Friday, August 17, 2012

Raising Funds for Reforestation

Brendan Chareoncharutkun, one of the Public Health Garden's own, has been studying Permaculture at Tacome Pai Organic Farm in Thailand this summer and touched base with us from "the land of smiles" to see if we could help promote the fundraising campaign for Tacome Pai's sister project: The New Land.

We said: "ABSOLUTELY!!"

They've got until September 30th to raise the remainder of the $5,200 fundraising goal. With that funding, they aim to revitalize 72,000 square meters of deforested and degraded land by applying Permaculture design principles. The long-term mission of the project is to demonstrate and reintroduce sustainable living techniques to the locals and to create a prototype for reforestation and sustainable livelihood projects all over the world. Read more here and please join us in making a pledge.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

HIllside Garden Looking Great!

If you haven't had a chance to peek down the hillside and see what the Public Health Garden student group has been building and maintaining, stop by soon! The cukes are climbing, the tomatoes are staked and irrigated, the apples are filling out, the bio-retention area is flourishing, and all the seeded and transplanted flowers are in bloom.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Drip Irrigation on the Hillside

Thanks to dedicated garden planner Phil Capon, the tomatoes, okra, peppers, cukes and squash on the hillside are easy to water and happy as can be! To find out what else is new in the garden, check out our facebook and flickr pages.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meet Kohl-Robin

Our most loyal and precocious feathered friend named after one of our favorite spring veggies.  Kohl-Robin gets a little shy when the camera comes out but for the most part frolics right alongside our hillside cultivators.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Garlic Harvest

While our new garden planner, Phil Capon, was planning and planting plots on the hillside, our new garden manager, Nathan Lim, harvested about 70 heads of garlic from the half-built bed on the terrace. The cloves were planted during the First Annual Harvest Festival in October 2011 and despite the less-than-ideal soil and nutrients available at the start, months of careful nurturing with soil amendments (like composted lobster shells and organic fish fertilizer) appear to have paid off.

Want to see what happens next? How garlic is cured? Stored? Used in cooking? Follow the story of our garlic on Allie and Deb's new website - scheduled to go live next week!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adventitious Roots

After a lovely and productive meeting with students, faculty, staff and advisers associated with the Public Health Garden past, present and future, we spent an equally productive afternoon doing maintenance on the hillside. We managed to squeeze a few dozen more Zinnias, Bachelors Buttons and Four O'Clocks into our flower patch, find and clear soil space for eggplant, cucumber and squash transplants, and start implementing the vision of our new community garden planner, Phil Capon. We also had an opportunity to share extra plants with gardeners, friends and supporters in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources.

During our time on site we noticed this fantastic example of adventitious roots on one of the Institute of Applied Agriculture's container-planted tomatoes and the stabilizing qualities of these roots beg a comparison of the future of the garden itself.

Adventitious roots arise from different parts of the plant - like the stem and branches - than traditionally develop from the primary root (apical meristem). In the case of tomatoes, adventitious root growth can be encouraged by burying a few inches of the stem beneath the soil during a transplant and will strengthen the plant by giving it a wider foundation for support.

The Public Health Garden began as a seed - an idea and a grant - that with the right mix of sunshine, soil, water and attention turned into a strong, lively, and quickly-growing plant with supportive adventitious roots popping our all over the place! As those roots have taken hold across campus in Facilities Management, the Student Club, the Institute of Applied Agriculture, the School of Public Health, Campus Recreation, the Wellness Coalition, the Office of Sustainability, the Arboretum Outreach Center, the dream of the garden continues to grow stronger and more sustainable each and every day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On The Hill Again

While the teaching, demonstration and community space on the top patio is looking fabulously green and exploding with happy plants, the hillside could use a little TLC in the next couple of weeks.

While we have intentionally allowed many cover crops to go to flower and attract beneficial insects, we have been keeping a close eye on pests and pulling invasive and problem vegetation with a quickness. Last week, we discovered a few rogue tomato plants and cosmos that had self seeded and popped up through the vetch and grasses. Since we've got a few months before formal construction on the next phases of the garden, we're going to go ahead and plant a few things in the flattest areas. So far we've put in a flat of pumpkins (courtesy of our friends at the St. Mary's Garden Club) and some Sungold Cherry tomatoes.

