Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Community Garden Work Parties!

This weekend, the Smith Garden experienced its first pair of work parties, both prolific, sunny, and attended by both new and familiar faces. Engineers for a Sustainable World helped us purchase our tools, including several pairs of work gloves, a wheel barrow, shovels, spades, a hose, a hammer, and more. Wood from Laura Rauscher of Disabilities Services and from the Springfield ReStore were rubbed with mineral oil, cut (manually!) to the proper size, and formed into three raised beds.

Spirited Smithies dug up mulch, making six ~12x4 trenches for which to place beds. This mulch was raked to build up pathways and provide some insect protection. Hungry Ghost bread and good conversation fueled the appetites of over a dozen volunteers. Be sure not to miss our next work party!


Hey guess what? Smith Community Garden is finally taking off! We'd like you to be part of the celebration-

Who: you!
What: Smith Community Garden Season's First Work Party!
Where: our new home- at Fort Hill on Lyman Rd. off of South St. (~10 minutes from Hillyer)
When: this saturday and sunday 10-3pm-come work anytime!

Why: perfect study antidote, full day's supply of vitamin D, participate in your food system, help the garden start up, socialize with 5-college and community members, you choose!

Not to be missed!

This weekend's project: making raised beds and preparing for planting
there will be groovy music, lemonade and iced tea, hungry ghost bread and more!

Hope to see you there~ please RSVP to chender2@email.smith.edu
Community Garden

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Garden Tour

A grand tour of the Smith Community Garden site was conducted- consisting of alums, community members, friends, staff, and students. On this tour, we evaluated the site, took soil samples, and made a plan of action! We have decided to proceed by making raised beds.

An abridged History of the Site:

Location- Lyman Road, down South St. (next to Academy of Music). Across from Fort Hill, next to previous Early Childhood Development Center, presently Traces Recycled Materials Center.

History- About 15 years ago, it was discovered that the Early Childhood Development building was contaminated with lead (from the paint). The yard, which was then a playground (and we were recently informed, once a rose garden), was then stripped of its top soil, filled with mulch, and left fallow until we came along.

Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us, both because mulch robs the soil of nitrogen (a major nutrient) and also, because the soil underneath is severely compacted, basically clay.

Our plan? To grow healthy, lead-free produce with enough space to spread their roots. We'll build six raised beds over the course of this summer, and use the old sand box for a shadier patch (perhaps for herbs or pumpkins), fill them with soil and compost (kindly provided by Smith Groundskeeping), and plant away!