Goodnight Garlic: Permaculture Garden Preps for Winter

On Wednesday, October 21st the Sustainability Program hosted an event to plant garlic in the Permaculture Gardens located outside of DiNardo hall. Co-coordinators of the Sustainability Program, Dr. Inkyoung Kim and Dr. Xiangrong Liu, organized this event to carry on a tradition that started three years ago to encourage students to interact with nature as well as bring a focus on how the food we eat shapes the sustainability of our land here on campus. 

Student interns of the Sustainability Program collaborated with Lindsay Marchese, president of Filmmakers Society Club, to film this event. It was a wonderful achievement for students of different majors and interests to collaborate on a project that brought everyone together for one common purpose, showing love to the Earth. 

Professor John Kucich, the former co-coordinator of the Sustainability Program and one of the founders of this Permaculture Garden explained, “We tend to start in the fall with clean up and we start planting things for next year, the garlic is the first plant we’re thinking for next year. This is the garlic’s third year growing here. We started with planting organic garlic and get more and more each year.” One garlic clove grows into a bulb consisting of nine cloves, essentially multiplying the one seed they started with by nine. This process provides the garden with enough cloves to use for seeds and whatever is leftover is free for everyone to take home and use for cooking. 

BSU Geography professor and organic farmer, Ronald Maribett, led the event by sharing his knowledge with students about the history of the garden that he was instrumental in the creation of, “I am so grateful to be able to share this experience we’ve been working on for a long time now to bring nature, gardening and food security here to Bridgewater State University and be directly connected and involved with the cycle of life.” Professor Maribett grew up gardening and has continued that passion into his career by integrating permaculture in the courses he teaches, volunteering countless hours to help maintain the BSU garden operations and running Maribett Farm with his wife. 

Students began by loosening the soil before using a tool called a Gibble that pokes three-inch-deep holes into the soil for the garlic to be planted. Each clove (the seed) of garlic was spaced six inches apart from the next and once all the holes were filled in and patted with soil, they sprinkled organic fertilizer over all the rows. 

Next, they “put the garlic to bed” by covering each row with a layer of hay that will protect the bed from cold weather, rain and snow during the winter months. 

Come Spring, it is important to note that when the rainy season ends, you must become very vigilant as the drought will destroy the garlic. 

By late summer, each clove will produce an entire bulb consisting of nine cloves. The planting of this self-replenishing food is a key cornerstone of the BSU organic garden. Last year’s harvest resulted in 450 cloves and Maribett explained that each year, this number will continue to increase. 

One purpose of planting garlic is that it provides many health benefits such as its ability to remove fatty acids from the blood stream. It also helps repel pests from the rest of the garden which helps protect other plants. 

One hour of the event was live streamed on Zoom that included a brief history of the garden, a demonstration of how the garlic is planted and a tour of all three garden beds. To watch the recording of this event, visit Sustainability Program’s events page and scroll to the bottom or click here using password gr8kA+se. 

I asked Professor Maribett what he would like students to know about the garden, “The first thing I say to students when they come by is, ‘do you know this is your garden?’ and they go, ‘what? I’ve got a garden?'” He emphasizes that “this is a community garden, and it belongs to all of us. If there’s a tomato over there and it hasn’t been picked and it’s ripe, and you’re there it’s yours. But remember this, every output requires an input.” 

To inquire about your own input for the garden, visit the Sustainability Program’s Webpage , facebook or instagram. Follow the garden’s personal Instagram here. For direct contact to the program’s co-coordinators, email Dr. Inkyoung Kim at ikim@bridgew.edu or Dr. Xiangrong Liu at XLiu@bridgew.edu. 

Interested in learning more about sustainability? Ask your advisor about the Sustainability Innovation and Outreach Minor. 

 

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