ITEM FILE PHOTO
A tomato grown at the community garden in Nahant.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — The community garden is turning over a new leaf.
Beginning in March, residents with a green thumb can grow cucumbers and tomatoes at the garden located behind the Johnson Elementary School on Castle Road.
The cost for a 4 x 8 foot garden bed is $20 for the season.
Paul Caira, who retired from his post at the garden at the end of the last season, transformed an area of overgrown bushes behind the school into five or six raised garden beds in 2010. Today, there are about 60 beds, enclosed in a post-and-rail fence.
Caira worked as a part-time employee for the Department of Public Works for six years, maintaining the garden. In addition to his paid 20 paid hours, he volunteered at least 30 additional hours each week, he said.
Last season, he harvested about 6,000 pounds of vegetables, which were sold to residents for $1 per pound at a weekly market.
When he retired, the town was left with a few things to weed out.
A portion of about 1,000 feet will be used by students during school hours, said Kevin Andrews, principal of the Johnson Elementary School. Teachers will incorporate use of the garden into their lessons.
Gardeners are responsible for keeping their plots planted, watered and weeded from Memorial Day through October.
The garden will open on March 21, but interested farmers can register for a space online at bit.ly/nahantgarden. Checks can be made payable to the Town of Nahant with “community garden” included in the memo and sent or delivered at Nahant Public Library.
The fee covers the costs of partial watering, maintenance and administrative costs. Gardeners must be Nahant residents.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.