See Our Garden Grow – Part 1

Welcome to Pickman Park in Salem:

Enjoying the baby swings!

Pickman Park, located off of Loring Ave near Salem State’s South Campus, has been one of my greatest neighborhood discoveries and saving grace since my 18 mo. old toddler was born. This little park has everything: a selection of baby and grown-up swings, open green space in which to run around, a picnic pavilion, basketball court and a brand-spanking new playground built just a little over a year ago (thanks to these people!). The Old Creek Salt Marsh also runs by here providing a little beach to wade in and mud to stab sticks in. Aside from the swings, which my daughter is obsessed with, my favorite park of all at Pickman Park is the community garden!

The gate to the Pickman Park Community Garden

Built by Salem Community Gardens just over one year ago, the Pickman Park Garden is part of a network of 4 community gardens around Salem. Built on the foundation of an old tennis court, this is the Garden’s second year open.

Pickman Park Garden is composed of either 4′ x 4′ or 2′ x 8′ raised beds. You can reserve a plot each year for $15 each.

My very own garden plot: Tomatoes, green peppers, kale, rainbow chard, sage, mint, oregano, thyme and garlic chives. Let’s see how my garden grows.

This is also my second year as a member of the Pickman Park Community Garden–and I am slowly learning what it is like to be a gardener: A lot of dirt digging, watering, and waiting; and more waiting. I have realized there is a lot of patience involved in gardening. And some trial and error: Is my kale planted too close together? Who knew oregano was a vicious weed?? I hate squash bugs. What’s great about a community garden is that you get to see what other gardeners are up to, and maybe learn some things through observation. For example, planting radishes or geraniums next to your vegetables can help keep the bugs away. Kale and chard seem to grow pretty well without too much trouble. Pick your lettuce before it flowers and becomes sour! Oh, and there are so many kinds of tomatoes! This year I have really enjoyed watching the beginnings of another great growing season, and meeting my fellow gardening enthusiasts:

From left to right: Snap peas, mint, kale, green pepper, a beautiful mural in the garden, green tomatoes, the beginnings of a pickle, Brett Mentuck of Mighty Aphrodite displays a bouquet from her garden, yellow squash.

I love walking around and observing the progression and transformation of the mini gardens. Each one is unique, a little green and growing world. I enjoy bending down and peering through the leaves to see the hidden beginnings of a tomato, squash or carrot.

From left to right: Squash flower, zucchini, onion flower, gardening tools, early tomatoes, purple cabbage, romaine lettuce, broccoli, basil, purple chard, a medley of watering cans.

Gardening is the art of careful cultivation and delayed gratification. But if you watch closely, and you just might see some beautiful surprises, and hidden gems along the way to having your yummy salad or veggie pizza toppings.

A hidden gem in the rosemary. Whose eggs are these?

Stay tuned for Part 2 later on in the season, as the vegetables grow bigger and change color. Let’s see what other organic discoveries appear out of the soil!

What about you? If you have a garden, what do you grow? Have any gardening tips to share?


4 responses to “See Our Garden Grow – Part 1

  1. Great pictures of the park and garden! And what a lovely surprise to see the nest with eggs. I hope you can get photos of the hatchlings — with your telephoto lens of course.

  2. Pingback: See Our Garden Grow– Part 2 (Belief Edition) « Connect Shore·

  3. Pingback: Books: Farm City « Connect Shore·

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