Organizers of Wheeling Jesuit University’s community garden hope the 15 different vegetables and fruits they recently planted will produce a bountiful harvest in the coming months.
This is the third year ,the campus’ community garden is a hot bed of activity, with planting taking place on May 22. The campus garden proves to be more than just a garden, but an educational tool for students and employees who help maintain it throughout the summer and fall.
Wheeling Jesuit’s food service provider, Parkhurst Dining, will use some of the vegetables for meals on campus once the crops begin to roll in.
According to Beth Collins, director of the Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit and garden organizer, this year the vegetables and fruits will be sent to local soup kitchens and the Northern Panhandle Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program, which aims to improve health and child development for low-income families.
Aside from tomatoes, peppers and lettuce, this year many other vegetables have been planted including, spinach, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, pickles, green beans, squash and cabbage. Fruits planted this year include watermelon, as well as peach and apple trees.
Also helping out again this year is WJU employee Gary Pastor. Pastor works hand in hand with Collins to map out a plan for the garden each year. His many years of farming experience comes in handy, Collins said, when it comes to planting, fertilizing and watering the crops.
“This garden is a true community effort. I enjoy passing along what I’ve learned over the years ,educating the next generation of farmers,” Pastor said.