The areas of the hillside just below the top patio are growing dense with parsley and sprinkled with a few happy apple trees. Closer to the base of the hill, we've got some strong strawberry plants and berry bushes. All these hidden treasures could use a little help in terms of clearing weeds from the immediate areas around them so if you are hanging out this summer and looking to break a sweat, stay tuned to the blog for additional volunteer sessions and plantings. Right now we are looking at getting an early start this Thursday May 31st at 2:00pm.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Harlequin Bug = Pest

While we appreciate biodiversity and interesting insects, this particular one - the Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica - is one of the top pests in our area. Bad news bug. So if you  happen to pass through the garden and see an adult (pictured), eggs or nymphs (visible on the Grow It Eat It site here) please feel free to relocate them to the farthest dumpster! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Hours?

Hooray summertime! For those of you who will remain in the College Park area during the summer months, we would love to continue hosting volunteer hours to keep on growing the garden. Last summer we had so much work to do, we met twice a week. This summer we may be able to manage with just one session. What works best for you guys? Weekday evenings? Or weekend mornings? Sticking to the same Thursday hours?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Good luck on finals!

It sure has been a beautiful spring semester at the garden! We'd like to wish all of our volunteers good luck on finals this week and thank you again for your regular support, hard work, and time contributions that helped the garden grow into what it is today. The project and plants flourish because of the nurturing spirits of College Park students like you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thursday Volunteer Hours

We have a lot of work to do during our Thursday (May 10th) work hours this week but we've also got a lot of ripe strawberries for our hard-working volunteers to pick and eat! Come on over between 4:00-6:00 pm to help us weed the rain garden, stake tomatoes, snuggle praying mantises and prepare a bed, and then enjoy a little spring harvest with us. We've got dill, chard and cilantro to share too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Square Foot Gardening

Gardening Infographic

Beneficials Wage War on Aphid Army

After losing nearly our entire squash crop to a blanket of squash bugs in the summer of 2011, we here at the Public Health Garden always keep an eye out for "bad bugs" and work to manage their populations quickly and carefully by hand.

We've learned that the sooner you see these little buggers, which at this time of year in our garden are mainly aphids, the better chance you have at keeping them under control. We've also learned that we have quite a few allies in the war against aphids.

One is our dear friend Jon Traunfeld, State Master Gardener Coordinator, Director of the Home and Garden Information Center and Extension Specialist. When we sent him some photos of our aphids, he shared his expert advice on how to cope with the infestation and put up this informational blog post.  

Another ally in the management of aphids are the beneficial beetles commonly known as Ladybugs (Coccinellidae). The Grow It Eat It blog recently posted a few interesting factoids regarding the Lady Bird Beetle, one of our most beneficial insects. During their larvae stage they are very focused on gobbling up aphids! See one in action in the photo above.

So how do you get beneficial insects in your garden? For starters, if you have aphids, they will come! According to Traunfeld (and our own observations at the garden) the ladybugs will find their own way:

"Several species of lady bird beetles are native to MD. There is no need to buy them; they will come find your aphids. Plus, purchased beetles often disperse from your garden instead of making it their new home. Adults and larvae eat aphids but adults also feed on nectar and pollen so plant a bed of some of these beautiful flowering plants to attract and conserve the lady bird beetles in your area: mountain mint, anise hyssop, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, yarrow, aster, marigold, zinnia, alyssum, phlox, bee balm, milkweeds, borage, salvias."

Read the full post here. And come on down during volunteer hours, every Thursday from 4:00-6:00pm to witness this exciting battle of the bugs!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beautiful Maryland Day

Words can't describe how lovely it was to celebrate Maryland Day 2012, marking one year since the Public Health Garden project officially broke ground - with Eco-Goat hooves in 2011. We had a incredible number of visitors return from last year to see progress and share in our admiration of how far the space has come. Special thanks to everyone who has contributed to the ongoing success of this project.

Throughout the day, we harvested radishes with our younger visitors and experienced the joy of witnessing/encouraging some of them to try the bright red, spicy veggies for the first time ever. One of our visitors, Jessica Lucas (pictured with shovel) of Liberty Christian School, expressed such a strong interest in gardening, she helped us ready the compacted section of soil for the soon-to-be-planted Three Sisters garden. Thanks, Jessica!

