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the students realized they had to get plants in the ground, or they
would lose an entire growing season.
Having missed the normal funding cycle for student clubs, Fiori
approached Jay Linnehan, MCC's Executive Vice President, who
was very supportive and provided start-up funds for the garden.
MCC's Facilities Management Department helped to build the
raised planting bed, trucked in soil, and erected a fence around the
By early June, the students had their seedlings planted. All they
had to do over the summer was water, weed and wait. And, it was
worth it their first harvest was small, but satisfying.
"We have a garden in pots on our deck at home in North
Andover," said Sullivan, "but it's wonderful to put something in
the ground and leave it to the fate of the elements good or bad,"
she said. "If it doesn't rain, you have to get out here and water.
Hurricane Irene blew down some of our sunflowers," she added,
gesturing toward the gigantic beauties planted around the
perimeter of the garden. "At home, we just move our pots inside."
Like gardeners everywhere, the students never knew what Mother
Nature would have in store. In July, something bashed through the
top of the metal fence and their pumpkin plants disappeared. "We
think it was an angry deer," said Gentile, laughing.
Obviously proud of their modest initial efforts, Sullivan and
Gentile said their gorgeous red tomatoes were their pride and joy.
They also were especially pleased with their eggplant, herbs and
carrots. Sadly, the squash they planted never took off and was their
only major disappointment (besides the missing pumpkin plants).
Flush with this success, the Sustainability Club has big plans for
the future. Next year, the group hopes to expand the size of the
garden and start plants from seed, using the greenhouse in
Professor Klein's biology lab.
They also want to start composting biodegradable food waste from
the MCC cafeteria. "We want to use the college's natural
resources as much as possible," said Gentile.
Kathy Register
Members of the MCC Sustainability Club and advisors worked hard to get the organic Community Garden
constructed and their first crop planted on the Bedford campus.