Community in the Garden: Another Strong Season
by Julia St.Clair, Agricultural Programs Coordinator
Another successful growing season has wrapped up in the Common Good Garden (CGG). The Common Good Garden is a section of the Tom Settlemire Community Garden where produce is grown for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP). CGG is run by a dedicated group of volunteer gardeners who show up with a passion for feeding their community. You can read more about the work of the Common Good Garden here.
Throughout the 2022 growing season, we were able to donate over 2,500 pounds of produce to MCHPP for use in their kitchen and distribution via their pantry, including winter squash, green beans, leeks, carrots, and a variety of onions. Additionally, some of the CCG produce was donated to the local New Mainer community and was used in the BTLT fundraiser porch dinner series at Vessel and Vine this past month.
We are lucky to have such a vibrant community around the garden – it would not nearly be as productive as it is without the commitment, hard work, and passion of the volunteers who showed up each week ready to plant, weed, deal with pests, or harvest a seemingly endless bounty of carrots. This past year we were also thrilled to have Jane Olsen, a Bowdoin Environmental Studies Fellow, join us for the summer and support CGG, working alongside volunteers each week. We also had support from other community groups, including a teen group from Through the Trees, who jumped right in, bringing a bounty of gardening knowledge, and helping us to prepare the squash beds for planting. We are grateful also for the generous donations of seedlings from Whatley Farm, Six River Farm, and other local gardeners. Many, many hands contributed to the success of CGG this season!
Tending the CGG this year was not without its challenges, including an unexpected frost, a delay in setting up irrigation correctly, a box of sad onion seedlings, and an aphid infestation in a row of squash, but such is the nature of gardening. Luckily, this volunteer team and other community members jumped in to support and problem-solve together. This growing season was also one of joy and surprise: a garter snake living in the squash patch; monarch caterpillars crawling around the carrots; and a pair of scissors lost in a bed at the start of the season recovered last week while cleaning up a plot. In the end, the CGG had another successful year and we are already ready to start planning for the next growing season!
The Common Good Garden volunteer crew meets twice a week on weekday mornings throughout the growing season to plant, tend, and harvest produce in the Common Good Garden. We are always looking for more hands in the Common Good Garden and so if you are interested in joining us as a volunteer next growing season, please sign up for the Tom Settlemire Community Garden newsletter by clicking here. Volunteers in CGG bring a variety of backgrounds and extensive collective gardening knowledge working collaboratively to problem solve in the garden. We have endless gratitude for this group of volunteers that contribute their time, knowledge, and physical labor to the success of CGG.
Once again we would like to share a huge THANK YOU to the CGG volunteer crew and invite you to join us next season!