In addition to on-site fun, more than one hundred small basil, tomato and fish pepper plants were sent home to flourish in the gardens of Maryland alumni, staff, and local and regional residents.

Check out more pics on our Facebook and Flickr pages.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spotted: The Grazing Groundhog

Work Hours Inside Today

Due to the weather, the Public Health Garden gang will be setting up in the transplant room of the greenhouse today and focusing our attention on nurturing out seedlings rather than cleaning up the site for Maryland Day. Outdoor clean-up hours will take place tomorrow, Friday April 27th, from 12:00pm until completion instead.

If you would like to help out at the greenhouse today, please text or email 410.925.4807 for more information.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maryland Day: Saturday April 28th

Visit the Public Health Garden on Maryland Day 2012 to check out all the amazing progress we've made in a single year (and all the other exciting, free, educational, agricultural, conservationist, delicious, etc - things happening on campus). We hope you will still be able to stop by and celebrate the success of this project with us!

The university has a great Plan Your Day feature
 on the Maryland Day website that you can visit in order to narrow down which activities you don't want to miss and print out your own itinerary. The Public Health Garden is listed under the football icon "Sports and Rec Row."

Parking is free anywhere on campus all day and events run from 10:00am - 4:00pm. And remember, the earlier you come, the better chance you have at snagging one of our plant giveaways :-) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Volunteer Hours Today 4:00-6:00pm

Last week we planted tomatoes, peppers and a few other odds and ends from the greenhouse while hanging out with Eco-Goat Napoleon, nurturing some nutrient deficient garlic plants AND mulching the new bio-retention area at the base of the hillside. Thanks to our dedicated and productive volunteers we were able to do all of that in less than two hours! Today, we've got some marigolds to companion plant next to the tomatoes and a few basil plants to add to the herd bed. With Maryland Day right around the corner, we've got some event planning to discuss as well but it should be a fairly light work day so we're looking forward to taking it slow and admiring all that has been accomplished in the space throughout the last year. See you soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Sign Ups and Events

It has been very busy at the Public Health Garden this spring. We have three exciting events coming up that we need your help for.
  • EventUMD Earth Day Celebration 2012!
     (click the link to see the Facebook event!)
    • DateFriday, April 20
    • Duration10AM - 3PM, set up at 9:30AM
    • LocationHornbake Plaza 
  • Event: Maryland Day
    • Date: Sat., April 28
    • Duration: 10 am - 4 pm, set up at 9:30
    • Location: Public Health Garden and Hornbake Plaza
  • Event: UMD's Farmers' Market (We are so excited that the market is starting! It will be producer-only and held weekly!)
    • Date: Wed., May 2
    • Duration: 12 to 4pm 
    • Location: Outside Cole Field House
Can you come help us celebrate these events and promote the Public Health Garden?  We will have an informational table at the specified events, as well as other projects, giveaways, and other fun!  

Please send the hours you are available to work any of these events to publichealthgarden@gmail.comAny time you can dedicate and volunteer would be wonderful. It is much more fun to participate in these events as a group. 

Share these events widely and bring friends to help us table, spread the word about the Public Health Garden, and celebrate the season!  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Urban Agriculture Station Seminar

The Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture department and the University of Maryland Extension are teaming up on a design competition for a proposed urban agriculture center at the Greenbelt Metro Station. They are hosting an Urban Agriculture Station Seminar this Friday (4/13) on campus with some great guest speakers.

Insterested in learning more? Contact Christie Balch, University of Maryland Extension Program Coordinator, at

Monday, April 9, 2012

Picture Day: Thursday April 12th

Okay... Everyone look this way and say "Peas!" Thursday is picture day at the PHG!

The Office of Sustainability will be at the garden to take a group photo for the 2012 Campus Sustainability Report this Thursday during our regular work hours from 4-6:00pm. We'd love to fill the patio with our smiling volunteer force so come on over and get your gloves dirty with us for the picture.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Hope everyone had a lovely Maryland Arbor Day yesterday! We will be on site today from 4-6:00pm for volunteer hours and hope to see lots of familiar and new faces.

Since several awesome groups on campus came out over the weekend to install a bio-retention rain garden and build the arbor, AND we are feeling pretty successful in our battle with the "aphid army," we will be doing pretty light work this evening.

