Behind the R Building is a greenhouse. On the side closest to the building is the BC faculty garden. Inside the greenhouse students take care of their own plants, botany classes are taught, and desert and tropical plants live. On the side of the greenhouse closest to the road is the student garden, where even in the fall there are still vegetables growing: peppers are ready to be plucked, most of the tomatoes are still ripening, and the Moon and Star swatermelon should be ready to go at any moment. Lettuce, squash, ground cherries, tomatillos and a lone sunflower on the brink of blooming can also be found here in the garden. “Some crops prefer the cold,” explained Brittney Muslin, “the expert” Garden Club student, as described by some of the other Garden Club members. Muslin has taken several botany classes here at Bellevue College as well as at El Camino Community College in California.
The Garden Club meets year-round, but as of now they are preparing and planning for fall harvests and plantings. A handful of students meet in the student garden every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays and Fridays at 12:30 p.m. to do just that. They learn about plants and how to tend the garden as well as the more exotic plants which live inside the greenhouse.
Students can come to club meetings and eat homemade snacks from the garden, provided by the students. “We like to keep it light and organic,” said Muslin. “The food is from the garden here or from our gardens at home, or we just buy food from the store and make something to bring. Not like Snickers or anything.” Student Brian Gannon stated “I’m here for the dogwood berries,” which Muslin had collected from trees on campus for the club members to feast on for the day. Dogwood berries look somewhat like big cherries; they are light red and have dots all over them.
For fall, the Garden Club plans on growing mushrooms and other fall crops like carrots, beets and kale. They plan to have a native bed which will feature specific plants for the spring’s Plant Identification class: Botany 113. Garden Club member and ASG Sustainability and Social Responsibility representative Lana Mack explained that if students are interested, then the Garden Club might plant a coffee or lemon tree inside the greenhouse.
The Garden Club donates any extra food to Student Programs or the Boys & Girls Club that is just down the street from the college. During the summer, for example, the club had lots of food but only about three members. The club grew mostly vegetables and gave most of the harvest to Student Programs and the Boys & Girls Club.
Students who are interested in plants and botany, or are just hungry and looking for something to eat, are encouraged to attend a club meeting to learn how to garden and create a sustainable food source.