A Message from Vidya Tikku, General Manager
Foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and individual gifts provide vital support for our work in community gardens. Funding for the 2020 season includes grants from TD Bank and The Boston Foundation. I am happy to report that Blue Cross Blue Shield has renewed our workplace garden partnership for another three years and we have received a grant from the Godine Family Fund to deliver kid and family friendly programs in our gardens so that children can learn to grow food and connect with green spaces in their own neighborhoods. Our staff will be leading a number of new programs this year, thanks to this very generous support.
I would love your support to help us grow funding for our annual operations in the community gardens. If you are aware of any funding opportunities that may be available for supporting our mission or you work for a corporate group that offers sponsorships or a gift matching program for local non-profits, or hosts community volunteer days, please do reach out to me. If you haven't already, you can support our work with the gift of an individual or family level membership for as little as $50 a year, or by making a purchase at City Natives for your annual seedlings and native plants this coming spring. Alternatively, if you would like to support our work by joining our Founders Circle, our leadership members group with gifts of $1000 or above, you can reach out to me or anyone on our staff team for more details. Thank you for the critical volunteer support you provide already and for helping us seek additional financial support for the gardens.
Vidya Tikku <vtikku@...>
What Would You Like Us to Grow?
– Annabel Rabiyah, Program Coordinator
It might not feel like it just yet, but spring is around the corner, and the Boston Community Gardens team is discussing what seeds to order for our City Natives seedling sale. This year, we're excited to try growing some new crops that better represent what you, our gardening community, want to grow. Is there a plant you grew up growing or eating, but never see for sale at local greenhouses? It could be a specialty crop from a far-away country, or a particular variety of bean or tomato from right around here. If you have suggestions, please email us at citynatives@... by the end of February.
Me holding my molokhia harvest. Molokhia is a specialty crop popular among Middle Eastern, South Asian, West African, and Haitian communities. One of our community gardeners, Sayed, grows and sells this crop at local farmers markets!
Saturday, March 21 | 10AM-5PM
Shillman Hall | 115 Forsyth Street, Northeastern University
FREE & OPEN TO ALL
Celebrate the start of Boston's gardening season! The Gathering is a free day full of informative workshops, engaging exhibitors, networking, and inspiration. Two dozen workshops cover topics like starting a community garden, building healthy soil, fermenting veggies, and so much more. An exhibitors' gallery full of local environmental and agricultural exhibitors provide opportunities to get engaged. This year we’re lucky to have Dorchester-based climate justice activist Reverend Mariama White-Hammond as our special guest speaker and Mayor Walsh presenting the Community Garden Awards. We’re still accepting exhibitors, sponsors, and workshop proposals—reply to this email if you’re interested!
Start Your Own Seeds
Wednesday, March 4 | 6-7:30PM
Trustees Boston Office | 200 High Street, 4th Floor
Learn the best methods & materials for successfully starting your garden veggies at home. We'll look at some inexpensive options for lights and setups, discuss common problems, and get our hands dirty starting some herbs and early crops to take home. $9 Trustees members. $15 nonmembers.
Tree & Shrub Pruning
Saturday, March 7 | 10AM-12PM
Minton Stable Community Garden | 110 Williams Street, Jamaica Plain
Come learn the basics of dormant-season pruning and get some hands-on experience. Leave with the skills and confidence to take care of trees and shrubs in your own yard or community garden. FREE
Tree Pruning Tips
– Eric Sargent, Guest Contributor
As a community orchardist I always look forward to this time of year, to get back out in the orchard to prune the trees just before they emerge from dormancy. My background in community orchards has its roots in working with the Baltimore Orchard Project, supporting groups throughout the city with planting and stewarding community spaces.
While pruning can sometimes feel counterintuitive, it’s one of the most important parts of tree and shrub care. Lots of people ask me, “after I waited for years for my young saplings to finally put on new growth, why would I want to cut anything away?” The truth is that a proper pruning of a tree can significantly reduce the exposure to diseases and pests, increase growth, and improve the overall health of a tree.
Here are some good places that are easy to make your first cuts:
- Dead branches- wood that is dry, brown, and no longer has a green cambium layer under the bark.
- Water sprouts- tiny tree sprouts coming up from the base of the tree.
- Root suckers- vertical growth that is growing straight up off the branches.
- Crossing branches- branches that are overlapping and growing into each other.
If you want to refresh or improve your pruning skills for the coming season, join my free Tree & Shrub Pruning workshop at Minton Stable Community Garden in JP on March 7th.
Thanks for all of your support in the gardens!