April 9, 2017
ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lesek Gorecki, left, and Mike Quigley, chairman of the Nahant School Committee, look at their plots at the Nahant community garden on Saturday.
By LEAH DEARBORN
NAHANT – Town residents gathered at the Johnson Elementary School on a blustery Saturday to celebrate the opening of a community garden.
The opening of the garden was delayed following a long stretch of wet and cold weather, but now organizers hope the danger of serious winter chill has passed.
“My hope is the group of gardeners will find ways to support each other,” said Paul Kelly, a STEM teacher at the school.
Some 30 plots have been registered to residents, but there are approximately six openings left. Most of the beds will use a drip irrigation system designed to use water more efficiently, said Kelly. Everything that goes into the garden will be organic.
Kevin Andrews, principal of the Johnson School, has a particular interest in native plants and shade gardening. He said he plans to share a plot with his grandfather.
The gardeners who showed up for the first day were shown the space before being invited inside to decorate plot markers made by the Boy Scouts.
“It makes it more interesting. It’s a way to see what’s happening in town and share information with people,” said Kelly about the signs. He said the farm stand structure at the site will remain in place, although its exact use is up for debate by those who use the garden.
The group briefly talked about the possibility of garden gatherings as the season progresses, or a harvest party in the fall.
“Gardening is very popular here,” said Library Director Sharon Hawkes. She said a past initiative to distribute composting through the library drew a lot of interest.
The garden was initially tended by volunteer and Department of Public Works employee Paul Caira, who retired from his post at the end of last season but will continue to maintain the butterfly garden in the area.
Andrews said the space will serve as an outdoor classroom as well, and each grade level at the school is given a bed. Students will learn about topics such as plant anatomy and the social studies connection between gardening and native inhabitants of the area.
Gardeners are responsible for keeping their plots planted, watered, and weeded from Memorial Day through October.