Putting the Walking Whales Garden to Bed

Did you know that loofah sponges grow like giant zucchinis?

Do you know how to harvest the seeds from basil plants to grow your own the next season?

Or to get really philosophical: Why did last year’s garden yield tons of sweet potatoes, when this year’s was just a hot mess of vines?

Oh, the topics that came up when students Adnan Raslan (a fourth-year College of Medicine student), Matt DeSanto (a third-year College of Medicine student), Maleck Saleh and Sophie Shabab (both second-year College of Medicine students) and Ted Weber (a first-year College of Medicine student) from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) put this year’s garden to bed for the season.

These students know an impressive amount about growing and tending the fruits, veggies, flowers and trees found in the cooperative garden on the west side of campus.

In between shoveling compost on a recent evening, DeSanto gave credit to the Campus Operations grounds crew for helping with projects like building a wooden support for the water tank that PSR  bought on Craigslist last year.

“This year, they helped in building the compost bins and took care of cutting the grass as well. They have continually been our greatest asset, and deserve the most pronounced recognition. The grounds crew is full of outstanding personalities that we’ve been blessed to work with,” says DeSanto.

Self-sustainability is a major focus for the group, he says: “Not only do we enjoy eating our produce, we harvest the seeds appropriately to use them for planting the following year. With our composting bins, we took another step in reusing the fruits of our labor. Fruit and vegetable scraps, along with garden trimmings, help create a pile of nutritious compost for the soil.

“Lastly, our drip irrigation system is timer-based and waters the garden daily for us. We don’t think there are too many student-run gardens with drip irrigation and composting systems.”

Take a look at the photos to see what goes into shoveling out the beds, filling the compost bins, and generally tidying up after another growing season. Next year the process will start all over, and you can be a part of it! Contact PSR president Maleck Saleh, msaleh@neomed.edu.

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