In case you aren't able to come and admire all the beautiful garden progress in person, we've posted lots of new pictures on our Facebook and Flickr pages. Check 'em out!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gardening is Good For You!

Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has coordinated National Public Health Week - a campaign during the first week in April that serves to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to the chosen theme. This year's theme, A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement, was designed to encourage more Americans and their communities to take preventative measures to help improve their lives.

And what's our favorite example of a community-based, life-improving, healthy activity? Getting the community together to grow local produce, of course!

Two of our founding hillside farmers, Lauren Messina and Rachel Rosenberg, PhD students in the School of Public Health, will be discussing the connections between gardening and public health on Monday April 2, from 3:30-4:00pm. Following their talk and tour, everyone is invited to get their hands dirty in the garden and assist Rachel and Lauren in some weeding and planting in the garden until 5:30pm. Please find additional details about the event here.

This event is part of National Public Health Week and co-sponsored by the Public Health Garden, Delta Omega (the Public Health Honor Society), and the Maryland Council on Family Relations (MCFR).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Sunday, 10 am: Arbor Build

In addition to the rain garden construction with the PGMS group on Saturday we will also be constructing an arbor at the top of the garden on Sunday! All the materials have been delivered and we should have enough tools. Construction shouldn't take more than 3-4 hours. So I would like to start around 10am and hopefully finish up no later than 2pm. Lunch and drinks will be provided, so come ready to work!

Here is the vision:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rain Garden Planting This Saturday: March 31st

Volunteers, mark your calendars!

This Saturday March 31st, beginning at 9:00am, the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) Student Chapter will be hosting a service day and rain garden planting on the Public Health Garden site. Led by club president, John Mowbray, PGMS members and supporters will weed, excavate, shovel, prepare and install plants at the base of the hill. As always, the more volunteers we have, the more we can accomplish on site with this experienced team.

Here's what they'll be planting: River Birch, Winterberry, Swamp Hibiscus, Rudbeckia and Panicum Grass.

Remember to dress for the work and weather and bring plenty of water and smiles.

*Note that this special Saturday event will not replace our regular Thursday volunteer hours but rather serves as a fantastic supplement.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flexible Work Hours Today 3/22

We will not be hosting formal work hours during our usual time today but will be in and around the garden and greenhouse throughout the day so if you are interested in starting and transplanting seeds, send an email to Otherwise, keep enjoying the break!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break!

Enjoy your spring break UMD!  Let us know if you want to spend some time with us in the garden during the week off.  We'll be starting new seeds, tending to the seedlings, and making plans for construction.

Eco-goats on their vacation last year

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Work Hours Today: 4-6:00pm

Hello, new and returning volunteers! We will be on site today at 4:00pm having fun in the sun, planting seeds and pulling pesky invasive weeds (like Japanese Honeysuckle - pictured). Arrive before 4:30pm for a quick tutorial on which weeds will be yanked and which will be mowed. See you soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Special Thanks to The Anacostia Watershed Society

As farmers and gardeners, we enter into spring not only with an elevated sense of joy for longer days, warmer temperatures and new growth but also with a heightened awareness that the same rain showers that will awaken our perennials have the capacity to wash precious nutrients and sediments away from our plots and into the waterways.

Last year, the Public Health Garden gang was so eager to start growing on the hillside that the majority of our rainwater management tactics were reactionary and admittedly haphazard. This year, we are starting off the season with a better understanding of the slope and landscape of our site and with the realization that until the formal rain garden construction is implemented, we are the stewards of this hillside farm and therefore equally as responsible for potential watershed pollution as we are for growing beautiful, edible plants.

Thanks to a pro-bono consultation with the Anacostia Watershed Society's Conservation Biologist, Jorge Bogantes Montero, we were able to determine what to plant where, where not to plant, and how to best manage our weed populations and rain water. We will be extending the capture of our silt fences, hand-pulling and solarizing the persistent Japanese honeysuckle, and transplanting cover-crops and beneficial flowers into carefully selected locations on our steepest hillsides.

