Work begins on new organic garden

Charles Quinn and Nina Creta were among the two dozen volunteers who assisted in breaking down the garden at the high school. June 10 has been set as the target date for the completion of a new organic garden.

Charles Quinn and Nina Creta were among the two dozen volunteers who assisted in breaking down the garden at the high school. June 10 has been set as the target date for the completion of a new organic garden.

A light rain fell, but that didn’t deter the two dozen volunteers from tearing down the Cornwall High School garden in preparation for a new organic garden.

On Earth Day, students in the Environmental Club teamed up with the senior French students to begin dismantling the beds and removing mulch and weeds. The wood is going to be recycled and repurposed through a local recycling center. The mulch was composted at the school.

Students also salvaged some plants which will eventually be replanted.
Working every weekend between now and June 10, the crew’s next job is to remove and replace the fence, which will be done as one step to consolidate efforts.

The end result will be a garden that will yield 40 percent more than its predecessor although it will be 25 percent smaller.

“You can get more out of a smaller space if you do it right,” said Eva Whorley, advisor to the Environmental Club.

Whorley explained the goal is to get back, from New York State, the organic certificate, which was lost when the adjacent parking lot was paved. In order to be certified organic, the garden must be 50 feet from the lot.

For a garden to be organic, no chemical pesticides  or genetically modified organisms can be used. Only heirloom seeds – those that have been passed down from generation to generation – will be planted. All crops will be indigenous to the east coast.

Aside from herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, the garden will feature lavender, as well as a bed dedicated to monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. The milkweed will be native to New York.

Julian Rivera, a sophomore and member of the Environmental Club, hopes the garden will be a thing of beauty – something others will admire and hopefully entice them to join the club or do something to help the environment.

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Jason Kaplan