By Julie McCay Turner
This is a great year for growing plants of all kinds, with an early spring and lots of heat if not a lot of rain. Although Bedford gardeners pay the town’s higher R3 rate for outdoor water use, there are plenty of vegetable gardens thriving around town.
You can see Larry Walsh’s tomato plants from Concord Road, they’re taller than many humans and the fruit is almost ready to pick. “It’s the organic soil,” he said in explaining the vigor of his tomato plants, but he also put them in the ground early and kept them warm under row covers. It’s the second year Walsh has grown vegetables, and this year he introduced a pair of unique hives to bring bees to his garden to help pollinate his plants.
Kati Oates is an old hand at gardening, but this year she asked Meighan Matthews of Growing for Good to create a raised bed in a sunny patch just outside her kitchen door specifically for vegetables. When The Citizen visited Kati’s garden, she had just finished weeding and cutting back plants that had bolted during her recent holiday in Maine. “It’s amazing how fast zucchini grow,” she said. “There was nothing to pick before I left and when I came home a week later there were giants!” Oates plans to use the newly cleared space to start some cold-weather crops she can harvest in the fall.
Recent garden tours have visited the garden maintained by Mary and Eric Johannessen to see the way they’ve woven together both decorative plants, their vegetable garden and several fruit trees. This year’s addition is a fig tree that seems to be very happy in its new surroundings. Rather than bringing it inside this winter, the Johannessens plan to build a protected nest of insulation around it so that the new tree’s roots can grow undisturbed.
Four raised beds and a twig trellis mark Selectman Margot Fleishman’s garden. It’s her second or third year gardening in the plots that were also built by Growing for Good, and this year’s crops have taken off. In addition to the plants often seen in many gardens there is sweet corn, and a crop of recently harvested garlic. “The garlic’s on an old wooden drying rack in the garage while it cures,” said Fleishman, “and we keep a small fan on a timer to keep the air circulating.”
There are more gardens in town and The Citizen will be featuring them as the summer goes on. We’re planning articles about the organic tomato patch at Carleton Willard Village, an update on Bedford’s community gardens, as well as the gardens maintained by Growing for Good at Bedford’s elementary schools and Flatbread restaurant.
To view all of our photographs from the gardens mentioned in this article, please click here.
If you know of vegetable gardens that The Bedford Citizen should visit, or gardeners we should know, please comment on this story and let us know!