Special thanks to:

Doug Lipton, Associate Professor and Program Leader, Sea Grant Programs, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society
Jorge Bogantes Montero, Conservation Biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society
Carin Celebuski, University of Maryland Arboretum Outreach Coordinator

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Full Sun. Full Moon. Full Schedule!

Hi Gardeners! We've got a beautiful day and no shortage of things to do around the garden so come on down at 4:00pm to help us direct seed dwarf peas, beets, carrots, radishes, dill and cilantro into the "Spring Bed."

We've also got some conservation and watershed experts coming by to advice us on how to best keep our soil on site and out of the waterways during the upcoming rainy spring months and (hopefully terrace construction).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seed Starting

Thanks to our regular gang and a regular volunteer turnout, we were able to get a our Salad Tables soiled and seeded, decorate pots and collection boxes for spring plant giveaways, AND get our first round of seeds started in the university greenhouse, where they will be cared for by Institute of Applied Agriculture Instructor Ken Ingram and his Greenhouse Management class.

What's growing in the greenhouse: Oregano, Bok Choy, Hybrid Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Escarole

What's growing in the Salad Tables: Dynamite Butterhead Organic Lettuce, Little Green Pearl Lettuce, Great Lakes Lettuce, Arugula

What we will need help seeding this Thursday March 8th: Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas, Beets (Early Wonder, Detroit Dark, Bolivar), Vitana Carrot, Radish (Rudolf, French Breakfast 2), Dill, Cilantro

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Salad Table Planting Today

During our regular Thursday volunteer hours (4-6:00pm) today we will be adding soil and seeds to the Salad Tables we built with Senior Extension Agent and Maryland State Master Gardener Coordinator Jon Traunfeld in the Fall. Drop by and enjoy the sunshine with us!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Financial Update

Yesterday the Office of Sustainability published the 2011-2012 Grant Recipients for the University Sustainability Fund on their website and in their weekly newsletter.  We would like to offer a big congratulations to all the recipients of the funding-- with a special "hurray!" to fellow UMD garden groups UMD Rooftop Community Garden and St. Mary's Garden Club who were each awarded funding for further development at their on-campus vegetable gardens.

Surprised the Public Health Garden wasn't on the list? 

We were disappointed to get the news as well. While the PHG submitted a detailed proposal to fund the remainder of our garden construction, including the terraced community garden beds on the hillside and the orchard and active-classroom space in front of the Eppley Recreation Center, our proposal was not selected for an award.

What does that mean for the Public Health Garden?

We will keep growing this semester without the funds. We are excited to be collaborating with the Agricultural Sorority who received $1000 to build the arbor at the top of the hill and with the National Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) at UMD to start implementing bio retention areas on the site. Of course, we will continue our work on the top of the garden and in the raised beds with the help of Ellen Polishuk and the Institute of Applied Agriculture. We are also planning, planting, and expanding weekly during our volunteer hours (Thurs 4-6 at the PHG).

While we are thrilled about the work we can do with our student supporters and volunteers, formal construction of the final design selected during the student landscape architecture competition last semester and approved by the UMD Architectural Design Standards Board will have to wait until we receive additional financial support.

To remind you what we are hoping to build, here is the video of the final design completed by the students last year:

Reminder: we have come so far in just over one year and will continue to keep growing!

How can you help us grow?

First, please share with us your experiences and support for the Public Health Garden via email at or on our facebook page- we could use some love right now and would like to share your words of support with our stakeholders.

Second, come out and volunteer with us during work hours on Thursdays at the garden between 4-6. Bring your ideas about how we can move forward and continue building.

Third, consider donating to the Public Health Garden via iMpact Maryland. We are hoping to raise $5,000 with iMpact Maryland to support important infrastructure on the site that will ensure we minimize soil erosion and runoff from the hillside. This is critical to the stewardship of the land the PHG is on and our surrounding environment.

Please send us questions, concerns or ideas to Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at the garden soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Prepping the Raised Beds

Thanks to a great group of volunteers, the raised beds in the teaching garden are 99% ready for spring planting.

The three middle beds contain a carefully calculated ratio of Maryland soil, local compost, and a potting medium that will nurture plants selected by Institute of Applied Agriculture instructors, farmers and horticulturalists. Within the next few weeks, signs will accompany the beds with information about the region of Maryland from which the soil was obtained and the plants that will be making themselves at home in these cozy cedar boxes. The beds on the periphery of the patio are slated to house a pizza garden and another yet-to-be-determined culinary-themed demonstration garden.

