Gerald Hyatt pulled one long stalk of horseradish from the ground. A large plant, it was the first one he planted at UNCG Gardens on McIver Street three years ago. He rooted it, from part of a plant at home.

Now, it’s very productive. Just like the whole garden.

The garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers has 50 regular plots and two raised plots for those with special needs, says Dr. Susan Andreatta, an anthropology professor. A co-director of the gardens with Guy Sanders of Student Affairs, Andreatta notes the garden has contributed to the university’s mission of sustainability.

And, for many students, it’s a part of their educational experience at UNCG.

With most of the students away for the summer and excessive rains in recent months, the garden isn’t at its tidiest. But with the return of students last week and a big community workday approaching, that will change.

“Everything’s organic here, too,” says Kevin Deans, executive director of Dining Services. “No chemicals.”

The volume of food harvested here is a fraction of what his staff uses at Moran Commons, Deans explains, but it’s fun for the chefs. “It’s nice having fresh foods. We put an emphasis on local.”

This garden is as local as it gets.

Hyatt, the senior executive chef, and Justin Wilson, executive chef, each work the garden several times a week – weeding, watering and harvesting. Three years ago, they started with two to three plots. Now they have 10.

Wilson uses the peppers and eggplant in his stirfry at Moran Commons on Fridays.  The UNCG Music Camp kids loved the cherry tomatoes.

Hyatt says they will add broccoli and collards as a late season crop.

Interested in getting involved? The UNCG student Garden Club’s first meeting will be from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, Room 423, Graham.

Interested in a plot? Faculty, staff and student organizations can get in touch with Andreatta about availability. “We still have a few remaining for fall and spring semesters and then we will revisit it for the summer months – tomato season. We have application forms and more information on the campus garden web site

Interested in volunteering? The first fall work day will be from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28. The garden is at 123 McIver St.

Story and Photo by Mike Harris