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July 16th, 2012

Gardeners at Work

Some of us simply can’t get enough of playing in the dirt. That’s why we created a Garden Club here at the Rodale Inc. headquarters in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. It gives us a chance to get outside on our lunch hour at least once a week and pull a few weeds or harvest some zucchini.

The garden was laid out to take maximum advantage of the sunlight in the courtyard outside of our employee cafe. Our Facilities crew built 10 4-by-8-foot raised beds for us, and they even ran plumbing out there so we can have two hose stations and a produce-washing sink. The plan includes a pavilion, to be added later, that will be used for al fresco business meetings and lunches.

Since the beds are adjacent to the path that some employees and visitors use to get to the cafe, they frequently stop and check out the veggies and flowers. If one of the Garden Club members is working in the garden at the time, they might ask a question or two. We’re hoping at least a few people people will be inspired to start their own gardens once they see how little effort it takes to get so much produce and so many flowers from one small bed.

Our photography editor, Patrick Montero, has been documenting the progress of our garden throughout the season. Here are some highlights:

These 10 raised beds Pack a lot of punch, considering they take up only seven-thousandths of an acre.

These 10 raised beds pack a lot of punch, considering they take up only seven-thousandths of an acre. Here they are shortly after planting this spring. The picnic tables will eventually be shaded by a pavilion.

Having a water source near your garden is a huge time-saver.

Having a water source near your garden is a huge time-saver.

Weeds can be a problem in organic compost, but if you give the beds two weeks between filling them with soil and compost and planting your crops, you'll have time to do two thorough weedings. Once you plant, apply a thick layer of grass clippings as we did, and the weeds will be minimal.

Weeds can be a problem in organic compost, as you can see above, but if you give the beds two weeks between filling them with soil and compost and planting your crops, you'll have time to do two thorough weedings. Once you plant, apply a thick layer of grass clippings as we did, and the weeds will be minimal. The bed full of weeds above is now lush with annual flowers, and nary a weed in sight!

One of our beds is hosting four 'Pink Lemonade' blueberry bushes, which will provide three-season color as well as food for the birds (and the humans!).

One of our Garden Club regulars planted four 'Pink Lemonade' blueberry bushes, a gorgeous variety that will provide three-season color as well as food for the birds (and the humans!).

Grace Montero, Patrick's 4-year-old daughter, picks up pointers from our OG Test Garden manager, Doug Hall, on how to plant beans.

Grace Montero, Patrick's 4-year-old daughter, picks up bean-planting pointers from our OG Test Garden manager, Doug Hall.

Grace is learning how to compost, too!

Grace is learning how to compost, too!

For more pictures of Rodale’s employee garden, follow our OG Behind the Scenes board on Pinterest.

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