As snowflakes fall on our towns and days and nights alike are cold and dreary, perfect pick-me-ups get delivered to our mailboxes. Of course there are the holiday greetings, the cards and notes that offer good wishes for the season and the new year and, sometimes, updates on the “news” from distant family and friends. But frequently wrapped around a bundle of cards, and bills, are plant and seed catalogues, which offer other new promises for the upcoming year.
In our family, my husband is the gardener, although I’m a dab hand at pruning (hmnn, editor=pruner) and at arranging cut flowers and greens.
Last year, he was inspired to grow potatoes, under mounds of straw, and watched that patch of his garden more than his usual vegetable plantings. Something was definitely happening under all that straw, and as it turned out he wasn’t the only one watching the sprouted eye sections take root and form new growth. We never saw what reaped the rewards of his attention, but something(s) enjoyed his efforts.
This year, who knows what will catch his interest, but the catalogues are moving around the house, from kitchen to dining room to study, wherever he is reading at the moment.
An announcement to go into the paper from the Brookfield Lions brought the subject to mind. The Lions Club is currently accepting renewal and new applications for its Community Garden, a major project it sponsors that is located at the Gurski Farm on Route 133. The success of this venture markedly increases from year to year, with the available plots being snatched up and a waiting list swelling. As a result, there will be 70 individual garden plots for the 2011 season, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, and an application, visit online at www.brookfieldctlions.org or call Dave Keefe at 203-775-3876 or Dick Cronin at 203-512-1881.
Mr. Cronin has been providing the updates each year, and he also shares how the garden came to be. The community project was the brainchild of Mr. Keefe, who recognized its broad potential, particularly since gardening attracts people from many different backgrounds and ages.
The stamp of approval came from all the necessary municipal boards and commissions, and then the club members got digging. Not only did they cultivate the land that would be planted (initially, 35 plots—some of the them suitable for “organic” gardening), construct a tool shed and establish a water source, but they also developed the administrative procedures that would be necessary for efficient management and sought donations from area businesses and experienced help, particularly an on-site monitor.
The Gurski Farm is a prime location. The town-owned property was once home to a dairy farm and was also used for growing crows as well as tobacco (way back when).
For those who have been making their own seasonal imprint on the land, it’s a reward for patience, perspiration and hope. For those who want a plot of their own to work, it has the potential to inspire.
Another Brookfield project is nudging me to take action. On my New Year’s resolution list is to follow Master Gardener Lorraine Ballato’s advice on how to get great results easily from container gardening. The Brookfield resident’s book “Successful Self-Watering Containers: Converting Your Favorite Container to a Self-Waterer” (available on Amazon.com, or just ask her where else) is the fruit of her ambition one dreary winter season past.