On Tuesday, April 1st Community Garden Connections hosted a pruning workshop at the Westmoreland Garden in conjunction with the UNH Cooperative Extension. The Westmoreland Garden has a bunch of overgrown apple, pear, and plum trees so we were happy to learn some pruning tips! George Hamilton of the Cooperative Extension led the workshop and around 35 people attended. George was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining as well. He showed us the tools of the trade and then pruned one of the Westmoreland apple trees as a demonstration.
The biggest take away from the workshop was probably the importance of pruning to get light into the center of the tree. Fruit trees that go unpruned become too tall and have too many branches to produce a good crop of ripe fruit. George told us multiple times that “The worst cut for the tree is the one you didn’t make.” That said, you will probably want some expert advice before you go hacking branches off the apple tree in the front yard. Here is a quick resource on pruning shrubs to get you started:
On Tuesday, March 4th Keene Community Garden Connections hosted a workshop at Antioch University. Gardeners, site partners, coordinators and faculty advisors got together to share gardening knowledge. The day was an inspiration and the most important lesson learned was how much collective garden knowledge we hold together.
Co-coordinator Sara facilitating a session a garden planning. During this piece, many participants shared their favorite pest control methods and companion planting strategies.
Hands on session led by co-coordinator Peter where participants started herb seeds. Many gardeners want to start their own plants indoors this year. Hopefully, this will get them going!
Making herb butter with basil, parsley, dill, garlic, lemon, salt pepper and butter. It was delicious!
Folks from Harper Acres, Building Bridges and Antioch Gardener’s planning their gardens together.
Keene Senior Center and Prospect place reflecting on last year’s achievements and goals for the upcoming year.
Monadnock Peer Support getting excited to get their hands dirty while discussing upcoming strategies and brainstorming ideas.
The workshop was a success. Gardening season is right around the corner and Keene Community Garden Connections is ready to plant some seeds, literally and metaphorically.
2013 was a banner year for Keene Community Garden Connections. The co-coordinators and faculty advisors have been working hard writing end of the year reports and future plans to our funder, The Rashti Foundation. It has been so inspiring to see how the CGC had taken off and all the accomplishments of our garden sites.
Thank you everyone!
It would be quite a long post if we listed all the achievements. Here are a few favorites and pictures of various happenings from last year. Stay tuned for more awesomeness is 2014.
Late Summer the CGC received a visitor, Roberto Perez, a Cuban Permaculture expert. Above is a picture of Michael and Andrew (co-coordinators), and community gardeners giving him a tour of the Harper Acres Garden site. Roberto spoke at the library about permaculture, a free community event sponsored by CGC.
Above is a picture of the 2013 Harvest Festival. A CGC tradition where all the garden sites come together to exchange stories, eat yummy food, celebrate achievements and connect with one another.
Shelly from Harper Acres teaches kiddos from the Clubhouse how to make an apple swan at the 2013 Harvest Festival.
New bed sheet mulched by volunteers at the Westmoreland garden site. Last year we donated over 1,000 pounds of food to the community. We want to increase that amount in 2014.
Harvest at the Westmoreland Site. This food was donated to the Community Kitchen, an organization in Keene serving free meals to community members 6 nights a week free of charge.
Harvest dinner and season recap dinner at Harper Acres. They sure are a bunch of dedicated gardeners!
Co-coordinator Marie helps garden site Rise put the gardens to rest with some super cute gardeners.
CGC Co-Coordinator Michael Hightower had a very successful, free cooking series this fall in partnership with the CGC and the Cheshire Country Conservation District. His grand finale was a pie making class. Community members came together to learn how to homemade crusts and different kinds of pies. They swapped tips and left with bellies full of pie plus 2 crusts to take home. Can’t beat that! Stay tuned for more classes this spring or summer.
Harper Acres ended the season with a potluck. Gardeners shared food and talked about the successes of the season. They already started planning for next year. Good work everyone!
The Woodward Home, through a generous Home Depot donation, is having a ramp built down to the garden beds. This will make the gardens more accessible for the senior residents who enjoy them.
The Westmoreland site had quite the successful season. Over 1,000 pounds of food were donated to community organizations. We hope to grow and donate even food next season. This picture shows sheet mulching, a technique to kill the grass and create new beds for next year.
CGC Co-Coordinator Sara teaches folks at Monadnock Peer Support how to plant garlic
Garden Friends -
It is that time of year again. Frost is upon us and we must admit gardening season is nearly over. Protecting the soil for the winter with a method such as sheet mulching is a highly suggested. Before doing so, be sure to plant some garlic! You will be delighted when it pops up in the springtime. Goodnight Gardens. We look forward to seeing you after your winter slumber.
One of my favorite things to do each week is to drive around Keene, NH and see how all of the CGC gardens are doing (Over 45 raised garden beds!). It always makes my smile a little larger. Here are some “before and after” pictures of our new sites (Rise, Benjamin Franklin School, Monadnock Peer Support Agency and Prospect Place). They are doing an amazing job growing vegetables and their organizations are enjoying the bountiful harvests!
This photo was taken before planting at Benjamin Franklin School :)
Photo taken late summer at Benjamin Franklin School!!! Wowza! Look at all that food :)
At Rise in Keene, NH, in spring.
Rise in Keene, NH, in late summer. They’ve been enjoying all sorts of fresh produce in their lunches at the daycare center.
These raised bed were planted at Monadnock Peer Support Agency!
They have been supporting huge harvests of greens, herbs, squash, tomatoes, beans, and much more!
Two CGC coordinators, as well as educators from NY, MA, NH, and VT went to Deb Habib’s workshop on School Gardening at Seeds of Solidarity Farm. Two of our new sites this year are schools, including Rise and Benjamin Franklin School. This workshop has given us many ideas on how to incorporate the gardens into curriculum here in Keene :) We are thankful to be around such inspiring people!
It was a long day that started in Brattleboro, gathering enough rough-cut hemlock for 18 raised garden beds. It took all day to get the wood, cut it to length and then deliver it to our sites. Each site will hold a separate bed building party, which will be held in two weeks! We cant wait to build these beds!CGC Co-coordinators from left to right: Michael Hightower, Andrew Herrick, Karen Alsen, Megan Kennedy
Our first workshop was a success! The new garden sites were all enthusiastic about this upcoming growing season and cant wait to start growing. It felt like a real community.
This Saturday we are presenting at Antioch for Earth Day. We will be presenting on garden site design and planning. Megan Kennedy and Andrew Herrick will conduct a workshop that will cover basic design and planning considerations when starting a vegetable garden. There will be two mini-lessons: one teaching about the universal, natural and human elements to consider when growing a vegetable garden and another discussing where to grow, this will include plant relationships, companion planting, space and shade. This workshop will provide beginner garden groups with the planning skills, knowledge, and confidence to design their own garden sites.
Here is a picture from out previous workshop.
This Wednesday is our first workshop with our new sites :) After a blizzard delayed our first meeting we are ready to think about gardening once again. We will tackle the complex issues of Site Design and Garden Bed Planning in a 4-5 hour intensive workshop with good food and new friends. We are getting excited to build more community gardens in addition to the 6 existing sites in Keene, NH this season.
Stay tuned to see how it went and get updates about our next workshop, Bed Building!