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Grow Your Greens
Are you looking for inexpensive ways to eat healthy foods? Do you have strawberries and blueberries from the farmers market but no salad to share them with? Well, your solution is simple—grow your own greens.
That’s exactly what Vassie Hollamon, MS, associate director of operations and maintenance, demonstrated at a UM Go Green-sponsored sustainability workshop in the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center Green Room this spring.
All you need are wood, seeds, growing media, and fertilizer to build your own salad table or box.
“Salad tables are a fun, healthy, organic, and inexpensive way to garden and support local eating,” says Hollamon.
By growing your own greens, you also reduce food miles—the distance produce, such as lettuce you buy at the store, travels from farm to plate. The fuel needed to travel that distance increases the amount of carbon emitted into the air, says Hollamon.
In addition to their environmental pluses, salad tables are ideal for those living in an urban environment with little or no room to garden. They consist of a wooden frame with a bottom that allows the water to drain.
Among the kinds of greens you can grow are arugula, kale, spinach, chard, and lettuces. Herbs such as basil, thyme, and parsley are ideal for salad tables as well.
The growing season is late March to November, and plants typically grow four to six inches within the first 40 days, producing three crop cycles within one season.
For the most successful greens, it’s important to pay attention to your growing media, says Hollamon. Garden soil is too dense and contains the seeds of weeds, so it’s best to use a combination of compost and soil-less growing media, which consists of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. This will supply the roots with nutrients, air, and water and physically support the plant.
For more information on how to build your own salad table, read the University of Maryland Extension guide.
Story by Tracy Gnadinger