Sunflower contest today at Community Gardens
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » A widespread effort has been put forth by volunteers and gardeners during the first summer at Pitney Meadows Community Farm’s Community Gardens.
The work began with dozens of volunteers installing 55 garden beds, and it’s continued throughout the summer months.
“Saratoga Bridges they bring groups of six people here sporadically through the week. Different groups, and they tend their own plot but they also harvest vegetables that I’m growing for this purpose, and after those harvest, those are brought to Franklin Community Center,” said garden Director Natalie Walsh. “I mean, how awesome is that?”
Members of the Navy have volunteered weekly, while Saratoga Mentoring and Transitional Service each have a plot.
“The community has been phenomenal,” said Walsh. “Not only the community of gardeners, but our broader community of Saratoga.”
At the end of June, 26 people planted sunflower seeds for the tallest sunflower contest. Judges will determine the winner Saturday at 223 West Ave.
The sunflower contest is just one of the many events happening Saturday.
Tom Stock began taking photographs of the farm for Bill and Kathy Pitney several years ago. The photographs he took will be on display between 2 and 4 p.m.
“He has a very artistic eye. He particularly likes macro,” said Walsh. “He zooms in particular elements here. His work is great.”
The exhibit also feature paintings and drawings by 25 young artists who participated in art classes offered in the gardens over the summer.
Six Girl Scout troops in the area have visited the farm throughout the summer, earning various badges. The latest project in the gardens, a fairy village, will be on display. It features more than dozen small houses made out of natural materials such as bark, logs, shells, sticks, moss and pebbles.
Jess Clauser, the Girl Scout leader, serves as the creative force behind the fairy village.
“The Girl Scouts have been very involved. They did the rocks for our herb garden,” said Walsh. “They helped plant the herb garden. They helped plant the sunflowers.”
Throughout the summer Margie Ingram, Judy Brunner and Marel Catalano have taught classes on art, tomato growing, the use of herbs and more.
This weekend doesn’t mark the end of the activities.
“The garden will be open until the end of October in terms of the growing season. I’m anticipating by then we will have a hard frost,” said Walsh. “If we don’t, of course we are going to wait; we’re not going to just end it. The weather will determine exactly when it ends. Right after the hard frost, we will be cleaning up, starting our compost pile. There will be other activities to do. It’s not like we will be closing down. There will be other things to do until, dare I say, snowfall.”
The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs expressed interest in helping with the compost pile. Besides that, Walsh plans to cover crops for the gardeners who are pulling out their vegetables.
“They will be able to do a cover crop if they want. That will help us improve the soil. We are always working to improve the soils here,” said Walsh. “Soils are the foundation for good gardens, so we will be working on that. One of the ways we will be working on that is building a compost pile.”
It’s been a busy summer, but Walsh has been more than thrilled with the community’s involvement.
“The community has been phenomenal,” said Walsh. “The gardeners are a great group of green thumbs and we have so many different Saratoga Springs based organizations working with us and gardening in the community gardens, it has truly been a wonderful experience.”
At the end of June, 26 people planted sunflower seeds. On Saturday, judges will determine which one became the biggest sunflower.
Local Girl Scouts created a “fairy garden” at Pitney Meadow Community Farm.