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Community Garden Experience Growing on City

The Cider Knoll Community Gardens had their official opening and some plots are almost ready for harvest.

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 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.”

Heather Gould June 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM
As a plot-holder, I'm loving the garden. We planted some plants we bought started, and some from seed. Some of the seeds haven't sprouted yet (and as a first-time gardener, I'm leaving the weeds, in case they're really my squash) Next year I know I'll have a spot (hopefully) and will start my plants from seed early on, so I won't have to plant seeds. We have red peppers, cantaloupe (my 4 year old's favorite), pumpkins & carrots. I'm not holding my breath for the squash, they were planted memorial day weekend, and still nothing. I'm hoping actually growing the produce will incite my kids to eat them!!
Concerned Mother June 25, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Just keep in mind that with the cantaloupe and carrots, those are extremely hard to grow in this area. Also, the pumpkins spread like mad and could overtake the garden. Best of luck to you, gardening is fun and my kids enjoy picking and eating from our garden all summer long!
Rita Pblio June 28, 2012 at 10:23 AM
That's so nice, I like to participate too.
Pat Nelson July 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM
As a plot-holder, I'd like to offer my thanks to the city, all the companies who donated, and the individuals who volunteered their time to help us realize our goal of a community garden! It's been (and continues to be) a wonderful experience.

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