! We hope you liked the cookies and we can't wait to see how these designs evolve.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Club Meeting Update

We had a wonderful meeting this afternoon with some new faces!  Thanks to Ken Ingram at IAA for bringing us a tray of our seedlings so that we could see the growth in the greenhouse.

The meeting minutes are now available on the "Documents" tab of the blog. Please catch up with what we discussed if you are interested. Be sure to contact us with any questions or let us know if you want to get involved. 

Note: We will be starting volunteer work hours in the greenhouse as early as next week, so keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First Design Check-In

If you've looked at the photos of the site for the Public Health Garden on facebook or if you've walked through the area, then you know that we are dealing with a challenging location. Here is a refresher for you:
It may look intimidating, but do not fret. We have fantastic teams of Professor Dennis Nola's Landscape Architecture students from the University of Maryland working on our designs. Friday was our first check in meeting with the two undergraduate teams in the LARC321 Structures and Materials class. The teams have been researching, visiting the site, and coming up with concepts and initial models and sketches. 

Here you can see them in action evaluating the site:  

We are in very good hands. The teams are coming up with exciting ideas for using recycled materials, maximizing the space, and making sure our plants get what they need (sun!). We are looking forward to the official check in date for the Structures and Materials class this coming week. Stay tuned for more details of how the designs are progressing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We're Famous! Thanks Diamondback :)

The Public Health Garden is featured in an article today in the Diamondback describing the award our garden received from the Sustainability Office Green Fund.  Huge shout out to the lovey Rachel Tennant (graduate student in Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology), Wenjie Li (graduate student in Landscape Architecture), and Tatiana Sofronova (graduate student in Geography) for putting the proposal together last semester!  We would not be where we are without their immense efforts. 

Also, thank you to the Sustainability Office and our fellow students at the University of Maryland (the funds come from a student fee) for the funds to get this garden sprouted (pun intended, sorry).

Lastly, thank you to the Diamondback for sharing our story! We are looking forward to having more coverage in the student paper as our garden grows (again, another pun).

When you are reading the story, don't be confused, when the original proposal was drafted the garden was called the Student Teaching Garden. But, we have re-branded and re-named ourselves the Public Health Garden. The mission is still the same and you can read more about it here.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you!  Stay tuned for more updates from the garden.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ready, Set, Grow!

Thanks to several generous seed donations, some space in the university greenhouse, planting advice from Institute of Applied Agriculture instructor Ken Ingram, and a little help from our friends, we were able to get our first seeds into soil today. Varieties of peppers, tomatoes, herbs, flowers and a few other surprises will be monitored and watered daily. We're looking forward to seeing what germinates!