How many companies grow food to feed their employees? Solid Signal does. Not only do we have a garden, we have a dedicated group that maintains that garden. It’s called the Solid Signal Garden Club and it’s made up of five very dedicated “green thumbs.” When Michigan’s bitter winters give way to spring, the group plants, nurtures, and harvests a “salad bar” of vegetables and herbs. This has proven quite a challenge, as it turns out, but the Garden Club remains steadfast in its duties. This has made things more interesting – and tasty – here at corporate headquarters!
How it All Started…
… The Garden Club was born in 2017 as the brainchild of a member of the management team. Ever the inclusive leader, he wanted to implement a team building activity at the company. He came up with the idea to form a cross-company group to tend a company garden It worked. The club is made up of an inter-departmental team of several employees that includes Jacke Dziergas. This diverse team quickly showed their mettle when they tilled out a patch of soil behind the office and planted some seeds.
For Jacke, joining Garden Club was a no-brainer. She explained, “I got my ‘green thumb’ from my mother. We always had a lot of house plants and I have had some experience with gardening, but I wanted to learn more about growing vegetables.” Jacke’s plans to grow enough veggies to make a Mediterranean salad to serve at the next “Signic.” That’s a Solid Signal picnic in case you’re wondering, and they’re just one of the many fun- and food-filled events that we “Signalians” get to enjoy throughout the year.
A “Community” Garden?
The members of Garden Club all say they’ve learned things through their experiences. Another Garden Club member discovered that a group of deer from the nearby forest had been visiting the garden after hours. Those furtive, four-legged food filchers feasted on the sweet potatoes and carrots the team worked hard to produce. She said, “Another employee and her daughters made a scarecrow to scare off the deer, but the bandits prevailed. So far, no one has been charged.”
It turned out that the scarecrow strategy slumped, proving that it seemed better in theory than in practice. This forced the club members needed to up their game. Fortunately, they didn’t have to look too far to find the answer; it was in Solid Signal’s warehouse all along. The team put up a solar-powered humane animal repeller to help scare off the deer. Jacke added, “We’ll also be putting up a homemade fence to help keep the deer out.”
Other Lessons Learned…
… Club members quickly discovered that it’s difficult to keep a garden watered on company time. Each member are here 40+ hours a week, Monday through Friday. During those times, they’re all busy doing their job. While some members would stop by on the weekends to water the plants, it wasn’t always a consistent thing. Between five people, it also became difficult to monitor how much and how often the plants were watered, which runs the risk of over-watering them. These issues were solved after our committed gardeners attached a water meter to the hose-and-sprinkler combination.
Garden Club 2019
Michigan’s winter weather lingered far too long this year. The members of Garden Club didn’t let this hinder their hobby, however. They showed both creativity and pluck when they planting their produce in protest to the cold. A third club member explained, “We’ve been tending the seedlings indoors until the weather is ready to cooperate. Our projected goal is to plant around Memorial Day and hope for the best!”
“I Am Jake’s Ravenous Appetite…”
… And I’m excited about what should be this year’s bumper crop. My mind is filled with ideas of what to do with the tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and onions the group is growing. That same goes for parsley, thyme, oregano, cilantro, and any other herbs they harvest. Like I said before, it’s just one of the many perks of being part of Team Solid Signal. Happy gardening, everyone!