|Gardening Season Starts at Watkinson|
by University of Hartford Communications Intern Kimberly Bigelow
From tomatoes, to carrots, to lettuce and herbs, the Watkinson community garden is set and ready to start growing for the 2015 season.
Mary Hills Powell, a visual arts teacher at Watkinson, oversees the Varsity Gardeners, a group of students who commit their afternoon activity time to caring for the various plants. In addition to the biggest community garden in Hartford (the Watkinson Community Garden, operated by the Knox Parks Foundation), Watkinson also has its own campus gardens. These plants are grown, harvested and sent to the Watkinson kitchen where they are cooked for the Watkinson community or sold at a plant sale held by the Varsity Gardeners.
This year, Watkinson has some new plants and practices. The gardeners will harvest their first asparagus and rhubarb, two perennials that were planted two years ago. They will now be able to harvest them every spring without replanting them. Powell says they will also being to practice permaculture, adding layers to the garden soil, like nature would, instead of turning it. This will promote beneficial bacteria, fungi, and loose soil structure.