BLOSSBURG — Just past the green bridge here and to the left, 10 raised beds are sprouting a bounty of flowers and vegetables.
Wendy Shattuck is heading the revival of the Blossburg Community Garden. On a hot July morning, she stops in to check out the gardens and water some of the beds.
As she wanders between beds, Shattuck checks the soil for moisture, plucks off dead leaves and adjusts bird netting. The purpose of the garden, she said, is to provide a garden area for residents who don’t have garden space, provide excess produce to the food pantry and build community spirit.
She got involved at the invitation of council member Tonya McNamara. During the coronavirus shutdown, Shattuck filled out a volunteer form noting that she enjoys gardening and working with senior citizens.
“I think it’s bringing people together who have like interests,” Shattuck said. “At this time, it’s important for people to have a connection, to feel like they are part of something.”
After accepting the role of garden organizer, Shattuck invited residents to get involved and exchange plants in early May using the Blossburg Together Facebook page. Six other people expressed interest in and got involved: Ginnette Moskowitz, Annette Schimpf, Ralaine Mundis, Kathy Hudson, Linda Johns and Elaine Luring.
Their first action was to repair the nine four- by eight-foot raised beds and one four- by four-foot bed. After that May 16 work bee, they planted beds and began tending.
The community garden is all organic, Shattuck said. No pesticides or synthetic fertlizer is used. Instead, compost is used to enrich the soil, dirt added to refresh the beds and mulch is applied to control weeds and reduce evaporation.
“Things are growing very well. We’ve picked lots of lettuce so far,” Shattuck said.
The beds hold a bounty of green plants: lettuce and cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, peas, yellow and zucchini squash, onions, potatoes, carrots, bush beans and peppers. Interspersed among the vegetables and in a separate bed are the herbs: dill, peppermint, oregano, thyme and sage.
As if to reinforce the garden image, the sign on the back fence framed by red and black raspberries and wild grapes. Gardeners are coaxing some of the wild raspberry canes to grow in the shaded area near the tool shed.
Schimpf, a master gardener, provided hay bales that line the back fence, from which gardeners are hoping pumpkins will take off. Shattuck noted that there’s still room to expand the garden and build more raised beds if there’s enough interest.
“I think it would be really nice if people from the mature community would come over and we could help them set up their own garden,” she said.
Community response has been positive, said Shattuck, who said she gets thanks for organizing the project.
For more information, visit Blossburg Together on Facebook.