The St. Mary’s Garden Club, received $1,050 to upgrade the current composting operation and to install a rain collection and drip irrigation system at the St Mary’s Hall garden. The Garden Club will enlarge the current composting bins; virtually doubling the size of the current system, from 18 cubic feet to 34 cubic feet. New construction will feature pressure-treated lumber which will also extend the life and durability of the bins. Grant funding will also be used to purchase a special rain barrel and drip irrigation hose. Rainwater will be collected from the roof of St. Mary’s Hall into the rain barrel that will collect and distribute water to the garden via a drip irrigation hose.
Environmental benefits of the project include waste diversion through composting, the creation of compost – a valuable soil amendment, and potable water conservation through rain water collection. It is also hoped that these upgrades will attract more members to the Garden Club, enhance the educational experience of St. Mary’s Language House residents and showcase sustainable gardening practices. The St. Mary’s Language House Garden, authorized in the spring of 1996 and run by the St. Mary’s Language House Garden Club, beautifies the University of Maryland at College Park campus and provides Garden Club volunteers with experience in gardening and sustainable farming techniques.