We're hoping to get our leafy green seeds into the Salad Tables during volunteer hours this coming week so mark your calendars for "salad seeding" this Thursday, March 1st 2012.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great weather for volunteer hours today!

Our leadership team will on site from 4:00-6:00pm doing all sorts of fun things.

We've got hundreds of seeds to choose from for our early greenhouse planting, lots of soil and compost to integrate into the raised beds and garlic patch, and several upcoming events and projects to continue planning. Come on down and enjoy some sunshine and shoveling with us.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Arbor Funding and Planning

News: We are building an arbor!

Thank you to Mallan Willis and the Sigma Alpha professional agriculture sorority at UMD who received a grant to help us build the arbor at the upper terrace of the Public Health Garden.

All we need to do is work with the group to establish a design that suits the UMD aesthetic, falls within the budget ($1,000) and mark a date that we can have a volunteer build day. The goal is to have the arbor built by Maryland Day, April 28. 

We would like to get together during regular scheduled garden hours (4-6pm) on Thursday Feb. 23 to establish a design for the arbor. Please try to do some research/ Google image searches on arbors and come with some good ideas in mind. During this time we will also try to estimate material quantities and types so we can get an order in to the lumber distributor. Volunteer arbor install dates we are looking at that work for the PHG calendar are March 11, April 1 and April 15.

Very exciting!  Start thinking of designs you like. If you are interested in helping us out, please contact


Thanks to the wonderful Rooting DC event on Sat. and America the Beautiful Fund we have lots more seeds for the Public Health Garden this season. We will be starting some seeds in the greenhouse on campus with Ken Ingram's Greenhouse Management Course. We will also be planting some more seeds directly in the garden starting as soon possible.

Thank you again to DC Field to Fork Network for such an enriching event and to American the Beautiful Fund for all the seeds!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ready to Re-Purpose

Like so many other creative conservationists, we here at the Public Health Garden are always looking for new ways to improve waste disposal systems by encouraging composting and aiming to reduce the amount of materials that actually qualify as waste. Re-purposing, the lesser-known 4th "R" hidden in the "Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle" mantra, is the inspiration for our spring seed-starting project.

We've decided not to import any additional propagating pots from local contributors but instead to gather toilet paper rolls (and paper towel rolls) and make our own biodegradable pots for our early greenhouse seedlings and Maryland Day giveaways.

Want to participate? Stay tuned for details on drop-off locations and pot-building, seed-starting work hours.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Work Hours Today: Rain or Shine!

We'll see you at the Public Health Garden 4-6 today.  If it is raining, we'll be sitting inside the basement of the School of Public Health.

See you there!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Work Hours Today

Please vote here about whether or not you would like to attend work hours today.  Let's see what the group decides. 

So much to learn! So much to do!

How lucky are we to be on a campus that has so many great visiting lecturers it is hard to attend all of them?!?! Here are the details about the cool speakers and hot topics coming to a building near you this week.

Institute of Applied Agriculture Lecture Series:
1. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model of retailing local foods. Tuesday, February 14,  12:30-1:45 p.m.  1123 Jull HallIAA Lecturer Ellen Polishuk has 15 years of experience with the CSA model at Potomac Vegetable Farms, serving 550 families in the DC region. All are welcome.

2. Local Foods 101 Tuesday, February 14,  6-7:45 p.m.  1123 Jull Hall  IAA Lecturer, Ellen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farms, will lead a conversation about the size, scope and flavor of local foods. All are welcome.

3. Shrimp Farming Thursday, February 16,  12:30-1:45 p.m.  1123 Jull HallBrian Mitchell of Marvesta Shrimp Farm will describe the innovative method of growing shrimp indoors. This system may provide many answers to the question of how to obtain shrimp from a sustainable local source!  All are welcome.

Arboretum Talk – Edible Woodies & Perennials in the Landscape

Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Arboretum Outreach Center at the Apiary

Matt Cohen will present “Persimmons, Pomegranates, Polygonatums, and other Perennial Food Plants -- Edible Woodies & Perennials in the Landscape,” a talk about easy to grow edible perennials in landscapes from sun to shade. Matt, owner of Matt's Habitats is a local professional landscaper who focuses on edible gardens and native plants, and leads nature walks with an emphasis on wild edibles. Sponsored by Chesapeake Natives.

