Starting a Community Garden

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Volunteers  planting rows of sunflowers at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens on Saturday.  Part of the 12 by 80 foot bed of flowers was set aside to create a 8 by 10 foot sunflower house for children, and possibly some adults 😉 , to enjoy.

This has been a wonderful and very hectic time. This week alone I was on WAMC talking about the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens with Barbara Glaser, which resulted in a 10K donation! Amazing.

We also did lots of work getting the groundwork for the gardens started.  The field was partially graded, we measured for the sunflower house, which is a play area for children and we worked on restoring the shed where our tools will be stored.

I’ve been welcoming gardeners as the applications for plots come in, buying supplies, organizing, and pretty much loving all of it.

There were many steps to reach this point and there’s still much to do, but I wanted to start blogging again and tell you about the sunflowers we planted yesterday and our programming plans.

This year we are building about 50 of the 200 raised garden beds possible.  This means there was room in the garden for planting something dramatic, cheerful that could lend itself to program possibilities.   Our choice: Sunflowers.

On Saturday, a group of about a dozen volunteers – including girl scouts – came to the farm and planted a 12 foot wide and 80 foot long strip with rows of orange and yellow sunflowers from Johnny’s Seeds.  Near the center, we left a 10×8 foot rectangular space empty and created a secret doorway on one side for children to enter. Along the room’s sides we planted 3 rows of sunflowers extra close.

When they grow, these sunflowers will be the walls of the playhouse, the sky is the roof and the ground will be covered with wood chips. Straw bales might be added for seating. Or maybe a child size picnic table and some toys will be set up.

When the sunflowers reach a height of about a foot, morning glories will be planted at the entrance and trained to create an arched roof and tunnel-like passageway.


Other ideas around the sunflowers theme this summer include family programming where gardeners of all ages can learn about sunflower botany, what sunflowers like to grow, create artworks, paint plein air, keep a journal, and growth chart and make bird treats.

We will also have a grow the tallest sunflower contest.

And an end of summer art show with a garden theme.

If you are interested in participating or having a raised bed in the garden, get in touch. The beds are going fast but there are still some available.  For more information, visit:



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