Spotlight on Community Gardens

I sat down with Kristin Baker Peck to ask her how things were going with her Community Garden this year. She's been at this for several years now (as have I), and we thought it was about time to compare notes!

Kristin Baker Peck

Have you ever gardened before getting a community plot?

No, not besides having a container garden on our porch, this was something new to us.

When did you first get interested in community gardening?

When we first moved to Concord, in 2002.

What made you decide to apply for a community garden plot?

For one, we could see it almost from our back yard, across Cousin's Field. It was so nice that it is in our neighborhood. When we got to know our neighbors, we found out they also were gardening there. Lastly, it was a perfect solution for growing stuff, that we couldn't grow in our yard, but basically in our back yard.

What do you feel are the plusses and minuses of a community garden?

Plusses: it gives me a good size space to grow vegetables in that I can't do in my small yard. I also like the community aspect. I get to talk to people with similar interests and also, I can learn from people, about what works and what doesn't, in the garden. It's a nice gathering place, as well.

Minuses: none really, except that the kids wish we could have the garden in our back yard.

What did you plant this year?

We tried some new things this year: brussels sprouts and eggplant. We have always grown greens, all the different lettuces. Also, we are growing several types of tomatoes - cherries and sun gold to name a few. We're also growing things that my kids like to eat: green beans and carrots. We've already harvested some swiss chard and spinach and arugula. We also like to grow herbs such as basil and parsley. My daughter likes flowers, so we also have a flower patch.

Have you been happy with the results so far?

Yes, so far.  The bugs are hard to combat sometimes, but we're working on that. It's alittle trickier with an organic garden like the one we garden in, but it's doable. My idea this year with the garden is to have things growing all the time. So although we're already harvested some things, we will plant more such as kale as well as some more swiss chard, spinach, some more lettuce.  We use some nutrients in the soil such as the "Neptune's Harvest" fish seaweed fertilizer. We usually use it once to twice a month and it seems to help a lot.

How much time do you spend in the garden each week?

Approximately 2 hours per week, sometimes more when it's particularly hot and dry.

What would you recommend to others on how to get started with a community garden plot? Also, what should a beginner gardener plant to have some good results?

I'd suggest new gardeners try planting all the lettuces or greens that they like, such as romaine, mesclun lettuce mix, and arugula as they are always successful in a garden plot and product quick results. Carrots are always fun. Tomatoes do well in garden plots as well as many herbs such as basil, parsley and thyme. Another vegetable that does very well and grows quickly is zucchini. Lastly, corn can be fun to grow as long as you have the room in your plot to plant at least 3 rows. All in all, I'd suggest planting what you like to eat, otherwize, where's the fun?

Kitty Smith, Spotlight Reporter

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