UCF Organic Community Garden

Love of the outdoors, UCF students, and fresh, organic produce are just a few of many things that sparked the idea of creating an amazing space known as the UCF Arboretum Organic Community Garden. Since February 2009, the Arboretum has been growing organic produce on main campus and supplying that food to the Knights Helping Knights Food Pantry. Thousands of students have been served since then, and our numbers keep growing!

When the garden was started, volunteers spent many hours hand-tilling and adding fresh garden soil and compost to the space, which is located on the north east corner of the 7-acre Arboretum site. Months were spent making this area suitable to grow fresh fruits and veggies. When the garden was finished, it was slightly smaller than a ¼ acre with about 25 in-ground beds. Soon after the garden was built, it was flourishing with many different types of produce particularly popular with the UCF student body. The Arboretum soon began delivering produce to the recently opened Knights Pantry. Thousands of pounds of food have been grown, harvested, and donated to students, faculty, and staff on campus since that time.

Like all the plants we know and love, the Arboretum is growing! With that growth, comes the need for a larger garden. Currently, the Arboretum is building a new Arboretum Community Farm and Garden that will be a bit larger than the current garden. Raised planting beds are a feature in the new garden. We are expanding our blueberry production by growing the berries directly in blueberry mix in large pots lining one side of the area. Another great feature of the new garden is drip irrigation, which will greatly reduce our water use and contributes to the university’s water sustainability goals. The Arboretum staff and dedicated volunteers have been hard at work prepping this new site since November of 2018, and what a long way it has come!

The garden preparation will be completed by mid-March 2019 and then planting will begin. Raised garden beds will host cut flowers, and the herbs and veggies that students have grown to love. A separate section of the garden will be open land that we will farm larger crops such as corn, squash, and beans. Volunteers will be able to learn many different methods of gardening and farming, from propagation in the greenhouse to growing, cultivating and harvesting in the garden. The new garden is sure to be a thriving focal point of our Arboretum programs. We will have a grand opening of the new garden in late April to celebrate new possibilities as we Charging On into the future! We welcome anyone to come volunteer with us to get their hands dirty, and share in the garden’s bounty!

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