I have a lot to tell you about the community gardens. But before I do, I wanted to fill you in on what I did this winter.
From November to February I traveled across the country visiting community gardens, interviewing garden directors and gathering ideas that I could bring back to the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens. It was a 13,000 mile trek that took me from New York to Hawaii and dozens of extraordinary places North and South and in between.
I am delighted to have done this and equally delighted to bring what I learned home.
In our community gardens, there will be a lot of growth this season. We have new gardeners joining us, new plots to build and many, many ideas for programs and activities. One of the big changes is in plot sizes offered.
The first year, we built 37 4×8 raised beds and had 7 tall troughs for those with limited mobility, plus 6 in-ground plots measuring 8×11 each. When gardeners completed their application this winter, they indicated which of three size plots they wanted. Seasoned gardeners in good standing had the opportunity to maintain their existing plot or switch to another. The choices were 4×8 raised beds, 8×11 or 11x 19 in ground plots.
To accommodate everyone, some areas were reconfigured and now the garden has 43 4x8s, 15 8x11s and three 11×19 plots. This increase in the total number of leased plots in the garden to 61 was made possible in part through a grant from the Saratoga Foundation. Construction on the raised beds will begin as soon as weather permits. (I was there today and the ground is still frozen and mostly snow covered.)
In addition, a pergola that provides shade for the gardeners is being constructed thanks to a gift from the family of the late Charlotte Justin. Later this Spring, we hope to have the dedication of the pergola and the fairy garden exhibit of magical miniature houses made by the Girl Scouts set in a flowering garden of bulbs.
Other activities for the summer include a Gardening 101 class on Saturday mornings that coincides with a children’s reading and garden program and four workshops on topics such as growing tomatoes, harvesting, preserving the food you grow and herbs. Dates and details will follow. Also, potlucks and pop-up classes on various topics will be held throughout the summer. And, there will be a sunflower contest where anyone in the community can plant seeds (which are provided) and see who grows the tallest sunflower and who grows the flower with the biggest head. Prizes are awarded.
All plots for this season are taken. If you are interested in being placed on the wait list to garden at Pitney Meadows in 2019, send your name and contact information to Natalie Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you in the garden.