All posts by Jane Lucia

The Community Garden is springing to life!

Several campus residents are eager to help plant the garden in this season of covid-19. With visions of fresh tomatoes and peppers, carrots and basil, one family at a time is finding joy digging in the soil and planning for the warmer months. Thank you, Naomi Schmidt, for turning the compost bin! Norman Schmidt is working hard to prepare a bed for carrots, peas, lettuce, and strawberries! He loves to watch the plants grow and see the results of his hard work. 

Simultaneously, the perennials are poking their way through the mulched layers, all on their own. The plants of the much sought after red raspberries have emerged with fresh leaves and canes.  Perky oregano, chives and lemon balm are greening the herb bed, along with the garlic, planted last fall.  Under a school-made milk jug cloche, last year’s parsley is growing strong into its second growing season. Biennials, such as parsley set seed in their second year before ending their life cycle. Seed is hope for the future! Slow but good food is on its way!

Community Garden Update and Invitations

Featuring our new Fence
Featuring our new Fence

Check out the new feature at the Community Garden! The black chain-link fence more clearly defines the growing area and is essential for providing a safe place for growing produce. The Sustainable Life Club is taking the lead in preparing the beds for the next planting season.

Join us on Saturday (10/8), 12:30 – 1:30. Come for 5 minutes or 25 minutes. Participate in planting seedlings to grow under a low tunnel yet this fall. No experience needed!

Also check out what else is “in season”.  Cover crops of oats and field peas are coming up in the first newly raked bed. Cover crops return nutrients to the soil and protect it from erosion. They boost the organic matter which increases the microbial community surrounding the roots. These plants will grow modestly in the fall and if the winter is not too harsh, out-compete the weeds in the spring. The oat plants have deep roots which help aerate and keep the soil loose. The pea plants will increase the nitrogen levels in the soil while climbing up the oat stalks. These plants will be pulled up and composted by mid-April making the bed available for your favorite produce crops.

Inside the fenced area, peppermint plants are perky, bright green and fragrant. I am confident you can ID this one! Pick a few leaves to put in your water bottle.

Please abide by these guidelines:

Close and latch the fence gate each time you pass through. Dogs must stay outside the fenced area.

Walk between the beds, not stepping in the planting rows, to avoid compacting the prepared soil.

Lastly, enjoy the Red Raspberries that remain ready for the picking. If you have not yet tasted these gems, hustle on over for a treat. Use your senses to find ones perfectly ripe for you!

June’s Journal

Just Planted! – last week of May

June 18- Germinated seeds tower over the weeds

Thank You Class of 2019, for the attractive labels seen in these photos! If you have not taken time to stroll through the community gardens recently, get a glimpse of the growth that has emerged by viewing dated photos of a single bed.

July 3- Serious bio-accumulation with 2 weeks of mostly sunny weather

June 18- potato plants emerge from 4″ under the soil




Check out what is happening in other raised beds also. It looks like our plan for a healthy harvest for the Western Mass Food Bank is right on track!

July 3- growing well after some careful weeding

June 18- baby squash plants

July 3- Sunflowers and Brussels Sprouts surrounded by weeds!
July 3- Sunflowers and Brussels Sprouts waiting to be weeded!

Community Gardens Promote Collaboration

This student perspective was written by Ryan Dwyer ’19

I had a great time planting the garden at Williston. A lot of preparation was needed. First, a group of around four students planned what they wanted to grow and what vitamins and benefits it had. DSCN6324Before planting, we weeded the garden boxes and added fresh compost made at Williston. On the day of planting, we gathered the seeds and executed our plan. Continue reading