Students Dig Deep into the Science of Four-Season Gardening

Students have been working together throughout the month of November to relocate the hoop house in Millbrook’s community garden. 

This process, which required careful planning and coordination amongst over 30 students and faculty over the course of three days, has not been done since the installation of the hoop house in 2013. The moving of the hoop house serves two important purposes: first, it will allow students to garden and harvest vegetables throughout the winter. Secondly, it will expose soil that was previously covered by the hoop house to the natural winter elements, which will prepare it for 2016 spring and summer gardening.
This process will also allow Millbrook to continue practicing farm-to-table despite the colder weather. Students have already seen the benefits of four-season gardening and the importance of the hoop house in this process, as they were able to harvest many greens for Millbrook’s annual Thanksgiving dinner celebration on November 19. Carrots, arugula, spinach, and radishes were all gathered and brought to the kitchen for the community meal.
Environmental science students are also participating in the process to dig deeper into the science behind sustainable gardening. They have created different environments within the hoop house for plants to grow, including traditional raised gardening beds and cold frames. They have planted seeds in the beds, cold frames, and the flat soil and will be tracking growth progress throughout the winter to determine which method supports the largest harvest.
The community garden and hoop house continue to be a stimulating indoor-outdoor classroom experience, which is rooted in Millbrook’s core values of community service and environmental stewardship. The garden exemplifies how Millbrook is using its natural resources for both education and sustainable practice development on campus. We are excited to learn the outcomes of the environmental science students’ experiments in the spring, as well as to see how their conclusions impact harvests next year. 
You can see photos of the community garden and hoop house in our photo gallery