Watkinson's Community Garden

Garden Facts

List of 5 items.

  • Purpose

    To encourage students to learn about environmental sustainability and nutrition by growing, then eating their own organic food.
  • History

    This garden began in 2008 under the leadership of two high school students. In 2012, we built the original 14 raised beds, most of which are 4’x8’. We have rain barrels, several donated composters, and are also doing worm composting and leaf and grass composting on a larger scale. We also raise vegetables in a garden plot south of us in the Watkinson Community Garden, operated by the Knox Parks Foundation.
  • Funding

    This garden has been supported with grants from the Watkinson Parents Association to buy tools, seeds and plants. The WPA also gave the funding for the trellises created by the sculpture class. Additional funding comes from our annual plant sale and other special events.
  • Garden Workers

    Watkinson's Varsity Gardeners prepare and plant the beds each spring, then harvest the crop in the fall, and take the produce to our kitchen to be served to our faculty and students. Other workers include advisor groups during our biannual Service Day, fall and spring afternoon garden service student activities and two summer student stipends funded by two donors.
  • Garden Crops

    Herbs: Basil (small and large leaf), Rosemary, Thyme, Flat-leaf parsley, Fern-leaf dill, Fennel, Lemon grass, Chives, Marjoram, Oregano, Mint, Tarragon, Borage (a freely seeding, easy growing annual plant with vivid blue flowers and leaves with the flavor of cucumbers. You can eat the young leaves and flowers.), Agretti (Salsola Soda—needle foliage, boil young leaves briefly and serve with lemon and olive oil)

    Vegetables and Fruits: Apples, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cherry tomatoes, Large heirloom tomatoes, Peppers, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Garlic, Scallions, Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, Kohlrabi, Broccoli, Leeks, Carrots, Sugar snap peas, Trombone squash, Raddishes, Kale and Collards, Parsnips, Okra, Winter squash, and Green, yellow, purple string beans

Sustainability Timeline

List of 13 items.

  • 2016

    Mary Hills Powell, the founder of Watkinson's community garden, receives The Garden Club of America’s Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award for outstanding achievement in furthering the early environmental education of children.
  • 2014

    Faculty Summer Garden Supervisor position added.
  • 2013

    A natural form of pest control, Heteromask, was sprayed on the soccer fields to to control white grubs.  The spray includes nematode worms, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, that penetrate below the soil surface actively seeking and killing the grubs. 
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  • 2012

    Fruit orchard renewed with 12 apple and pear trees planted in the land between the parking lots and Feringa Hall.
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  • 2011

    Greenhouse installed.
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  • 2010

    Watkinson received the Ct Association of Independent Schools Award for leadership in the area of sustainability.
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  • 2009

    Began working toward eliminating all pesticides by July 2009.
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  • 2006

    Installed a high efficiency HVAC system, connecting all buildings with state of the art central temperature control system, allowing us to receive rebate from CL&P ($20,000).
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  • 2004

    Installed either time clocks or photo cells on all of the amphitheater stair lights, and all exterior lights so that they go off at night.
  • 2003

    Insulation was added to the Active Learning Center. In addition, heat conservation was improved when a drop ceiling and four new windows were installed.
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  • 2001

    Goodwin Hall received additional insulation in the ceiling.
  • 1999

    Auto energy on-off switches for lights were installed in all rooms on campus. This was done at no cost to Watkinson through a $15,000 gift from CT Light & Power. 
  • 1998

    Feringa exit lights changed to LED light; they have a 25-year life expectancy. Yields big savings in energy usage and labor. Other buildings to come.
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