March 31, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Life at the Student Farm | I Wish I’d Found it Sooner

A variety of greens grow in the high tunnel at the OHIO Student Farm.

A variety of greens grow in the high tunnel at the OHIO Student Farm.

By Richard Hardimon
Ohio University

Before the social distancing and stay at home orders were implemented, I spent my time as a work study student at the Ohio University Student Farm.

It’s a hidden gem of the campus, being located near the Innovation center, and I do mean a gem.

During this time of the month we would normally be planting and weeding various fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries, carrots, lettuce, fennel, corn, anything you can think of has more than likely been grown at the garden.

Though such a large variety of plants requires an equal amount of work. It ranged from weeding, tilling soil, watering, planting and general clean up to keep the garden looking beautiful. My favorite job to do there was harvesting the raspberries. It was a calm, relaxing experience, but I really enjoyed it because getting to taste test the raspberries was always something to look forward to.

That sums up what usually went down during the warmer months, as during fall and winter priorities shifted to clean up, last minute harvesting, preparing the high tunnel—a greenhouse of sorts, for our winter crops, and seeing what improvements or changes we would like to make to the farm.

This is when the work got a tad more physically demanding as with the ground frozen and it being too cold too plant we began to cut down the forest of bamboo that had begun to overtake the garden—and that was no simple task.

Bamboo has a tendency to grow like wildfire, and it had been some time since we last tended to it, so the majority of last winter was populated by me and my fellow workers chopping down swaths of bamboo. I assure you it’s not as bad as I may make it sound, but the process was a rather lengthy one.

Regardless, my time at the farm was time well spent and something I am grateful for.

Back in my home town of Cleveland I never did much gardening, and the only interaction I had with plants was mowing the lawn from time to time. Being able to help grow food that people will enjoy and getting closer to nature is something I wish I had done sooner.

I even have plans to start my own little garden using the knowledge I’ve been taught at the farm. So if you ever find yourself in Athens, Ohio, I encourage you to pay a visit to the student farm. It’s definitely something I wish I had found sooner—and a place I want to introduce to as many as possible.

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