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SEPTEMBER 2009 UPDATE HOME
More September Features:

Kozma's reseach is wave of future
Archaeology camp
Guaranteed Internship
TIGUrS take root
Autism research

VIEW UPDATE ARCHIVE

February 2010 Briefs

Bygone Days, The 1940s had its share of ups and downs with celebrity visit, WW II. Read more

Brain Drain? Healthy lunch habits can mean a more productive day at the office. Read more

Ring Container Technologies Inc. has made a $300,000 gift to establish the Ring Companies Professorship Fund in the Herff College of Engineering at the U of M. The Professorships will allow the Herff College to retain highcaliber faculty.

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TIGUrS taking root on U of M campus

By: Ann Brock

Sunflowers are one of many crops being grown as part   of the campus garden initiative. (Lindsey Lissau photo)
Sunflowers are one of many crops being grown as part of the
campus garden initiative.
(Lindsey Lissau photo)
Just east of the U of M’s Elma Roane Fieldhouse, where tennis courts once dominated the landscape, organic gardens are producing herbs, flowers and vegetables. The corn has tasseled out, and ears have perked up, blossoms have produced squash and vines tied to bamboo stakes are hanging with tomatoes. Other crops include green beans, peppers, eggplant, okra, basil and parsley. Marigolds and sunflowers add a golden splash of color.

The area, dubbed “The Oasis,” is part of the Tiger Initiative for Gardening in Urban Settings (TIGUrS) pilot project, an idea spawned by Dr. Karyl Buddington, director of the campus Animal Care Facilities and associate professor in Life Sciences.

“I was just thinking, ‘Well, money’s tight, and people could use some extra food. Why not make use of our resources to produce food rather than putting in scads of flowers that you rip out at the end of the season,’” Buddington said.

In the spring, volunteers moved cinder blocks to create the raised gardens, spread compost, dug holes and dropped in plants. All 47 gardens were planted in just two days.

Buddington sees the project as an educational one in which students will learn, for instance, that beans grow on vines, not in a bin at the grocery store. Also, some people will learn how to pick the produce.

“Of course, it’s OK to pick a tomato, but you don’t pull the plant up by the root. Some people have uprooted some of the vegetables, and we had to replant,” said Buddington.

Plans for the garden are to create a haven where students, staff and faculty can visit and relax. Trellises, benches and a solar-powered water fountain will be added. Planned activities include yoga, picnics, musical events and storytelling.

Buddington said that growing a garden is not difficult and can be very rewarding. “It’s easy to build a garden. It’s kind of like having an animal. You need to go out and look at it everyday and see if it needs attention. Give it a little bit of love, and as long as you’re doing that, your garden will do great. And it’ll give a lot back to you.”

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