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Even though the Houston heat and humidity is in full effect this summer, the Campus Community Garden is still prospering, producing organic vegetables and herbs for donation to a local food pantry. Located in the Cougar Woods next to the site for the new residential dining hall on the west side of campus, the garden serves not only as a resource for produce, but also provides a place of relaxation and learning for campus volunteers.

This summer, the garden is growing corn, cucumbers, basil, bush and gita beans, cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onion scallops, sweet potatoes and sugarcane. Sarah Clouse, student supervisor for the Office of Sustainability, oversees the daily care and coordination of activities for the Campus Community Garden. Each day, she waters the garden by hand using a 100-foot garden hose that hooks up to the irrigation system. She said the recent rains have also helped to keep the soil wet underneath.

“We have been producing a lot of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers lately– they are loving this weather!” Clouse said.

They recently donated 52 pounds of cucumbers and 4 to 5 pounds of cherry tomatoes to the Manna House, a local food bank near Texas Southern University. Donations are made once to twice a week to the Manna House depending on the production of the garden.

Although the garden lost four beds temporarily due to construction of the new dining hall and experienced some flooding issues at the beginning, the issue has been resolved and the beds will be rebuilt once construction is complete. Clouse said she hopes students will be courteous of the garden by picking up any litter once the dining hall opens and will enjoy the aesthetic and intellectual qualities the garden brings to the campus landscape.

“I hope that the community of UH has at least one opportunity to come and check out the garden while they are here. It is a really special and beautiful place on campus. I think that learning how and why to garden organically is very important for our future, not only for a healthier lifestyle, but for our community and to help Houston become greener,” Clouse said.

Future gardening events are scheduled for July 22 and August 5 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information on the Campus Community Garden and to receive news on upcoming events, become a Campus Community Garden Facebook fan.