Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thinking Spring: Garden Plans and Garden Past

Even though it's still chilly and there's still snow on the ground, we've begun making plans for gardening this Spring! I may not be around to oversee the garden's progress this year, but I will participate in its planning. In fact, today we sorted some seeds.

It looks like a mess, but it's part of this year's seed stock!

Last year's fledgeling garden was pretty successful considering the relative lack of manpower and equipment. The goal was to create a garden much like one Caroline and family may have kept. Volunteers tended the garden weekly, and I harvested ripe fruits, mature vegetables, and some herbs on Fridays.

Harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables.

All yields from the garden were donated to St. Luke's food pantry. We had two reasons for doing this: first, our efforts could help feed people in our community. Even though our small gardens didn't yield much, it's satisfying to know we're making some sort of positive impact. Second, Caroline's great grandfather was a founding vestryman at St. Luke's, so we're keeping the connection alive between the Wright family and St. Luke's Church.

One Friday's yield from the garden early in the harvesting season. Everything was donated to St. Luke's food pantry.

Next to the summer kitchen were four small plots containing herbs like chives, basil, lemon balm, oregano, and mint. We also had beans in this area.  A garden like this would have been kept close to the kitchen so that whoever was cooking could have easy access to herbs whenever necessary.

Herb plots next to the summer kitchen.

Next to the outhouse, we had a few more plots of vegetables like tomatoes, pumpkins, kale, and squash, and we even had a berry bush or two. And when I say we had tomatoes, I mean we had a lot of tomatoes! We grew at least three varieties, including some heirloom varieties from the Seed Lending Library at Somers Library, a partner in this project with us. Library patrons were able to "check out" heirloom seeds to grow at home. At the end of the season, "rented" seeds were returned by bringing back collected and dried seeds from the plants they grew. Unfortunately our kale didn't make it. Some lucky animal ate off all the leaves before we could get the mesh fencing set up.

Ripening heirloom tomatoes.

We're still working out the details of this year's gardens, but the plan is to continue portraying the kind of gardens Caroline and her family would have kept while also helping those in need in our community.