Summer Is Finally Here for the UAF Community Garden

Folks in the UAF Campus Community Garden happily welcome the warm weather and sunshine. The cooler, wetter weather early this summer set back blooming across the Interior, but now in the hot days of August, the Community Garden buzzes with energy and activity. Walk by the garden on the bridge and you will see one hundred raised bed plots filled with thousands of vibrant blooms on organic veggies ranging from Alaskan potatoes to tomatillos, from snap peas to zucchinis to strawberries, and everything in between.  And then there are the poppies, the sunflowers and little marigold plants that help provide natural forms of pest deterrent. The garden is in full swing!

Despite the swampy weather, this summer has proved an exciting year for the garden. All of the plots were filled by over sixty six individual gardeners and their families. In addition, The Alaska Summer Research Academy uses plots at the garden to give Fairbanks high-schoolers an introduction to growing plants. UAF Office of Sustainability grows tomatoes, cabbages, peppers, lettuce, carrots and pak choy to sell at the Nanook Grown Market on Thursdays throughout the summer. To support all of its activity, community garden volunteers helped to install a watering system earlier this spring. The new system runs the length of the garden and allows gardeners to water more efficiently with hoses, instead of hauling buckets and watering cans.

The space has also proved a prime location for bringing people together – people who love soil. Gardeners are quick to share information, trade seeds and give out gardening advice. The Community Garden invited local Master Gardeners to the garden mid-July to teach about adding organic nutrients, understanding crop maintenance, and natural forms of pest control.

Harvest time is just around the corner and gardeners will soon be busy collecting tomatoes and digging up carrots, potatoes and onions to store for winter. The Campus Community Garden is living evidence that for healthy, fresh, local Alaskan produce, we need not look further than our own campus backyard.

By Michaela Swanson

UAF Office of Sustainability Staff

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