A pile of lumber, a hill of soil, a good supply of power drills, shovels, and buckets—garden bed building season has officially begun for CGC! We recently held our final workshop of the season at the Keene Housing Authority Building Bridges clubhouse. Representatives from our sites spent the morning learning how to build raised beds as well as learning some techniques for planting vegetables. The weather was beautiful and the hands-on activities gave us an excuse to play outside all morning!
We began the day building the garden beds. Our hemlock boards were locally milled and still very green, so drilling was a bit more of a challenge than it usually is. With the welcome warmth of the spring sun and a great group of people, though, we made quick work of building three new garden beds. Two of the beds were 2 ft.-high accessible beds that we moved to The Woodward Home. The other bed was a long 8 inch-high bed that stayed at the clubhouse for use by the kids there. We filled the low bed with a mixture of soil and compost, then moved into the second part of the workshop.
During the second half of the workshop, we split into groups and rotated between four learning stations in the garden. The learning stations introduced topics as diverse as seed packet reading, trellising, square-foot gardening, and companion planting. We even planted some seeds in the brand new garden bed! Our time together ended with a delicious sandwich lunch (food always tastes better after a morning of physical work, doesn’t it?).
There were many great moments throughout the day—learning tips for operating a power drill, laughing about the funny shape of swiss chard seeds, witnessing some “aha” moments as people discovered new strategies for gardening. Most of all, though, I enjoyed sitting at lunch and hearing the conversation among all the site representatives as they shared their ideas and excitement about their new gardens. Even after a long morning, there was real energy and community around the table. Although this was the last workshop for the season, the work is really just beginning—I can’t wait for all the garden-building to begin!