Horticulture Club is Growing – and Growing Good Things


Mike Gormley

Have you noticed the outdoor garden that appeared across from O’Neill last spring? Mr. Tom Stewart, moderator of the Horticulture Club, recently answered a few of the Blackfriar Chronicle’s questions about the garden and its student tenders.

Who started this garden?
Mike Cheatle, former teacher at Malvern, had initially come up with the idea at some point last year. Soon after, he asked Tom Stewart to help him with it. They reached out to all teachers who were interested, and then to students. The first organizational meeting was held sometime in this past spring, at that time only about 4 students were interested in joining. Currently there are about 15 members, primarily Juniors and Seniors. A very prominent member in the club is Drew Freed, a 12th grader. Drew Freed had a very important role in the building of the garden. Drew helped to build the fence around the garden, bring the mulch into the garden and took care of many of the crops. Drew came down numerous times in the summer to take care of the garden.

What do you grow?
Since the beginning of summer they have grown zucchini, squash, cucumbers and about 5 different varieties of tomatoes. They are currently figuring out what crops will grow in the coming months, such as lettuce and broccoli.

Where does the food go?
Over the summer, when the garden was first starting to produce, we donated the food to charities, including Salvation Army and Safe Harbor. Since school has started, all of the food goes to the cafeteria and served at lunch.

Is the garden high maintenance?
Over the summer, due to how much it rained, they only needed to add water twice during the whole summer. They expect that they will need to water it on a more consistent base going forward, and that this summer they were very lucky. The garden is relatively cheap to maintain. The wood that we made the crop beds out of was cut from a tree on campus, the mulch is donated and we do not see weeds all that often.

What are your hopes going forward?
Next year we hope to do the crop tomatoes going forward, they seemed to be popular in the cafeteria, the squash and zucchini seemed to be good, but we will try new crops going forward, such as asparagus and peppers. We hope to put in a few more crop beds in this garden.

How does one get involved in this?
If you are interested in being apart of the garden, talk to Tom Stewart or any of the senior members of the club, especially Drew Freed and Jake Anderson.