Great Work Last Week

We are excited to report that the remaining compost material has been moved into the garden!  Thank you to all the hard work from our gardeners-- against all odds and cold temps! :)

Now, we can start putting the soil and compost to good use!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Today: 4-6 at the Public Health Graden!

We encourage people to come out to the garden this evening for work hours (4-6 pm), but please wear enough layers! It is cold out there.

Let's finish moving that compost and make plans for some cold weather crops to go in.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye January: This week! Kicking off the semester the right way!

Thank you for voting for the open work hours on Facebook.  It looks like Mon 4-6 and Thurs 4-6 won! But, we also got lots of votes for Sat. So, let's do open work hours on Thurs 4-6 each week, and while the weather is still crummy have a "weather-rain-cold-date" on Mon 4-6.
Since Sat was so popular, as well as some other days, we would like to propose that people who are already signed up with the garden can come and garden when they like.  If you are interested in gardening at
times other than designated garden hours (Mon 4-6 and Thurs 4-6), let us know (  We will provide you with the shed codes and you can spend time on your own or with a friend.  We will create a task board and sign in sheet so that you can know what to do in the garden even if there isn't a big group. 

Thoughts?  Everyone like this idea?

Work hours start this Thursday 4-6 (after we hang out at the Wellness Expo at Stamp from 11-2).  Hope to see you out there. 

Also, check out today's Diamondback article about this semester in the Public Health Garden.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Terp Wellness Expo 2012

Come hang with the Public Health Garden gang and other University of Maryland student organizations and departments committed to promoting health and wellness on campus at the 2012 Terp Wellness Expo.

Thursday, February 2nd from 11:00am - 2:00pm

Atrium of the Stamp Student Union

Live music, games, raffles and a photo booth

Think about yourself this semester

As the semester gets started, please make time in your schedule for YOU!  PHG volunteer & yoga/wellness expert, Ilona, reminds us to set aside just three hours to yourself!  Some great ways include yoga, meditation, and gardening! 

Yoga Opportunities
Meditation Opportunities
Gardening Opportunities

Stay relaxed and healthy this spring.  Please be in touch with us if you know of other opportunities at UMD and near College Park.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome to the Spring 2012 Semester in the Public Health Garden

New year, new semester in the Public Health Garden! 

Email/communications-logistics: We are going to be updating our email list and moving to a google-group.  Our apologies if you have asked to be removed from the email list and we haven't gotten to it yet.  If you would like to continue to receive messages from the Public Health Garden, please go to our google group page and "request membership".  If you would like to stop receiving messages, sit tight since we sent the last one out today. Reminder: the best ways to receive information about the garden is through the blog and facebook page.

Scheduling: We are thrilled to kick off the semester!  Please respond to the facebook poll a couple posts down on Facebook to help us schedule work hours this semester. It looks like Thurs 4-6 is winning.  Also, please let us know if you are interested in leading a work day (opening the shed, greeting new faces, helping organize tasks)! Email if you are interested. We will try to start work days next week (weather permitting).

Upcoming Events: Please let us know if you would like to come help represent the garden at the Terp Wellness Expo in the Stamp Union on Feb 2.  Please see the calendar for details. We are looking for volunteers each hour for one hour to man our table and talk with students about the garden. Email if you want to come by and what hours you are interested in. 

Get More Involved: If you want to come volunteer with us, or are looking at getting more involved, check out our How to Get Involved page on the blog. We are looking for people to help coordinate volunteer days, manage our social media, contribute to the blog, and more. Email us!  Let us know your ideas! 

We are exciting for the semester and can't wait to see you in the garden.  Good luck UMD with your first week of classes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tea Tree Oil: And its benefits to oral health

Tea tree oil is an old yet effective remedy that is growing in popularity as people discover its unique properties. The "tea tree" is native to Australia and is believed to have been named by Captain James Cook, during one of his expeditions. He noted that the local Aboriginal tribes made tea from the twigs, bark and leaves of the tree. He further noted that the leaves were often used as poultices for wounds, and that they were quite effective.

