Gardens in bloom on campus


Heather Barker

Plants are sold on the Memorial Student Center Plaza April 24 during Earth Day celebrations.

Marshall University is not only a home to students, but to plants starting life in several gardens across campus. As the summer season approaches, students and gardeners prepare for the vegetable season. 

Since 2009 Marshall has had gardens that have housed vegetables, herds, succulents and more. Angela Kargul, lead gardener for science and sustainability, said the purpose behind the gardens was not only to give students a chance to relax, but to gain an appreciation for where food comes from. 

“I think the gardens give students a chance to be aware of how fun gardening can be,” Kargul said. “It is hard work, and they find that out when they help out, but I think that gives them an appreciation for commercial farmers; the people who make your food, the thing you cannot live without and how hard they work for it, and the little recognition for it they get.” 

One group hands-deep in soil is the Gardening Club. Richie Combs, senior environmental science major, said the club is involved in a lot of the planting on Marshall’s campus. 

 “We run the student gardens, where we grow a variety of vegetables and usually harvest them every Friday when the weather permits,” Combs said. 

Kargul said that for many students, learning how to garden teaches them hard work. 

“They do not think they like gardening, because it is dirty, messy and sweaty, but once they see the end product they love it,” Kargul said. 

Combs he said gardening gives him a chance to see the efforts he puts into his work.

“Being able to grow something is being able to actively and patiently watch the progress of it, allowing you the satisfaction of seeing your work progress,” Combs said. “Having more experience with this makes me want to continue this practice even after I graduate from Marshall.”

The gardens are not just for the gardeners though, as the vegetables produced are then given to students and faculty on campus. The idea of Market Day comes from Kargul having an excess of vegetables and needing a way to give them away. 

“I had all these vegetables and did not know what to do with them so I had a basket and would fill it up and walk around campus and would say, ‘Hey would you like some vegetables?’” Kargul said. “Then we came up with the idea of Market Day which is once a week over at the student center. We do not charge but just ask for donations. We start in the end of May, the last Wednesday.”

For the Gardening Club, Combs said there is more offered to students than just the chance to grow the vegetables for Market Day, but they also improve campus and gain knowledge that can be carried with past students’ time at Marshall. 

“Our club helps Marshall University by improving on the aesthetics of the campus, providing students and faculty with food, benefiting the food supplies for the Marshall kitchens, providing students with socialization opportunities through club activities and providing students with knowledge that they can take with them in the rest of their lives,” Combs said. 

The gardens and club are always looking for more volunteers and will take any level of experience, Kargul said

“If you can handle the heat and dirtiness than that is fine, but if not you can always come by and help pick or harvest of to market day,” Kargul said. 

With the summer season approaching, and vegetables been planted, Combs said more students should join the Gardening Club and help improve campus and themselves. 

“I believe other students should join the Marshall Garden Club because the Garden Club provides a number of opportunities to learn and practice skills that will improve themselves and the campus, potential certificates for providing a number of volunteer hours that can go towards a resume, first picks on collected vegetables from the garden from those that work on Volunteer Day, and the accomplishment of seeing tangible results from your work,” Combs said.

Meredith O’Bara can be contacted by [email protected]