This year, 82 garden plots will be staked for use by residents of family and graduate housing at UGA. For more than 10 years, University Housing has tilled and prepared a community garden for residents to grow seasonal vegetables.
Each year, depending on the spring weather, the entire garden is tilled and prepared for the planting season. Plots are assigned on a first-come, first-given basis and are done by “staking a claim.” Residents line up at the family and graduate housing office on the appointed day and are given a stake to select the spot of their choice in the garden.
“Each year as many as 50 residents share space in the community garden behind Building Q on Rogers Road,” said Kim Ellis, assistant director for family and graduate housing and coordinator for sustainability at University Housing. “In 2011, all garden plots, measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, were used.”
Once residents stake their plots, they prepare for planting. Compost is provided in the area, and the garden also has a water source nearby.
“The residents mostly grow vegetables to serve for family meals, but there are some flowers there, too,” Ellis said. “Last year, there was an area of beautiful sunflowers. It is a project that family and graduate housing and the residents truly cherish.”
The residents have varied experience with gardening, from seasoned veterans such as Shafkat Khan, a doctoral student, to novice gardeners like Kelsey Holden, a first-year law student.
“The community garden is great,” Khan said. “This is my third year planting in the garden, and this year, I plan to grow chili peppers, tomatoes, beans and corn.”
Holden is “new to gardening, but I’m anxious to get started,” she said. “I’m going to plant potatoes and watermelons.”