I have been gardening with the Lakeside Community Garden for three years, and served as your Garden Coordinator for one year. I have always known that the garden is a special place. The pandemic made me appreciate it even more. I was heartened to see so many of you (gardeners and admirers) making good use of the garden to meet some of your neighbors at a safe distance, get fresh air and sunshine, and appreciate tangible growth at a time when research progress slowed or halted and in-person social events were canceled. We still have great need for strong leadership, and I hope to serve you as your Garden Coordinator again!
Last year I made several promises in my campaign statement. This year I achieved everything that I set out to accomplish. I piloted winter cover crops to improve soil fertility and prevent erosion. Winter rye and Austrian peas were clear winners — they grew vigorously and also kept weeds out of the beds in the early spring. I hope to sow them again this fall. I expanded the community herb garden. We have a few patches in the garden with bad drainage. Over the winter, I applied for external funding for raised beds. I secured $2,000 from the GSG Events Board. TigerWell is interested in contributing another $3,000 once the pandemic is over.
In addition to the above, I made the garden more accessible to the children of gardeners with a kiddie-sized wheelbarrow! I also planted an asparagus bed that–if well managed–will delight gardeners for years to come (asparagus can grow for 50 years or more). Craving fresh berries, I planted goji berries, red currants, honeyberries, and aronia. Unlike blueberries which need acidic soil, these berries can thrive in our neutral soil. They will take a little while longer to get established and bear fruit.
All of this was above and beyond the basic duties of the Garden Coordinator – vetting applications and allocating suitable plots, repairing or replacing broken equipment, organizing garden workdays and new gardener orientation sessions (I modified the formats to allow for social distancing this year), coordinating with Lakeside Staff to ensure no pesticides or herbicides are applied near the garden, and collecting dues and processing reimbursements.
I would like to be around to ensure the recent perennial plantings get established. I would also like to oversee the construction of $2,000 of raised beds this winter (and ensure improvements to the aging watering system). Finally, I hope to make the garden more accessible for beginning gardeners and those who cannot commit to a garden plot by introducing a few low-cost memberships with access to our wonderful collection of herbs in exchange for help with their upkeep. Continuity of leadership will contribute to the success of these longer-term projects. I endorse and am endorsed by Will Smith (running for Chair) and Emily Cuddy (running for Treasurer).