How to Start a Garden – The Hawk Newspaper

The SJU Community Garden promotes mindfulness, meditation, working in an outdoor environment and a willingness to get your hands a little dirty. The garden also serves a purpose by growing vegetables that are sent to campus organizations, like HawHUB, as well as greater communities, like Narberth Community Food Bank. The garden committee members strive to create an environment that highlights both sustainability while also focusing on social justice by encouraging a reflective and spiritual space.

The Hawk staff asked members of the SJU Community Garden’s executive board for their best advice and the most important essentials for first-time gardeners.

What advice do you have for first-time gardeners?

Do some reading and do some research about how much water your plants will need and what kind of sunlight you’re going to need. The watering and the amount of sunlight that your crops are going to need are going to result in whether or not you’re successful or not. Those are the two main things.

Bill Wolff Ph.D., Director

What advice do you have for first-time gardeners?

Get involved as much as possible. If someone is interested in coming to the garden and has never been before, you can very easily find all the information that you need on the SJU Community Garden Instagram page, to sign up for the email list to get notifications of when we do harvests. It’s a student run organization. People have a little bit of experience, but we’re all working together towards making the garden a more fruitful place. So don’t be intimidated if you’re coming by for the first time. It’s just a very welcoming place. We’re very, very happy to have first-time people come along.

Alex Manduca ’22, Associate Director

What advice do you have for first-time gardeners?

My advice would be to not give up even if nothing grows. Because a lot of the time that happens, and that could be for a bunch of different reasons. [Take] note of what you were doing, and keep trying, even if it doesn’t work out.

Lizzie Wash ’22, Associate Director

What are the essential supplies to have when starting a garden?

The essential supplies will include, but [are] Not limited to, nutrient dense soil, gloves, an eager, childlike attitude and enthusiasm, a love for fresh air, and the bountiful outdoors and a resilient nature when it comes to coming into contact with worms, bugs and other forms of wildlife.

Daniel Barry ’23, Garden Coordinator

What are the essential supplies to have when starting a garden?

Definitely dirt, water and seeds. Depending on what you are growing, plenty of space [is needed]. I recommend for beginners, you can probably just get a tomato plant or a cherry tomato because I know they’re kind of small but they also grow a lot of tomatoes. For them, you can even use a pot and maybe some sticks to help the plant grow and support [it] when it does start to grow.

Louis Kontaras ’23, Volunteer Coordinator

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