|New trees in the mixed orchard space at Sprout|
Sprout: The Des Moines Urban Youth Learning Garden at Drake University was established in 2012 through the work of environmental science students and a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. It serves as a community hub for environmental education and healthy food access for the neighborhood surrounding Drake University. Produce from the garden is donated to the community through the Little Free Pantry, the Boys and Girls Club, and to students and volunteers.
|Previous location on Forest Avenue|
The Sprout Garden was originally located on Forest Avenue, near the Knapp Center and Boys & Girls Club, but due to new development the Sprout Garden had to be relocated. The new location at 30th & Carpenter is a prime location as the gateway to campus. The move also offered an opportunity for a redesign and introducing new features. Through word of mouth and our previous work at DMACC, Abundant Design was selected for the project.
Work began with new site prep, grading and rainwater catchment to hydrate the parched lot and manage stormwater.
|Site assessment and beginning dirt work|
|Snow and rain helped confirm soil infiltration rates after construction|
|Final overflow - three rain gardens double as On Contour Swales|
The garden shed was next, along with the rain barrel, and a new gathering/presentation space. Almost stadium style bench seating was built with the limestone brought over. The existing gingko trees from the green space were moved into the parkway for street trees requirement. This conserved budget and gave us lower growing trees as not to shade the garden production areas.
The Drake facilities team members were great to work with, and getting the shed and arbors moved.
Garden beds were modified from the previous rectangular beds (seen above) to keyhole beds using the aged but mostly reclaimed lumber. These keyholes allow for easier access to the plantings while increasing overall growing area, all with a smaller overall footprint.
|Keyhole raised bed construction|
Wood cores will give them an almost hügelkultur effect, feeding beneficial fungi and helping to retain/wick moisture.
|Aged wood lined beds and fungal activity|
At the end of Season one had the garden space moved and a great start on the mainframe of the forest garden park.
|Arbor entry into the gardening area|
|Raised beds, in-ground grow space, fence with orchard behind|
|Teaching space with limestone benches off shed|
You can follow the Sprout Garden on Facebook for gardening tips, community resources and volunteer opportunities.