Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Around the Minton Stable Garden
It's been a while since I zoomed out of my own plot, so I spent a little time yesterday focusing on developments in other parts of the community garden. Most members have managed to keep out weeds and stay on top of their harvests. Echinacea, beebalm, phlox, and other perennials provide a variety of colors among all the green, and marigolds stand guard on the edges of many vegetable beds. A few tomatoes have reddened, while zucchini and squash are concealed under their leaves. The vines of pole beans have outgrown their trellises and in some cases begun to latch onto any nearby plants. The skeletal remains of spring peas still hang in some places, but all in all, plants are benefitting from the seasonal conditions that have often seemed the exception more than the rule.At times gardeners find that their yield is much larger than they can enjoy themselves, and if they can't give away the excess, some of it goes to waste. In response to this as well as the needs of many others in our community, the Boston Gardeners' Council has begun a food donation initiative. Once a week, participating gardens collect any unwanted produce, which gets picked up and delivered to the Roxbury Food Pantry. Our system at the MSG involves leaving a cooler out the day before, locking it in the shed overnight and bringing it back out for pickup the next morning. At first the Steering Committee thought that at this point in the season we would not collect enough to warrant a pickup but have found the cooler to be full or near-full of zuchhini, swiss chard, and other goodies that we hope have reached those who would benefit from them.The efforts from previous work days are now evident on the edges of the property. Sunflowers planted by the Dungarven Road fence conceal the chain link from anyone looking out from inside the garden, though as you can see in the above photo, they have lots of company. Meanwhile, along the back near the barbecue area, the raspberries divided and donated by a few members are on their way to a fruitful yield.But some of the most interesting developments lie ahead. At the last Steering Committee meeting, we approved taking steps to restore and redesign a wildflower area over where the Minton Stable barn had once stood, in the southeastern corner of the property. The "Habitat Paddock" would contain wildflowers and native plants that attract butterflies and birds that may also populate neighboring Franklin Park. Although this zone appears to be somewhat established already, with echinacea and flowering weeds that have been spared by the lawn mower, what it really needs is a healthy layer of compost, carefully chosen plantings, and landscaping that works for both the wildlife and the people who would like to safely enjoy and learn from it. A subcommittee and future work days devoted to this project are just the beginning.