Katie’s Gardening Adventure: Benefits of Community Gardening Endure

By Katie Bookser of Anderson Associates

There are certain happy memories from our childhood that we seem to always carry with us. It could be a certain smell (they say that when you first smell a new smell, you immediately link it to a specific moment), a song, or a place. Whatever it may be, these moments tend to evoke a sense of nostalgia and can brighten ones mood almost instantaneously.

As a transplant from Upstate New York, yet having discovered my new found love for all things Greenwich, I had to find a way to mix my two worlds together. When I was a child, and still to this day, my father grew a sizable garden with almost every fruit and vegetable that you can imagine. Each and every summer was filled with dinners consisting almost completely of vegetables: steamed summer squash and zucchini, salad with fresh lettuce, carrots, and radishes, heirloom tomato slices so flavorful and juicy you could eat them plain by the slice, the most delicious cucumbers and sweet corn you have ever tasted. We are meat eaters, but during the summertime I didn’t miss it one bit.

Lettuce ready for picking!

Lettuce ready for picking! Credit Katie Bookser

My husband Mike and I love living in our one bedroom condo with our cat, Swarley. It is low maintenance, and we don’t have any yard work. We have lots of friendly neighbors, a short drive to shops, restaurants, and the beach. We are happy. Despite all of these wonderful attributes, I was missing my summer traditions – my ability to escape into nature, the world of gardening, smelling the smells of dirt, flowers, and fresh veggies; these things are important to me.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the Greenwich Community Gardens. For $50 a season, we can have our very own 4’ x 8’ plot, nestled on a 1 ½ acre site across from the Montgomery Pinetum.

The “rules” are simple: only plant organic seeds and plants, don’t bring in any inorganic material such as sprays and fertilizers, and spend 8 hours total by the end of the season helping with community work.

For this small price, we get to grow, learn, and interact with other community members – and the benefits are great! So far we have enjoyed lettuce, sage, and 2 zucchinis, with many more on the way.

Follow along with me on my gardening journey as I’ll be posting regular updates on our progress. We are making new happy memories!