Community Gardener Optimism: Therapy For A Late Spring

April 27, 2011

in News,Woodstock

By Christopher Bartlett
Special To The Standard
Anyone who has dug his hands into the soil will tell you that gardening is an exercise in optimism – an annual triumph of hope over experience. Indeed, by its very nature, planting a garden is an act of faith, a tangible expression of one’s belief in the future.
So in a year in which the local landscape is still covered in snow three weeks into spring, it’s a good thing that the Sustainable Woodstock Community Gardens Council is dominated by optimists. Springtime may be a little behind schedule this year, but when it finally comes, our community gardens will be ready. There are certainly lots of plans in motion to ensure it.
The headline news is that there will be even more garden plots available this year. In addition to the established gardens in West Woodstock at the King Farm, in Pomfret at Chippers, and in Taftsville at Shepherds Hill Farm, at least a dozen new plots will be available at our newest garden at Billings Farm. It’s the ideal location for those living in the village who would love the experience of growing their own food.
And again this year, the gardens are proving to be a real community affair. Billings Farm will make its aged cow manure available at the both the King Farm and Billings locations, while the Taftsville location will have sheep manure from its Shepherds Hill Farm hosts. Meanwhile, Rotary has donated $300 for a garden shed which the Change the World Kids will help to build at Chippers in the spring. And plans are in progress to construct six more garden beds at the Riverside Mobile Home Park, expanding the 20 that were created there last year by Sustainable Woodstock volunteers.
For those who’d like to jump start their planting with a sure-fire winner this year, the Garden Council has arranged to buy 100 pots of sweet potato slips which they will sell at the wholesale price of $4 per pot of three. Since each of these slips can grow 8 to 12 sweet potatoes, that’s quite a bargain!
The Taftsville garden is planning to dedicate one additional plot to growing sweet potatoes for the Food Shelf. And again this year, plots tended by the Change the World Kids in Pomfret and the Woodstock Garden Club in Taftsville will also grow vegetables exclusively for the Food Shelf.
That’s a lot of community gardening activity. And we haven’t even mentioned the plans for a Raspberry Revolution, a nut tree planting project, or a wall of corn. But as you have probably gathered, these gardeners are ambitious optimists.
So if you’re someone who would like to experience the joy of digging your hands in warm soil, the excitement of watching seedlings grow into plants, and the satisfaction of eating wonderfully fresh produce picked from your own plot, we’d love to hear from you. It could lead you to develop the positive world view of a committed gardener. Now that’s something even a pessimist could enjoy.
For more information, call us at 457-2911, email us at or visit us online at

This article first appeared in the April 7th print edition of the Vermont Standard, Woodstock VT.


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