Home gardening is on the rise and has been for nearly three years. In fact, 18.3 million new gardens were established during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) continue that trend by educating audiences about gardening at the Bulldog Garden in north Alabama.
About the Garden
The Bulldog Garden, launched in April 2022, is a 100- by 150-foot demonstration garden located on the grounds of the AAMU’s Agribition Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The garden is primarily maintained by Agribition Center staff Donna Gilbert, Eric Nobles and Tim Smith. Marcus Garner, an urban regional Extension agent, also helps to maintain the garden.
The Bulldog Garden serves as a demonstration site for urban agricultural programs, such as STEM in the Garden for educators. Extension horticulturist Rudy Pacumbaba, Garner, and the home grounds team coordinate to manage and implement these programs. In addition, audiences learn best management practices to establish and maintain popular gardening. Popular gardens include raised bed and plasticulture gardening, as well as methods for traditional garden plots. In addition, the Bulldog Garden combines several irrigation methods, planting designs, plant staking techniques and soil amendment applications based on soil test analysis.
The Bulldog Garden produces a variety of fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, okra, corn, squash, basil, watermelon and peppers, just to name a few. Thousands of pounds of fresh produce are harvested and shared with the public and local food banks each year.
Bulldog Garden Support
The Bulldog Garden received startup funding from the following organizations:
- Alabama’s Mountains, Rivers, and Valleys RC&D Council
- United States Department of Agriculture’s 1890 Facilities Grant Program
- Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education’s Professional Development Program Grants
- The University of Alabama in Birmingham’s Harvest for Health, a chronic disease patient intervention project
Other contributors include AAMU’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station staff, and Chris Becker, assistant director of field operations.
To learn more about home gardening or urban agricultural programs, contact Rudy Pacumbaba at (256) 372-4266 or Marcus Garner at (256) 541-0291. For information about the Bulldog Garden’s on-site harvesting and produce, contact Eric Nobles at (256) 600-6533.