Community grows strong in garden

Published 9:11 am Monday, August 10, 2009

The University of Montevallo Environmental Club is organizing and creating a community garden located on the campus near the Montevallo Golf Course. Club members are working to have the garden ready for fall planting.

Dr. Jill Wicknick, associate professor of biology at the University of Montevallo and advisor to the Environmental Club, explained the purpose of the project.

“With our community garden, we hope to give people the opportunity to learn to grow their own food organically,” she said.

“We want them to eat vegetables at their freshest, to grow flowers and add beauty to our world, to meet members of the university and local communities and share gardening advice, and to enjoy the outdoors in a peaceful setting.”

Plans are for the garden to be divided into 8-foot sections: 4’x8’, 8’x8’ and some larger. The plots will be available at very low rental rates to university students and to community people for organic gardening.

Water will be supplied by pumping water from Shoal Creek. That water was tested in two different locations during the UM sponsored Earth and Sky Camp and was found to be of very good water quality.

During the summer, club members, with the help of middle school students enrolled in the Earth and Sky Camp, worked to enrich the soil by planting crimson clover and adding nutrients.

The beginning of the fall term should find the garden plots freshly tilled and nutrient-rich.

The Environmental Club is seeking additional funding, both in the form of grants and cash donations. Gardening hand tools—both short and long handles—would be most welcome and members have expressed a need for trellises, benches and picnic tables.

They would like some nice places for people to sit and relax when they take breaks.

Cash donations should be made by check to the UM Foundation and noted for the UM community garden.

Questions should be directed to

Another community garden, organized by members of the town, is in the very early stage of development.

This plan is to create a garden on the property of University Baptist Church.

The first phase is to be a children’s learning garden, which will provide a fun, kid-friendly setting for children to learn about growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating healthy foods. Eventually garden plots will be offered to families.

The plan includes adult education programs on sustainable gardening and nutritious food preparation, and service and learning opportunities for churches. For more information, contact the project coordinator, Leanne Pearce Reed, at 665-3230.

Catherine Legg can be reached at