“Our garden has gotten people so fired up,” says Kate Weaver, a lead volunteer in a team of Gaiam employees who’s bringing a new organic garden to life at our Boulder, Colo., headquarters. “I’ve never seen so much heart go into anything.”
On Earth Day this year, more than 20 of us gathered around the plot of land behind our main building and broke ground on our first-ever Gaiam garden. What once was a field of weeds has been transformed into a tranquil circular plot of gorgeous food crops. At lunchtime these days, garden volunteers are often spotted beelining it from the Gaiam cafe out to the garden to pick some veggies for dinner, pull a few weeds, or apply a little TLC.
What makes our garden green?
We use organic gardening methods.
- We grow most of our plants from biodynamic and organic seeds.
- We use compost and manure to fertililize the soil.
- Instead of synthetic chemical pesticides, we use marigolds and other flowers as natural pesticides.
“So far we haven’t had much trouble at all with bugs,” says garden volunteer Everett Sizemore.
In the photo at top you can see how the circular shape and arcs of our logo influenced the design of our garden. (We’re leaning on the best photographer on our staff to go up on the roof and take an aerial shot … ) Our Gaiam logo is based on the Flower of Life, an ancient symbol of the connection between the Earth and all forms of life. We all believe in the message behind this concept, and the shape creates an inviting sense of balance in the garden.
We’re already eating our veggies!
We harvested lettuce and radishes in late June. “The radishes have all been very sweet and not too spicy — just the way I like them,” says Everett.
“I just had the lettuce with some Annie’s Sesame/Shitake dressing,” adds Kate. “Nothing else was needed!”
We’re waiting anxiously to pluck ripe treasures from all of our six groups of plants:
Herbs: basil, parsley, lavender, cilantro, chives, dill, thyme and sage
Leaves: lettuce, rhubarb and chard
Roots: carrots, beets and radishes
The Three Sisters: peas, corn and beans
Nightshades and crucifers: tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower
Others including raspberries, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and ornamental flowers
Right now we’re still picking the buds and flowers from the tomato and pepper plants, so they can concentrate their energy on growing.
Also growing in our garden: community
Garden volunteer Janay Hughes says the garden has helped people connect from all different departments at Gaiam and gives us a feeling of accomplishment. “It’s a great way to get people involved in more than just their day-to-day work,” she points out.
“Some of us are experienced gardeners, and others are completely new to it,” adds Travis Stevens, one of our garden project managers. “But we’ve all contributed ideas and different ways to garden.”
Four or five volunteers focus on each plant group, working together to keep each section healthy and productive. For those of us at Gaiam who don’t have our own gardens at home, the Gaiam community garden also gives us the opportunity to experiment with planting and collaborate with other gardeners.
Upcoming garden projects include securing our garden benches to the ground, expanding the drip irrigation system, setting up cages for tomato plants, and creating more structured paths into the garden. Watch for updates in the Gaiam blog!
Photos by Jackson Carson, Ben Bowes and Janay Hughes.