Tahlequah Community Garden offers more than a place to grow
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Campus, Local

Tahlequah Community Garden offers more than a place to grow

Published 1/30/19

Nikki Hurst

TNE Writer

Even though Oklahoma is currently experiencing colder weather, for gardeners it signals the time to start preparing the ground for their upcoming crops.  Since some produce have suggested planting times as early as February, preparing the soil is the foundation for any grower to get a head start on a good crop outcome.The Student Engagement office sent out emails to Tahlequah students inviting students to come volunteer on January 27, 2019 to help prepare the garden beds for the upcoming growing season.

“We are doing some jobs around the garden to help prepare for the growing season,” said Michael Payne, orientation and community engagement coordinator. “We are removing debris and some of the dead plant material we don’t want in the garden anymore.”

Besides the possible cost savings and nutrient benefits of growing local produce, there are more reasons having an area to plant and harvest produce helps not only the grower but community. The Tahlequah community garden does not use pesticides in the garden due to the contamination to the environment it may cause. When building a shed last year, only wood untreated by pesticides were used.  While the garden does offer supplies for growers to use, some of the growers recycle their compost to use a fertilizer for the garden as a way to save money and lower their waste.The garden also gives back to the Tahlequah community by reserving plots meant for planting produce for those in need to come harvest and for donating to local food banks.

“I think something like this is a really nice space for communities to have,” said Payne. “So I’m excited to get to use it a little bit more put in some work and have students and other community members out here helping with the garden and just kind of producing for the community as well.”

The garden also offers the community a place to add physical activity to their lives with the work that is required to prep and plant produce. Growing one's own produce can lead to more interest like cooking and nutrition.

“We donate some of our produce to the town so that is something we are looking at figuring out a little bit more,” said Payne. “I think it is going to be a mix of both individual’s having plots and kind of plots that are free for all and kind of community base plots.”

In addition to Payne, many student volunteers said they are looking forward to using the garden themselves or their organizations.

Cara Mangus, Bray freshman, and Renee Martin, Broken Arrow freshman, both said they may use the garden later in the year.

The men from Sigma Nu Alpha Gamma already have an idea on how they will use the garden.

“We plan on using it for our elders, so they can have fresh produce and fresh crops every week or every chance we get,” said Wrighter Weavel, Tahlequah junior. “So they don’t have commodities that are unhealthy for them.”

Even though this volunteer day has passed, Payne said there are more days to serve. Another opportunity to volunteer is The Big Event. The Big Event is NSU’s largest day of service.

“Be on the lookout for different volunteer days like this,” said Payne. “We will be sending those out.”

Payne said the best way for people to get information is to follow the community garden’s Facebook page.  

For more information, email Julie at tahlequahgarden@gmail.com or follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TahlequahCommunityGarden/.


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