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Farmingdale State College unveils new garden

Farmingdale State College will unveil a new sustainable garden on Saturday.

The garden will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Workshops on topics such as designing sustainable landscapes will run until 4:30 p.m.

Admission is free and visitors can pick up free compost teas for their own gardens.

The sustainable garden, a half-acre site carved out of the campus’ 4-acre garden, will serve as an outdoor classroom for students in the college’s ornamental horticulture program.

Spokeswoman Kathy Coley said the garden’s mission is to demonstrate and teach alternatives to typical garden techniques.

Rather than mining soil from elsewhere to replenish the garden, she said, Michael Veracka, chairman of the ornamental horticulture department, will improve the soil by covering it with winter rye, which will smother weeds and feed the soil. He will also apply compost teas.

In addition to plants, the garden will have vegetables such as squash and cabbage as well as a small orchard of fruit trees.

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