Blue Mountain Hospital garden drawing attention of community residents

In keeping with the spirit of self-sufficiency, wise land use and creative landscaping, Blue Mountain Hospital employees have planted a garden that will help supply produce to the BMH kitchen.

The garden was planted on June 12, and already it is flourishing with a wide variety of vegetables and herbs beginning to sprout beneath an abundance of green leaves. A homemade fence and irrigation system, along with the hard work of employees who have kept the weeds away, help make for an attractive addition to the southwest side of the hospital. Those involved in designing, planting and keeping the garden in good shape take pride in their accomplishment and look forward to a healthy harvest later this summer and into the fall.

“This was Jeremy Lyman’s idea,” explained Pharmacy Director Chad Moses. “Last year he jokingly talked about it, and this year he came and got me one morning and said, ‘here’s where your garden’s gonna be. What do you want to do?’ I still was a little bit apprehensive about it, but I’ve grown successful gardens at home so I decided to do it.”

Moses explained that he’s been tabbed, in jest, as the ‘Chief Gardening Officer’ but he’s just part of the hospital’s gardening committee. Other members include, CEO Jeremy Lyman, Director of Nursing Kent Turek, Food Services Manager Debra King, Katie Shum-way and Trent Herring. Burdett Shumway and Kasidy Lyman built the fence and prepared the ground for planting. Most of these individuals were involved in planting the garden on Friday, June 12. They also had some help from student volunteers at San Juan High School.

BMH Garden Fence… The fence around the Blue Mountain Hospital adds a nice touch to the area, and recently added grape vines will soon climb the fence and add an even nicer touch. Staff photo

The group planted bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, sweet corn, tomatillos (for salsa verde, house dressings, etc.), zucchini, summer squash, basil, parsley and other herbs.

“We just wanted to do something different and unique,” Moses said. “It was a nice landscaping idea, something for people to talk about and take care of. A few people jump in and help with weeding. Doug Card (Pharmacist) has been caught out there weeding. He’s just that kind of a guy. Burdett and Kasidy help and the White Mesa youth interns will be helping, too. We had some weeds spring up after the last rain, but they were taken care of. It looks really nice.”

Getting started… Trent Herring (L) and Kent Turek helped plant the Blue Mountain Hospital garden and
install the drip irrigation system that provides water for the garden twice a day for fifteen minutes. As shown in the top photo above, the garden is now flourishing. Courtesy photo

Other committee members say the garden isn’t very expensive. Once they got the fence put up and some other things like the irrigation system (designed by Moses) that was the initial cost. But they want it to look nice and clean. And every year from now on most of the cost will be the plants. Moses said it will be nice to have garden fresh ingredients in the kitchen. He also mentioned the garden is a concerted effort to bring everybody in the hospital together for something good.

Two weeks ago the committee also planted grapes all along the fence. They are also contemplating the possibility of adding more to it next year, such as an orchard along the west side of the hospital grounds on what is now just an empty dirt section. A lot of the landscaping around hospital is desert scaped and water wise. The garden itself is water wise. Everything is dripped out and the plants are watered for fifteen minutes twice a day. Moses said this is a good set up and they’re not watering a lot of weeds.

The garden was fertilized with manure from the Ivins’ cattle ranch and fertilizer from Shumway’s Country Cottage Greenhouse, in Blanding. All the plants came from the Country Cottage Greenhouse. The hope is to use the produce in the kitchen, and possibly sell the excess as fresh produce, as there will likely be an abundance of certain items.

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