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Campus Community Garden Thrives at Montana Western

August 16, 2019

Nolan Salix recently became manager of the Campus Community Garden in April 2019. Though he picked up late in the spring planting season, he plans for change and expansion within the garden this upcoming year.

Isaac Koslosky, the campus garden work study, is also an environmental science major with a focus in geology. During the past three months, Salix and Koslosky have worked together by moving over seven tons of organic material into the garden.

Koslosky also led an activity and campus garden tour this past July at X-CAMP, a hands-on educational camp for children ages 5-10 offered at Montana Western each summer. “Educating the students about the campus garden is not only beneficial for them, but for them to tell their families that even here in Dillon you can grow your own produce,” said Koslosky while reflecting on X-CAMP.

The vegetables that will be growing in the campus garden include potatoes, cucumbers, winter squash, summer squash, tomatoes, beans, peppers, lettuce, beets, carrots, turnips, kale, eggplant and possibly corn. These vegetables are currently in the campus cafeteria, and will soon be supplied there daily.

“A main focus this year is getting plants in the ground. We hope to expand the garden by putting a road around the inside of the garden so it’s easier to move and bring material, which will help keep diversity within the garden,” said Salix while explaining future plans this upcoming year.

Linda Lyon originally established the garden in the spring of 2010. Lyon coordinated with the UMW Planning Committee and cafeteria in the fall of 2009, with many outcomes in mind including the engagement of students and the community of Dillon, Mont.

In the spring of 2010, a hoop house, water catchment system, compost bins, and initial growing beds were installed. Currently, there are three hoop houses and two greenhouses (one made of 85% recycled materials and powered by wind and sun).

This year, Salix and Koslosky have altered irrigation and incorporated soil development in the garden. They would like to introduce a forest garden by bringing in fruit trees, as well as pollinators.

Their goals encompass maintaining and improving the campus garden through an overall expansion, engagement with students, Montana Youth Challenge Academy, and community members, and making sure the garden is a welcoming place for everyone.

Community gardening plots are available each season, which provide the opportunity for community members to plant their own garden and enjoy homegrown produce and flowers while helping to sustain a vibrant community resource at the same time.

Plots are available for just $20 per season, which includes watering provided by the Campus Community Garden staff.

If you are interested in a community gardening plot, please contact garden manager Nolan Salix at [email protected].