Howlands Garden: Growing Sustainably

Posted on by traviscelp

The beautiful garden and composting space here at Howlands Landing sets our community apart from other camps. It provides a dynamic example of sustainable development and healthy living. Every group that visits the CELP program participates in hands-on garden projects and composts food waste that will be made into soil. The garden’s evolution has been driven by collaborative efforts of staff, students and volunteers. But how was it all started?

Companion planting with Liz

About ten years ago, a few legendary CELP instructors planted the seeds, quite literally, that have grown into the large teaching space we are so proud of today. It started with a modest potted tomato plant and a 5-gallon bucket of compost tucked out of sight. That operation migrated to the current space after the land was cleared of invasive fennel (which was then used as a resource in the new garden.)

Native plants and seasonal produce crops

After years of labor, change and improvement, we currently nurture:

  • Several high-yielding garden beds full of edible veggies, fruits and herbs
  • 8 beautiful fruit trees
  • 3 large composting units each measuring about 4 ft wide by 7 ft long by 3 ft deep
  • Vermaculture (a worm bin!)
  • A nursery made from an up-cycled jewelry case
  • A diverse collection of native plants
  • And even some rare endemic plants that are protected in our gated sanctuary from the hungry deer and bison.

Malva Rosa blooming in the garden, endemic to the Channel Islands

Venisha frees the tangerine tree from its cage

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