We traveled to New Hampshire this week looking at what community gardens in the Granite state are doing.
There was a lot of see. In total, we went to seven gardens. I saw a garden set up on the grounds of a public library. A nice idea since there is pre-existing infrastructure such as a parking lot, bathroom when the library is open, and a ready source of garden reference materials.
BTW -With the Dewey Decimal classifications, gardening is under 635. 🙂
Neighbors helping Neighbors
In Keene, one garden’s purpose is solely to feed the hungry. And they do, “Antioch University New England continued to operate the Westmoreland Garden Project on space leased from Cheshire County, where they added a hoop house and were able to produce 1212 pounds of produce for The Community Kitchen in 2018,” according to the Community Kitchen website.
The Community Kitchen provides healthy food to low and moderate income people in the Monadnock Region.
In the ground this year are potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots and more.
In Durham, a 139-acre farm called Wagon Hill, was acquired by the town in 1989 “to preserve its scenic vistas, provide for future municipal purposes and preserve open space in order to provide for a healthful and attractive outdoor environment for work and recreation, and to conserve land, water, forest and wildlife resources.”
We were there on a rainy day and still dozens of people were out hiking, taking photos, walking their dogs, running, and enjoying the land in and around the community garden. It was bustling.
The community garden is nicely maintained and thoughtfully laid out with ample space for wheelbarrows in the pathways. If you look closely, you can see the seedlings of many different vegetables and herbs in the carefully weeded and mulched beds.
This was a very inviting garden with picnic tables, an arbor made from branches and fabulous field views. Definitely a place to come, gather, garden, put your feet up and enjoy.
They use a plastic mesh fence to keep out deer. Discreet, yet effective, it is barely noticeable and doesn’t interfere with the great views.
North Hampton Community Garden
Not far away, in a community garden in North Hampton, the atmosphere is quite different. The garden here is on a busy road and the highway can be heard and seen in the distance.
Even so, the garden was relaxing and felt homey.
The gardeners who grow food here created “backyards” in their plots with chairs where they could sit and watch the garden grow. I suspect the fencing around some plots also helps keep bunnies out of the beds as I startled several as I walked around.
One of the great pleasure of visiting community gardens is seeing how different they are and how they meet the needs of those they serve.
Every garden has a personality from the rustic to the formal.
And I always learn something and make notes of features that I may use in a garden one day. Sometimes it is an old idea seen in a new light. For example, branches for pea supports.
As I looked at this row, I was taken by how attractive it was and how inexpensive it would be to create.
Children could gather the branches and stick them in the ground.
And peas are a nice big seed for young fingers to plant.
Another plus is that sugar snap peas are sweet to eat right off the vine.
If you have a community garden you think I should visit, let me know.
I’d love to come see you in the garden, Natalie