By: Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer
Ah, springtime: warm air, walks around the lake, and summer on the horizon. Though the official start of spring March 21 still seems to be a distant date, there are signs of spring in the backyards and porches of the Greenbelt housing community and on the balconies of North Village Apartments. Some students choose to grow plants in their on campus housing for enjoyment or maybe for a few additional vegetables.
Tim Sharp, a sophomore Greenbelt resident, has mastered the art of planting; he interns at Greenville Organic Food.
“My job revolves around planning,” Sharp said. “I plan out when to plant something, where to plant it, and how much of it to plant.”
Sharp developed an interest in planting from his sustainability science classes at Furman.
“I always enjoyed the portion of the class when we talked about sustainable growing, so I knew I needed to get involved with that,” Sharp said.
Sharp’s involvement with sustainable growing includes not only his internship, but also his involvement with a nearby community garden.
“It’s not an easy job,” said Sharp, Garden manager, “but it can be rewarding when you see people who enjoy it and really benefit from working there and getting the produce.”
Other students who are interested in getting involved in sustainable growing have a few options. Sharp recommends volunteering at the Furman Farm on campus to learn more about food locally sourced literally in your own backyard.
“Furman Farm jobs vary from digging up beds, to planting, to watering and everything in between.” Sharp said. “It’s whatever they need done at the time but it’s very rewarding to come back and see the crop of vegetables that you planted successfully growing.”
Students who are interested in Sharp’s community garden project can contact him about becoming involved in the organization and production of the garden.
Even for the busy student who enjoys planting but doesn’t have the time to become involved in community gardens there are still options out there.
“Before I became involved in the community gardens, I planted basil plants on my cottage porch” Sharp said. “My mom had even sent me a care package with mushroom seeds.”
Plant seeds are very inexpensive and can often be found at local grocery stores.
A few seasonal plants to consider growing on your balcony or Greenbelt porch are: Arugula, which you should plant after the last frost and grow in partial shade and make sure to spray regularly to moisten: chives, which can handle almost any kind of soil and sun, easy for college students to handle: and thyme, a great addition if you enjoy cooking.
Gardening can be very rewarding but is also a responsibility, just like any other project. This spring, make it your goal to look into local farmers markets and see what kind of produce they have, you can always benefit from a taste of freshly grown vegetables and herbs. By mastering the art of planting on balconies or porches you can even grow plants yourself and save money on groceries.