Laura here on the 2021 Report!
Edible Landscape Project
A productive summer for Jericho’s Edible Landscape Project (just north of 500 Brown’s Trace) Ann Gnagey reported she and husband Tom Baribault planted leeks, New England pie pumpkins, and about seven varieties of potatoes, all with fair yields.
New berry additions to the elderberries were purple-flowering raspberries and to the existing edible trees (apples, black cherry and serviceberry) they added twelve black walnut seedlings and two chestnuts. If you look toward the west, you can see the two chestnut trees just to the north of Kurt Melin’s (neighbor) shed. Since these trees are also favorites for rabbits and deer, they protected them with wire and mesh, visible from the road. Five yards of compost were purchased from Davis Farm and have been used to build the soil, giving the seedling trees a good start.
This past summer, TTJ initiated GRO-Jericho, encouraging neighbors to work together to grow more of their own food and build community at the same time. Reports here on three of the summer’s garden groups.
Brown’s Trace neighborhood gardeners:
Ann reports she and Tom have worked closely with four couples who live within a half mile of their homestead. Folks have gotten to know each other and share gardening chores, chicken, sheep, and pet care. This enables them to take vacations and have reliable help while they’re gone. Produce is shared when someone has excess and Ann encourages them to use their greenhouse to dry food and grow plants. The working relationships are good and Ann expressed satisfaction in getting to know each other better.
Pinehurst Drive neighborhood gardens:
Dave Clift reports there were five families invited to be involved in the gardening effort, planning to grow and can tomatoes together. As the summer progressed, it became apparent that everyone's growing season based on the type of tomatoes grown were different and there never seemed to be enough produce to do a large canning effort among the families. The concept of crop sharing was not entirely embraced, as the greater focus was on each individual’s garden efforts.
Dave shared his excess crops like potatoes, onions, peas and carrots. Lesson learned: being part of a neighborhood group caused some anxiety about how to share. Sharing crops that grew well and produced extra worked best, as well as sharing with the group as the crop was harvested.
Barber Farm gardeners:
No formal group here, but cooperation among us neighboring gardeners, with about four gardens in all. There is some sharing of seeds and tools, and taking care of each others’ gardens while on vacation. Retired farmer/landscaper Charlie Siegchrist is always ready to lend a hand with his plow or offer up greenhouse space when needed. At summer’s end, when retiring our aging compost boxes, Charlie helped shift the large quantity of compost onto the fall beds. Last year he plowed an area for us to establish a pollinator garden and this year our gardens seemed to attract a multitude of birds and insects, yay!
Barber Farm growers tend to share excess harvest with each other. My favorite swap of the season was supplying a neighbor’s family with excess beets, then later receiving a bunch of pickled beets from them. Nice surprise at Halloween: all residents of Barber Farm received personal pumpkins with their initials engraved; somehow Charlie kept it a secret all summer!
Do you have examples of neighborhood garden crop-swapping and/or collaborating? If so, please send along your stories and we’ll include them here...let’s do more to GRO-Jericho!