How to Start a Company’s Organic Vegetable Garden [Case Study]

It’s too soon to see the impact of free access to organic food on our employees’ health, but the vegetables are delicious and completely worth it. If someone forgets their lunch, they can walk right out to the garden and grab a quick snack. It’s healthy, convenient, and free! Plus, gardening gives you a bit of a fun workout and plenty of vitamin D while the sun’s out.

A friend of mine, Alexandria residing in the western State is sharing a valuable experience in starting out a garden in the suburb. Below is her accounts of her role and activities that she had successfully set-up.

I’m an operations manager at a small tech support company in the U.S. that works contracts for different clients. We’re a family­owned company with a good health­care plan, but offering a great plan means the company pays a lot of overhead. I recently discovered how much money we’re paying for a host of insurance claims and initiated a crusade with my bosses to get everyone healthy!

Our current venture is a company garden. We chose organic gardening because of the increased health benefits. Studies by WJ Crinnion and other scientists show that organic vegetables provide significantly higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non­organic varieties of the same plants. Organic vegetables are also significantly lower in nitrates and pesticide residue. They also deliver higher levels of important antioxidants (anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids), so this seemed like our best option.

The office building is in the heart of the city­ right next to a shopping center and within spitting distance of the interstate. We didn’t want to lease property to make this garden, so we dug up some green space behind the parking lot. Nature finds a way!

I sat down with several coworkers and we plotted out how we wanted the garden to look, what to grow, and how to keep it irrigated during the drought. We drafted up some diagrams on the computer, found some volunteers with trucks, and got to work!

Vegetable garden planting calendar.

Office garden project plan.

Detailed view of garden raised bed.

First, we began growing the plants in small pods on empty desks inside the office. I’m sure they received a ton of carbon dioxide from our agents staying, busy walking folks through their computer issues. Next we built up the raised plots with a gentle slope to help with drainage and filled them with a nice loamy soil.

Garden raised bed filled with soil.

Squash seedling in the office.

We transplanted them into the outside plots as soon as the little guys were large enough to grow outside on their own. Then we snaked an irrigation hose in between the rows to make sure the plants stay hydrated through the many droughts we have out west. We also added some mulch to lock in the moisture and minimize weed growth.

Raised bed garden.

A raised garden bed planted with squash.

Raised bed garden.We planted herbs in smaller plots around the large ones to stave off bugs without using pesticides and because there’s nothing like fresh herbs! It’s worked rather well and our biggest threat is the lack of shade in the hot, western sun.

Squash blossom.

Squash blossom.Squash vine.

Office tomatoesSo far the plants are growing quickly and the project is a very popular. Any employee who helps in the garden can take home fresh, organic herbs and veggies!

Squash harvest in a basket.

Google does it, PepsiCo, too, and Yahoo, of course. What? Corporate gardening, very trendy in the USA, which has started to bear fruit in Europe, too. From the leased company field to the green office – nature is finding its way into everyday office life. And this has a lot of positive effects.

 Source: wiesner-hager.com

I hope this case study shows you that you can really garden anywhere. If you live and work in the city, talk to your boss about starting a company or office garden. The worst he’ll do is say NO, but there is a chance, he just might go for it!