Courtyard Gardens and Gardening Club – Capstone

Campus Courtyard Gardens & Sustainable Growers Gardening Club – Spring 2016 Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Capstone Class at Tompkins Cortland Community College – Student Post by Hailey

This semester for the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems capstone class we worked with the Wellness Council on the Tompkins Cortland Community College campus to plan and change the courtyard spaces on the campus into courtyard gardens. We also began the Sustainable Growers Garden Club as an extension of that project and that turned into another entity itself. We started with big hopes and grand ideas for the courtyard spaces.

TC3 Courtyard Garden Before
Courtyard Garden Before
TC3 Courtyard Garden
Courtyard Garden After

Because we started the courtyard garden planning in the middle of winter, there was no physical labor to do. We put our minds to work first, brainstorming then presenting ideas, landscape layouts, activities, and crop plans to the council. The realities of processes, formalities, supply needs and group efforts really humbled us along the way. While we were short on supplies and good weather, things began to feel stagnant so we turned our attention to the club.

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Sustainable Growers Trip to Cornell Botanical Garden

TC3 Sustainable Growers Gardening Club – Cornell Plantations Botanical Field Trip – Student Post by Indigo

Cornell Botanical Gardens
Cornell Botanical Gardens Welcome Center

A monk by the name of St. Bernard of Clairvaux once claimed, “You will find more in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.”. I couldn’t agree more with this, the idea of nature providing more wisdom and knowledge than any human ever could. If focused in the present and observe what is, one can find an unparalleled education that is objective in the most extreme, provided by mother nature herself. That is exactly why the TC3 Sustainable Growers Gardening Club decided to take a Friday afternoon to go on a private tour at the Cornell Plantations Botanical Garden by Cornell’s Adult Educator & Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Moss.

On April 15th, we all meet up at the Botanical Gardens mid-afternoon. We really lucked out on the weather, while it was rather cold and grey all week, our tour day is nothing but clear blue skies and sunshine! Although it is fair weather, most plants have yet to bloom and pop with colors, but no matter – there is still plenty to be observed.  We meet Kevin in front of the parking lot sidewalk, where a map of the gardens stands. Once acquainted, he begins to tell us about the intentional design of the U-sloped ditch in front of the lot. Various shrubs and plants just short of budding are arranged along the inside of the ditch, which he explains is carefully designed to drain rainwater on a slowly on an angle, in order to prevent erosion and the loss of soil nutrients. Even the parking lot was designed in coordination, so the water can drain from there mindfully as well.

Cornell Botanical Herb Garden
Cornell Plantations Herb Garden

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