Volunteers and site leaders have been busy as little bees all summer! Read all about the latest projects…
This June, BACG was lucky enough to have another 150 person volunteer work day with Dealer.com. They spent the perfect early summer day at Tommy Thompson and the transformation that occurred was incredible. Their involvement with the program has been essential in BACG’s ability to grow and thrive at a swift pace.
After we got everyone’s car or bike parked (which was no small feat), we split everyone up into groups and got started. One group worked with Dan to clear out an area of the garden that has been in desperate need of attention for a while now. They replaced an old shed that wasn’t in great shape with a new one build by Youthbuild and weeded and pruned the area, making it more accessible for the gardeners. Another group worked with Dylan and built 5 raised beds, which are currently filled with beautiful flowers (thanks to David and Suzanne Butt) for the community to enjoy. Elena and other members of BPRW’s tree crew worked with another bunch of people to continue planting fruit trees and bushes along the back edge of the garden – enhancing the permaculture fruit “fence” that we’ve been working toward. It’s still in the early stages, but in a few years it will be a beautiful (and delicious) site to see. The last group (and the biggest!) worked with Meghan to tackle a never ending, all too familiar problem – WEEDS. Since reclaiming a lot of the area around Tommy Thompson, it has created more space for weeding projects, and thanks to the Dealer.com folks, we wiped out more weeds than you could imagine in one day.
All in all, that was a day for the books. Thanks to those volunteers the community has access to and can utilize more space throughout the garden, the weeds were kept at bay, and there are now spaces for future gardeners who need or want access to raised beds. Our partnership with Dealer.com and the focus and energy that comes from the BPRW staff are invaluable.
At the beginning of this season, the Site Leader for the Myrtle St. Avant Garden came up with the idea to transform the entire garden into raised beds. It’s the smallest garden within the BACG program with only 14 plots, so it seemed like a great next step for the site. The Myrtle St. community was on board almost instantly, so we went to work planning with the team from ReSource.
After a few meetings and multiple design plans, the date was set for the students from ReSource to gather at the garden and build the new beds! They, along with their team leaders, spent the day hard at work and the results were incredible. The crew finished everything and even had time to pose for some goofy pictures at the end.
That wasn’t the end of the process, however. The next day a dedicated volunteer crew who were part of Day in the Dirt spent hours filling all of the beds with fresh soil! Once the last bucket was dumped in the last bed that needed to be filled, there was a collective sigh of accomplishment heard up and down Myrtle St. Thanks to all of the hands that helped bring this idea to fruition, the Myrtle St. Avant Garden now has raised beds of varying shapes and sizes, allowing access for all while maintaining its funky and community focused feel.
Last season, we were fortunate enough to have raised beds built at the Medical Center garden, but it happened too late in the season for anything to be planted in them. This year, however, thanks to the Site Leaders and gardeners, they were planted and are looking absolutely beautiful! They have a mix of flowers that are available to people from the hospital to cut, community vegetables for the gardeners to share, and vegetables that they donate to the food shelf. If you ever find yourself up that way, stop by and take a look at them!
This season is shaping up to be a pretty exciting one for the Rock Point garden! We’ve got 2 big projects underway and with help from our staff, the Site Leader, and lots of City Market volunteers it’s looks like we’ll be finishing them up by this Fall.
The first project that’s in the works is resurrecting a 2nd site that used to exist out at Rock Point. Some years back, after multiple seasons of frustrated gardeners, it was decided that the garden should no longer be in use. After a lot of discussions and research, the current Site Leader for the existing site decided to spearhead this experiment with the hopes of having a usable garden within the next 2-3 seasons or so. Over the past few weeks, 12 rows have been dug out, creating the beds as well as pathways, and wood chips have been laid down to create better drainage for the garden. The next few seasons will be used to help rebuild the soil in order to create the ideal growing conditions for gardeners to use. And with any luck, BACG will have another garden for the community!
The other project that is happening at Rock Point this season is the installation of a fence around the currently existing garden. This will be a seasonal structure with permanent fence posts, so each Spring and Fall, we will be putting up and taking down what will hopefully keep out all of the adorable woodland creatures that love lettuce and beets. For now though, we have volunteers out there regularly digging fence posts holes in order to make this a reality for the Rock Point gardeners!
Earlier this month, we partnered up with the UVM Medical Center and had an extremely productive work day with 150 of their incoming medical students! During the weeks leading up to that day, BACG worked with the Burlington Permaculture team to create a design that would benefit all who use the WVPD space. This includes all of the community gardeners, the Family Room, and the VCGN Teaching Garden students and teachers. After having meetings and discussions about the best way to use the space, we decided that the main goal was to create an extensive edible landscape for everyone to enjoy while also expanding the communal areas where people can spend time in.
After the plan was settled on, our team and the Burlington Permaculture folks set to work on gathering materials and coming up with a work plan for the big day. We purchased trees and shrubs, gathered borrowed tools from other garden sites, and figured out how to divide up the work ahead of us.
Once all of the medical students arrived and were covered in sunscreen and bug spray, it was time to get to work! We had a team working with Elena to do the planting, another team worked with Dylan to lay down cardboard and wood chips where the new plants were going, and the last but most certainly not least team worked with Meghan in a valiant attempt to eradicate as many weeds as possible. All in all, the day was a major success! There are still big plans in store for the WVPD garden, but thanks to all of the helping hands, it is well on its way to being a very fruitful site.
Since Elena started in June, she has taken on several major projects throughout the program. Her overall goal going into the season was to create pollinator gardens and edible landscapes for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. Elena has always had a passion for gardening and studies food sustainability, and the projects she has completed tie both of those things in together beautifully.
Her first project was at the Archibald garden. She built raised beds alongside Dylan and filled them with flowers and herbs for the neighborhood to use. Next, she tackled the entrance to the Riverside garden. This was no small feat. The area was completely overgrown with tangled vines and gnarled trees and shrubs. After spending most of a day tearing all of that out (most of which was dead or dying) she then planted fruit trees and bushes. Dylan is currently working on a bench that will go there as well. The area has been completely transformed and is now a communal space for all who pass by! And finally, her most recent project was at the Lakeview gardens. She, as well as Dylan, Meghan and garden volunteers spent an afternoon building and installing berry trellises, planting raspberry and blackberry bushes, and woodchipping the entire area. This space went from an overgrown and unusable spot to a beautiful edible landscape for all to share!
Thanks to Elena’s vision, Dylan’s handy work, and all of the volunteers who have helped along the way, BACG now has 3 new beautiful spaces filled with fruit and community!