Campus landscapes good enough to eat

seedlingsEdible plants are beautiful, and beautiful plantings can be edible. That’s the idea behind a new student project called Edible Landscapes. Several student groups are collaborating including ReThink Wisconsin, the UW-Madison Horticulture Society, and the GreenHouse Learning Community. Julie Dawson, assistant professor of horticulture, serves as advisor.

The group is currently establishing raised beds to be planted with edibles at Smith Hall, Sellery Hall, and near the adjacent to the tennis courts near the lakeshore dorms.

beds1“It began as a grant proposal for the new green fund (offered through Associated Students of Madison),” explains Tom Boyden, a senior majoring in horticulture and member of the Horticulture Society. “Our proposal was accepted, but we will not be receiving funds until the new fall semester begins.”

beds2Since funding won’t come until late in the growing season, “we’re scrounging together supplies to start small,” he adds. “Currently, we’re going to be using raised beds that were moved from the Pyle Center due to construction. I run the rooftop garden there and was lucky enough to inherit the beds. We will be obtaining our soil/compost from the West Madison Research Station. The seeds are coming from the GreenHouse and F.H. King (Students for Sustainable Agriculture) stock.

“We’re planning on direct seeding most everything. Mainly fall/winter vegetables: beets, radish, carrot, spinach, cabbage, and greens, among others,” Boyden adds.