Sun­flower con­test to­day at Com­mu­nity Gar­dens

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Joseph Phe­lan jphe­lan@dig­i­tal­first­

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.

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