Community garden’s bountiful harvest

Rumors of the death of the Saugerties Community Garden were exaggerated, say its members, who didn’t take too kindly to a report by this newspaper last month that described the plot as overgrown and the organizers unresponsive to requests for a status report. As it turns out, there was a communication mix-up, and though the garden may have needed some weeding last time we peeked in, the garden is alive and well. It hasn’t gone to seed — it’s gone to harvest.

The garden has grown to include 14 active gardeners, with a few more on a waiting list for next year, and Anna Berkheiser of the 2012 Garden Advisory Board happily reports that the previously unused land now bears—among other things—Brussels sprouts, squash, tomatoes, peppers, various herbs, greens, beans, peas, radishes, onions and cabbage.

And to hear her tell it, it’s no surprise there’s a waiting list. This community garden is about more than just produce. “The garden has offered us the chance to get to know our neighbors a little better, build a true sense of community, create a healthy space to grow, and learn great skills from one another,” said Berkheiser.

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The garden was established last spring and has thrived with support and donations from several individuals and organizations, including Creating Healthy Spaces and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Smith Hardware donated the fencing, which helps to keep animals from the garden.

Gardeners can rent 10ft x 10ft plots for $30. The fee goes toward garden maintenance, promotional activities and educational programming. The garden also features one “Community Learning” plot for educational purposes.

The SCG can currently be found behind the Senior Center on private land donated by Niki Swarthout. However, that may not be the case for long.

“Looking forward, we hope to move to a public location that can accommodate even more gardeners,” said Berkheiser. “Next year, we plan to build paths and create a more beautiful space with strategic planting. We also plan to expand our education program to reach a larger group beyond community garden members.“

For more information, visit the Saugerties Community Garden website at www.saugertiesgardens.com.

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