About us

Campus Crops is a student run urban gardening initiative at McGill University's downtown campus. We want to grow food on campus, by students, for students. We have been running garden behind the School of Environment building at 3534 University since 2007. In 2009 we started a terrace garden behind the James Administration building. We're really excited to keep improving these two spaces, and need lots of helping hands for the summer ahead! Get in touch and get gardening!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's about time to DIG IN!

Sunday May 15th was our first official day out in the garden, and it was a huge success!

During our DIG-IN! event, 15 tenacious gardeners braved the rain to come lend a hand and start up the garden.

To get our growing season into gear a couple of tasks needed to be done.

First, we needed to reshape the beds of our garden to maximize space and have better crop yields. This year we moved from a basic row system to a keyhole garden system. This is a permaculture technique that allows us to maximize space and rain water catchment in the garden. Before, the walkways between our rows used to take up over 40% of the garden, but not anymore! This is roughly what a keyhole garden may look like:

The next step was to build strong trellises for our vertical growing plants (beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) Last year we tried poles stuck in the ground, with twine or netting to support the plants. Maybe it was our soil, the materials of the poles, or that we didn't dig the latter deep enough in the ground... whatever it was, things had a tendency to droop over or fall. So! This year, we're trying some new trellising ideas!

On Sunday, our crafty woodworkers created a beautiful trellis made out of pine. It will be placed on the terrace space behind James Admin. Ten green recycling bins can fit within its frame. This is what it looks like:

We're going to build two other types of trellises on future garden days.
For our cukes, we'll have a long chicken-wire ramp like this:


And for our terrace tomatoes we're going to try and build an arch-shaped trellis made from PVC tubing sunk into buckets filled with cement. More photos to come for those who are
more visually inclined!

Finally, the biggest endeavour of the day was to remix our containers on the terrace.

To each of our bins we added about 2L of perlite to prevent soil compaction. We have about 60 containers--either recycled green recycling bins or large ice cream tubs--so you can imagine the immensity of the task! But our super troopers got to it, and mixed most of the bins.

Tasks for future gardening days: finish to mix the remaining bins, add compost to the new beds and the containers, plant seeds and seedlings, buildmore trellises, set up an irrigation and compost system, and operation knot-weed destroy!!!

Keep an eye on the ol' blog for details about each of these projects.

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