Trustees Boston Gardeners' Gazette March 2020

Sarah Hutt

Here is the March newsletter from Trustees - NOTE all the workshops are now available on ZOOM + Trustees are looking for people interested in leading workshops - see below for more info

Boston Gardeners' Gazette

A Message from Vidya Tikku, General Manager

VidyaHi everyone! Thanks for your patience as we try to get the growing season underway during this unprecedented and challenging time. Here are the latest plans for our community gardens under current guidelines from the Governor's office, effective through April 7th. We will keep you updated as things change. 

Access to Community Gardens 
In response to Gov. Baker's call to stay at home and in consideration of the safety of staff, visitors, and volunteers, the Trustees have closed our properties statewide until April 7th, while allowing for vital essential services like agriculture. We are not closing the community gardens as they are important food sources, but we will work with coordinators to make the best decision for each garden. We ask gardeners to practice social distancing, avoid hosting gatherings or programs, and sanitize shared tools and surfaces between each use. 

Seeds & Plant Sales
’ll continue delivering garden seed orders for the next week. Nursery work is underway atCity Natives and we still hope to host our seedling sales in May, with modifications as needed. 

Compost & Water Turn-Ons 
We are working closely with the City to track water and compost services, both of which were scheduled to begin in early April. Given the uncertainty at this time, there may be delays, but I will remain in communication with all of you. For now, compost test results are in and the City has clean and healthy compost ready for delivery to gardens. 

Staffing & Garden Projects 
You will not be seeing our stewardship staff in the gardens for a couple of weeks for routine maintenance except for addressing security measures and any emergency repairs that may be needed. We are also holding off on any construction projects for now. 

Please do share this message with all your fellow gardeners. Our staff is working hard to activate our connections online and through social media as well. If you are available to lead online workshops, activities for home bound parents and children, etc., please reach out. It is even more important for our gardening community to stay connected and support each other during this time. Stay safe and be in touch.

Growing Sprouts at Home

– Michelle de Lima, Engagement Manager 

MichelleHi gardening friends, given the current Stay at Home order and the increased importance of producing our own nutritious food at home, I thought this was a good time to talk about growing your own sprouts! Sprouts are a quick and incredibly nutritious crop that anyone who has a tiny bit of counter space and a jar can grow. Sprouting grains, legumes & seeds increases their digestibility by neutralizing anti-nutrients and complex sugars, breaking proteins into more easily absorbed amino acids, and increasing C & B vitamins. https://thetrustees- online doc 

The Basic Process 

  • Rinsing/culling seeds - look for stones & other debris
  • Soaking - soak in clean water, timing varies by seed
  • Rinsing - rinse & drain seeds periodically, frequency varies by seed
  • Harvesting & Storing - once sprouts reach desired size, transfer to jar/container & refrigerate
  • Eating - sprouted grains and many bean sprouts are more digestible after cooking, while most smaller seeds are fine to eat raw. Broccoli, radish, and sunflower seeds are a few of my favorites.

The Trustees’ Policy Response to COVID-19 Epidemic

– Linda Orel, Trustees Policy Director 

LindaDear friends, I hope this message reaches everyone in good health. The Trustees is reaching out to state elected officials to urge them to maintain focus on specific FY21 operating budget line items on which The Trustees' and our partners rely. For example, we coordinated with the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative and met with several representatives and senators to request increased funding for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). Thousands of low-income families in Boston rely on HIP funding to purchase fresh, local produce, meat, and dairy from vendors throughout the city, including The Trustees’ Mobile Markets. (Thanks to Liz Green and Phil Messier for their expert help with the HIP campaign.) We are also working with the Green Budget Coalition to ensure that state environmental agencies do not suffer draconian cuts during this difficult time including Department of Conservation and Recreation State Parks, since trails, forests, parks and farms offer comfort and inspiration and will play an even more critical role in returning citizens and families back to strength after this crises has passed. 

The Trustees also reached out to each member of the Massachusetts delegation - our US Senators and Representatives - to urge them to (1) provide direct relief to nonprofits through substantial, emergency relief and grants, and (2) offer a tax break for all taxpayers who donate a gift to a nonprofit (even if they don't itemize their tax deductions.) We will continue to coordinate with state and national nonprofit associations, send consistent messages and requests, and urge our elected to support critical nonprofits as this crisis unfolds. This too shall pass.

Wonderful Spring Wildflowers

– Jordan Takvorian, Steward

JordanWith Winter seemingly behind us we're looking forward to a prolonged season of wildflower blooms at City Natives Nursery. It won't be long until some of our favorite spring wildflowers emerge once again adding a splash of color in our lives. 

Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) tolerates sun to shade and tops out at a mere two feet. Showy, pure white blossoms aplenty are sure to attract attention. It can spread a bit aggressively if conditions are right, but its dense growth chokes out any potential weed seedlings in the process. Any gardener can appreciate a helping hand in that department. (photo left) 

Bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis) is a sublime perennial growing to two feet and surprisingly hasn't yet taken the world by storm. Drought tolerant with delicate, pale green feathery leaves and white sphere-shaped flowers in June, this little fella is the little charmer you’ve been looking for. (photo center) 

Green dragon (Arisaema draconitum) is the significantly less famous, though no less wonderful cousin of Jack in the Pulpit. Though it is said to flower only in May and June, we've enjoyed the dark-colored classic “Jack” flowers all summer long in the nursery. It combines well with hostas in the shade garden as the plant can sometimes go dormant in summer. (photo right) 

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) is a less common spring bloomer with flowers reminiscent of perennial favorite, bloodroot. It will tolerate heavy shade and has blue-green colored deeply lobed leaves. 

It's never too early to start dreaming about wonderful additions to the home garden!

Upcoming Events

Many of our events are moving online—stay up to date by visiting The Trustees - Boston Community Gardens on Facebook 

Gardening with Wildlife in Mind
Saturday, April 4th, 2-3:30PM
Join us on Zoom via computer or phone: 

Start Your Own Seeds 
Sunday, April 6th, 10-11:30AM
Join us on Zoom via computer or phone: 

Save the Dates for our garden tours
Even if they're virtual tours, they'll be worth seeing! 
South End Garden Tour on Saturday June 20 
Jamaica Plain Garden Tour on Saturday July 18

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