It wasn't until 1920, when Australian chemist
A. R. Penefold began researching and documenting the many uses of tea tree oil that it was realized how unique this plant truly was. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties were discovered and tea tree oil was soon being used commercially in the fields of surgery and dentistry.

Because tea tree oil was inexpensive and easy to come by, it was used in many household applications as well, including:

-- Remedies for fungal infections
-- Treatments for skin conditions, including acne and eczema
-- Remedies for lice
-- General disinfecting

Some of the properties that make tea tree oil available for such wide use include the fact that it can be used directly on the skin and mucus membranes without irritation. It can be used to treat colds and chest conditions by adding a small amount to a steam bath. Combing a small amount through the hair effectively treats dandruff and prevents lice and nits.

Tea tree oil is also an effective agent for good oral health. A dab of tea tree oil can help prevent a cold sore from developing and can take the sting out of a canker sore. A rinse made up of a few drops of tea tree oil and 2 ounces of water can be used as a mouthwash to prevent and treat gingivitis. This same rinse can also be used to treat thrush, a fungal infection of the tongue and throat that can often be found in people who have compromised immune systems.

People who wear dentures are prone to mouth ulcers and other sores. Dabbing tea tree oil onto the sores with a cotton swab can help the sores heal and prevent infection. Many local MD and DC dentist offices often prescribe these herbal remedies to treat the minor issue at home and saving a trip to the office.

Starting the Semester and Introducting Natural Allie

Classes start on Thursday!  We are thrilled and ready for the spring semester.  There is much to plan for the spring -- construction, planting, activities and fun!  Please check out the facebook poll to tell us when you are available for open work hours. Right now, it looks like we might be sticking with Mon and Thurs evenings -- but lets us know what you think. Also, if you are interested in taking classes in the garden through the Institute of Applied Agriculture, contact Professor Ellen Polishuk at
We are happy to introduce a new member of the blog team: Natural Allie.  She will be sharing with us information about the benefits of holistic oral health and overall natural well-being.

Allie's bio: My name is Allison Brooks and I am a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. I earned my B.S. in Biomedical Anthropology and have continued my research to work towards a completed ethnography. I mainly focus on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but I do branch off into other fields of anthropology. This is why I  LOVE to talk about the benefits of certain natural herbs and plants in the treatment/prevention of certain ailments.

Are you interested in getting more involved?  Please let us know by contacting us at

Friday, January 6, 2012

Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers

This just in: Montgomery Parks is now accepting scholarships applications from current students and recent grads who are interested in attending the Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers symposium at Brookside Gardens on Friday February 24th, 2012 from 8:30am-4:00pm!

The third and final food-focused symposiums will highlight innovative approaches to feeding the world's population and feature the following (incredibly inspirational) speakers:

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit their application, along with a 200-word statement of interest, and a copy of their resume and transcripts (unofficial accepted), to Adult Education Programs Manager Mark Richardson at by January 16, 2012.

For application and further information about the event, visit Brookside Gardens: Green Matters

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here's another one of interest

Here is a great (and free) opportunity to learn more about composting and urban agriculture:
DC Master Composter Course 2012
February 7th- March 6th                                                              
Wednesday’s  6:30-8:30pm
Columbia Heights Recreation Center: 1480 Girard Street, Northwest           
For more information or to register contact:             

Happy New Year: Opportunities in 2012

Happy New Year everyone!  We are eager to get back in the garden with the start of the Spring 2012 semester at the end of Jan.  In the mean time, we have come across some exciting opportunities that are worth checking out.
  • CASA 13th ANNUAL CONFERENCE Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality (Jan 13-14)
  • Annie’s Project - Farm Management Classes for Women at Eight Sites in Maryland and Delaware
  • Support Rooting DC 2012 with Thursdays Nonprofits Profit at Madam's Organ: January 12th, 2012 from 5-8 pm at Madam's Organ, 2461 18th St NW in Adams Morgan
  • Rooting DC (Feb 18)
  • Maryland Master Gardening Program: The class starts on March 5 and runs every Monday and Wednesday evening until May 9.  For more info, contact Esther Mitchell at
Enjoy the winter break everyone!  Stay tuned for updates about the Public Health Garden, ways to get involved this semester, and opportunities for leadership roles in the PHG!