Under a blazing hot sun and surrounded by 42 garden plots in various states of growth, the city's first-ever community gardens were officially opened last week.
The Cider Knoll Community Gardens is part of larger push to make Marlborough a more sustainable community, said Conservation Agent Priscilla Ryder.
"Members of the community kept calling asking if we had a community garden, so we knew there was interest," she said.
At the same time, Members of the Open Space and Recreation Committee and Sustainability Action Plan recommended a community garden as a need. The Conservation Commission agreed to use a piece of conservation land on Stow Rd. which used to be a turkey farm.
More good timing came when local resident Mitchell McLean asked for an Eagle Scout project and chose to build the fencing around the garden. Lynn Faust, who organizes the Grace Baptist Church Second Saturday volunteer crew, offered volunteers to clear rocks, and connected the conservation department with Reg Burgess, who was able to supply a tractor for turning over the soil.
"All of a sudden we had a place, volunteers to plan and coordinate the work and a man with a tractor who wanted to play in the dirt and donate his time! So we said let’s do it."
All of the garden plots are being used and most now have plants well into their growing cycles. The garden displays an array of gardening approaches. Some are surounded by flowers, others use elaborate staking systems to maximize the space.
Ryder said other help came from the DPW delivered, which delivered wood chips to the site; CMS Inc., which donated topsoil; and Demers Construction.
“It has been a most amazing community effort with everyone pitching in," Ryder said. “It is a real story of everyone coming together to create a community treasure where people are now growing vegetables and getting their hands dirty and eating healthier.”