Touring the CES Home Demonstration Garden
The CES Home Demonstration Garden is located at the Cooperative Extension Service office on the University of the Virgin Islands St.Thomas campus. The current garden was started in 1984. In the beginning, there were just a few banana trees and small garden plots.Today it is now a complete home demonstration garden illustrating gardening techniques, use of native ornamentals, fruit trees and landscaping techniques.
Box gardens, built with either concrete blocks or lumber, can be used in small areas or where the soil is poor.
Raised beds are covered with black woven mulching material to conserve the soil.
Mulching techniques, such as grass clippings, leaves and the use of black plastic, minimize weeds while maximizing the water available to the plants.
The garden has gone from watering with a hose to irrigating using the latest technology known as drip irrigation.The irrigation system which is controlled by a manual timer drips water slowly to the plant roots by way of prepunched holes in the plastic tubes.
There are two Lehigh-type composting bins in the garden. The entire garden waste such as weeds, grass clippings, and small branches are chipped or shredded are used in the compost bin along with manure, fruit and vegetable scraps.
A rototiller is also used in the garden to prepare the areas for the box gardens and plots to be planted by turning up the soil and tilling manure and other organic matter into the soil.
Fertilizing with both soluble and granular forms of fertilizers is also demonstrated along with different application methods.
Many rare and native ornamentals are planted throughout the gardens.
All these different practices and management techniques are demonstrated for the benefit of the community. The gardens may be viewed by the community through group or individual tours by appointment only.