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.