Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bountiful Brookline's gardens are growing

Join us for the next garden workday
Sunday, May 1 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

We'll meet and work for a while at the GreenSide Out Garden (40 Webster Place at Brookline Community Foundation), and then we'll move on to the Goodwin Garden (on Goodwin Place), a BB garden share with Margo Lockwood.
So far this spring at the GreenSide Out Garden, located on the grounds of the Brookline Community Foundation, we've moved raised beds from the front to the side yard, rebuilt the compost bins, spread compost and planted peas, garlic and greens.
Ryan, J.D. & Ellen rebuilding the compost bins
At the Goodwin Garden, a garden-sharing project with Brookline Village neighbor Margo Lockwood, we began building lasagna beds, also known as sheet mulching, which involves putting down layers of soil-enhancing material  before planting.

With our hard-working volunteer crew and intrepid intern J.D. Hutchison-Maxwell, on April 2 we transformed the space in about six hours by digging up perennials for transplant and clearing out old vegetation. Normally old growth can be trampled down for the first lasagna layer, but there were plant-choking morning glories and invasive blackberry brambles that had to be torn out.

We laid out wheelbarrow-accessible paths and several three to four-foot wide beds, with narrower paths between. The final result will be nine or ten beds around 12-15 feet in length, and one or two shorter beds.

Jenny, J.D. & Margo evaluating progress

We had enough material to layer four beds, beginning with horse manure partly composted with sawdust and grass; then a thatch of ornamental grass clippings followed by a layer of leafy litter/compost, watering between layers. Then came the sheet layer of newspaper and cardboard, watered well to create a good seal (like papier-mache). The top layer will be mulch, but unfortunately we only had enough wood chips (straw or leaves would also work) for one bed. We will be back as soon as we have more.*

In the meantime we'll let Mother Nature, and all of her wonderful little organisms, get to work cooking up these lasagna beds into some (hopefully!) beautiful soil - a process JD calls "cultivated ecology."
GARDEN WISH LIST: Materials and Volunteers

*Our wish list for materials includes mulching materials like wood chips, straw, leaves, grass clippings, or compost; also a produce scale and tools.
With two spaces to work on  this year, we also wish for more volunteers. We have group workdays as needed and take turns with daily weeding, watering and, when the time comes, with harvesting and delivering produce to the nearby food pantry. It's fun, great exercise, a fine way to learn, teach, and share gardening know-how, and meet good people - all for a good cause.

Please email J.D. ([email protected]) to volunteer or help with our wish list. Thanks!

Operated by interns and volunteers, Bountiful Brookline's demonstration gardens raise organic produce for a local food pantry.  This summer we will sell a portion of the harvest to support Bountiful Brookline.