Put together people from 6 to 60-plus years; students, teachers, parents, neighbors, experts and non-experts, hoses and hoes, soil and seeds and what do you have? The Traverse Heights Village Garden at the elementary school on Rose Street.
The garden, now in its second year, consists of 17 raised beds and four trellises all built by volunteers with mostly donated materials. Last year Emily Newhouse headed the program. This year she handed it off to Don Gray.
Hosted by the school, the program has raised money through a pansy sale this spring and received a $500 grant from 4-H. Pine Hill Nursery and others have donated seeds, plants and other supplies and tools. Plants were started from seeds by students in the classrooms during the winter and then transplanted to the beds south of the school building.
This project has been a learning experience for kids and adults alike; experts (several master gardeners) and total newcomers to gardening. Many of the plants started from seed did not survive to be transplanted outside – possibly due in part to several three-day weekends. Other plants died after being transplanted. At the last weekly meeting, we pulled some dead plants from one of the raised beds and re-planted it. Most of that work was done by Traverse Heights students. Watering and weeding and eventually harvesting also will be done by the students and other volunteers.
The gardeners meet weekly (except during Cherry Festival) at the school on Thursdays beginning at 6:30 p.m. over by the garden. Announcements and a brief presentation on a gardening related subject is followed by a work session. Last week we broke into pairs and did a survey of each raised bed: what kind of plants? How many? What condition? The beds contain peppers, kale, tomatoes, carrots and radishes, spinach, several varieties of lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, chives, green beans and sweet peas, pumpkins, squash and others I failed to jot down in my notebook.
In this short time, I have learned to plant carrots and radishes together and that mushrooms help break down rocks into desirable minerals in gardens and I am just beginning to learn about the history and goals of the project. I plan to do periodic posts this summer – with photos – on the progress of the Traverse Heights Village Garden. If you live in the area, have a family member in the neighborhood or just want to check out the garden, please join us this Thursday evening.