Upward and Woodward

Woodward Home harvests 19.5lbs of food, is growing Keene’s largest pumpkin, and is working with Home Depot to build a brand new shaded garden patio with easier garden access for residents.

It’s always a pleasure to share a success story and the journey of the Woodward Home garden is just that. In March of 2012, Community Garden Connection coordinators visited the Woodward garden site-to-be and, at the time, it was hard to imagine the small space fitting six raised beds with space for residents and staff to commune and share garden experiences.

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Woodward Home Garden-To-Be, March 2012

As April rolled in, Amanda Pickering, Woodward’s Program Director, had finalized a plan for the raised beds and a group of Woodward staff, residents, friends, and CGC coordinators built and filled all six beds in a single day.

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Woodward resident Chuck Zurick builds a raised bed.

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Dan Vanderpoel, Chuck Zurick, and Amanda Pickering find a place for the final raised bed.

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Woodward raised beds are built and filled with soil!

The month of May hosted several planting events, on of which was on my birthday. Five residents, three staff, and I planted lettuces, carrots, beans, dill, and chives while chatting about our experiences and lack of experiences in gardens.

At that time in May, residents had to exit the building out a side door and with the assistance of a nurse, walk around to the back of the building and up a challenging set of stairs to enter the garden. The community we all found in the garden was well worth the trip – but it was soon decided that easier access needed to be created.

Woodward is getting closer and closer to realizing their dream. Next week, representatives from Home Depot will visit Woodward to ensure that the proposed shaded garden patio and new accessible garden entrance will be a feasible project. If approved, Home Depot will donate lumber and help construct the patio and entrance which would highly increase the ability for residents to visit and enjoy the garden.

In the mean time, Amanda, Diane, Dan, and various helpers have been weeding, watering, harvesting, weighing and tracking the productivity of the garden. Since July 28th, 19.5 lbs of produce have been weighed and consumed! Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and lettuce have been gracing the plates of Woodward Home residents and staff. Diane Kellner, the Woodward chef, hasn’t ordered lettuce in weeks, preparing fresh salads from their raised beds almost every day.

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And the vegetable that has everyone talking is the giant pumpkin! Part of Amanda’s master plan is to grow the biggest pumpkin Keene has ever seen.

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What are your garden goals this summer?

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About cgcstaff

Keene Community Garden Connections (CGC) is a collaborative initiative involving Antioch University New England's (AUNE) students, faculty and staff. Partnering with non-profits and service agencies in Keene, NH, we support organizations in the development of community gardens throughout Keene. We aim to use community gardens as a vehicle to increase food access, community wellness and landscape restoration. By doing so, we hope to complement other community efforts to develop a more resilient community that is working to mitigate our climate footprint and adapting for the future.
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