The Oaks Dining Center Roof is home to the “Green Roof Project” and other environmentally sustainable features, which include large sections of green ground cover with native perennials, a deck made of repurposed wood, and in the summer, a bounty of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The project is a partnership between the Office of Campus Sustainability and BGSU Dining.
This summer the garden was planned and is maintained by Alycia Bowerize, a BGSU Dining Prep Cook. The opportunity to work in the garden was offered to her by Executive Chef Marissa Riffle, to which Bowerize enthusiastically accepted. Bowerize’s planning process began with an evaluation of the site, checking what needed to be fixed or replaced, assessing the differing amount of sunlight each area receives, and asking about what has and has not worked in previous years.
The garden’s regular plants include, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, various herbs, multiple kinds of pepper, cucumbers, zucchini, and lettuce. The garden is also the home of several perennial plants like strawberries and sunflowers. New to this year, Bowerize decided to try to grow onions, brussel sprouts, bok choy, and Swiss chard. She also tries to select attractive annual flowers to put in hanging baskets to bring some color and compliment the reclaimed barn wood of the area.
A substantial issue that the garden had at the onset of this summer was the mint plants dominated their planting box and their root systems spread to other boxes, preventing the growth of the other plants. Ultimately, the root systems had to be sawed to be separated. The more common and less severe challenges Bowerize faces includes, replacing hoses, weeding, trimming perennial plants, and keeping the plants adequately watered to compensate for the elevated rooftop summer heat. When selecting the species of plants that will be grown on the roof, Bowerize consults with Chef Marissa and the other chefs about what plants they want to try to use in their kitchen, as well as, her own knowledge, experience, intuition about what she knows will be used in the kitchen, and personal preference.
Other than the kitchen, the produce grown is used for special events on the roof and is offered to administrative staff to take home or consume as a snack at work. Admittedly, Bowerize takes very little for herself, preferring to share the bounty.
Interested in seeing this little-known gem of green and all the other sustainable features on the Oaks’ Roof? Contact the Office of Campus Sustainability at 419.372.9949 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour while the weather is beautiful!