If you were to close your eyes and envision a huge auto plant, your mind’s eye probably would not see petunias and squash plants. But, if you look around TMMK, that’s what you’ll see.
In our on-site garden, we’re growing cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and, yes, squash to help feed the needy in our community. In 2009, TMMK donated from our garden 3827 pounds of produce to God’s Pantry, a local food bank.
In addition, pumpkins from the garden are taken to the Toyota Child Development Center at Halloween for the children there, and field corn is used in fall decorations at the plant entrances and to enhance the facility’s compost.
On the more aesthetic side, annual flowers are grown in the 900 square-foot greenhouse near the 508 Utility Building.
“Instead of buying mature bedding plants from a wholesaler, we were buying immature plants called plugs that are grown at a contractor’s greenhouse until they can be planted in flower beds on site,” said David Peel, a specialist in Facilities Control.
“The greenhouse will allow us to grow those plants from seeds, as well as to propagate trees and shrubs. This will lead to cost savings.”
The greenhouse will use waste heat and water from the chillers in the Utility Building, making it even more environmentally friendly. Site-generated compost will be used in the greenhouse.
Facilities Control, which oversees the plant’s landscaping activities, also has enhanced its ability to grow trees and shrubs at an on-site nursery, leading to more cost savings for the company. Thousands of native and ornamental species, including redbud, dogwood and maple, will be grown into transplantable trees for use on site. Started as saplings, which cost a few cents each, the trees will mature on site for use in landscaping. Mature trees can cost hundreds of dollars. Here, too, the tree tenders will use plant-produced compost.