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Campus Community Garden gears up for spring

UMW News Bureau

As the first hints of spring begin to emerge across southwest Montana, the University of Montana Western Campus Community Garden is gearing up for another productive season of gardening and community education. UMW NEWS BUREAU garden bannerAs the first hints of spring begin to emerge across southwest Montana, the University of Montana Western Campus Community Garden is gearing up for another productive season of gardening and community education. Now in its third season, the Campus Community Garden (CCG) serves as a learning resource for UMW students and members of the community. The CCG complex now features integrated renewable energy systems, two brand new greenhouses, a native plant trail and over 20 community garden plots. The upcoming season will be the busiest yet for the CCG and its volunteers. Multiple plots are open for community members to rent for their own gardens. Garden representatives will have a regular table at the Dillon Farmer’s Market featuring a kid’s corner with fun, educational science and art projects for children. In addition, garden organizers will produce a variety of educational events including summer youth and adult programs that will be available for community members interested in chemical-free gardening and integrated local food systems. Garden representatives will be on hand to talk about gardening and hand out free seeds at the Annual Montana Western Earth Day Festival barbecue on the UMW Tundra from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. The barbecue will follow a town cleanup from 12 to 3 p.m. Volunteers will gather on the UMW Tundra just before noon to organize for the cleanup. Montana Western student volunteer slots are available on Tuesday April 10, 17, and 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the CCG. Students interested in helping out at the garden or who need to fulfill service hours are welcome to join garden organizers in building raised beds, setting up the greenhouses, planting and prepping the garden for the summer season. gardenCommunity garden volunteer days will be available to the public from May 2 through Aug. 30 on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. The volunteer hours will also be used as educational opportunities for community members wanting to learn more about gardening in southwest Montana. The garden will also sponsor a Gardening in Southwest Montana Workshop Series on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from May through July, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The series of workshops will offer an in-depth focus on the unique challenges of gardening in southwest Montana with an emphasis on growing food using environmentally friendly, sustainable production methods. Classes may include tours of local farms, greenhouses or other special projects. The list of workshops is as follows: May 8: Gardening 101 — Challenges & opportunities of gardening in our area. May 22: Seeds — Starting and saving your own vegetable seeds, hybrids vs. heirlooms, sources, etc. June 12: Soil Fertility — Building your garden from the ground up, natural fertilizers, composting and crop rotation. June 26: Damage Control — Managing insect pests, deer, drought and other mayhem. July 10: Garden Ecology — Thinking about natural relationships in the garden, including companion planting, attracting pollinators and more. July 24: Season Extension — How to get the most out of our short growing season with greenhouses, row covers, cold frames, etc. A Campus Community Garden Spring Jubilee will also take place on Thursday, May 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The community is welcome to tour the complex and help kick off the garden’s third season. Children are welcome and there will be vegetable starts available. The Montana Western Campus Community Garden is located on the UMW campus on the east end of Cornell Street. To sign up for a workshop or for more information, call Leah Grunzke at (406) 493-0544.
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