Saturday, August 25, 2012

Starting A Workplace Garden

I'm very lucky that I work for a smaller company that's supportive of nearly all employee-based "extra-curricular" initiatives, especially when they have a health or wellness component to them.  A group of people want to install a gym in the warehouse using donated equipment?  Done.  Another group of people wants to pitch-in and recycle bottles and cans from the lunch room?  No problem.  We'll provide the container.  You want to grab some burgers and dogs and light the grill in the back parking lot?  Help yourself...grill and fuel are supplied.  The company has even been known to throw generous financial support behind the efforts from time to time.

This year, a few of us got together with the crazy idea of having an office garden.  We'd recently had the parking lot and sidewalks redone and the few garden beds near the building hadn't been replanted with either grass or ornamentals yet.  I think the CEO probably thought we were a little nuts, but he gave us his blessing and off we went.

This year's garden started-out small.  We hand-dug some of the old, possibly polluted soil out of a roughly 4-foot section between the building and the sidewalk and had a yard of fresh soil brought in (compliments of The Boss).  We each pitched-in some items from our own stash like seeds, compost, potted plants, trellising, irrigation equipment, and hand tools.  It was a real "grassroots" effort in every sense of the word.

We planted a few sunflower seeds by the chain link fence.  We planted a small Rose of Sharon sapling near the employee entrance.  And into the vegetable garden, we planted seeds for cucumbers, peas, watermelon, string beans, and a few tomato plants.  Periodically, a couple of us head out there for a half-hour break to weed and water and generally tend to things.

So far, I'd consider the effort a success.  We have two good-sized watermelons growing.  What crazy, HUGE plants those are!  I've never planted them before, myself.

We've harvested 4 cucumbers and there are 4 or 5 more growing as we speak.

The tomato plants have flowers on them and may actually fruit before the summer is done (we planted them late).  And the sunflowers look like they could bud out and bloom for us any day.

What a great way it's been for us to take time out of our day for some exercise and non-work-related fun.  We hope to be able to expand it next year.

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