Written by: Ethan Cuggino-Zensky
I remember when I was in elementary school, we joined a community garden called Ward Acres. We didn’t have much sun in our backyard, so we decided to grow our plants there. Because the garden was new, it didn’t have running water initially. So we filled jugs of water and brought them there every other day or as needed at the end of the day, and depending on the weather. We did this for a couple of years. Finally, the garden got running water, which made life easier. I couldn’t wait to go there on summer evenings. It was a joy to observe things grow. One of the major things we grew were Italian Pole beans. We used a trellis so vines could wrap around it and grow upwards to have more space. The leaves were large and they grew very quickly. We planted seeds one inch down and four inches apart around the trellis. We planted our seeds at the end of March or early April when the temperature was warm enough.
When the beans were ripe for picking, we could harvest large amounts. My mother sauteed the pole beans in garlic and oil and mixed them with potatoes or ate them straight. We also grew rosemary. We grew four rosemary plants to frame the trellis for the beans. The rosemary would be used as a garnish for chicken dinners. Opposite to the rosemary was basil.
My mother used it in tomato sauce. I remember the strong scent of the basil and rosemary. These herbs were easy to grow like the beans. When growth was slowing down in the fall, we harvested everything. All remaining rosemary and basil that we collected got washed, sealed, and frozen in ziploc bags to be used all winter. That’s what I remember most, that we could use them all winter. Lastly, we planted Salvia Farinacea, which is not an herb. It is a tall blue spiky flower that we planted around the border of our 15 by 15 plot. Those plants lasted through November even after all of our other plants would die.
Since that time, the garden has grown in the number of participants. People have also donated benches and artistic art sculptures. Many people now go there to sit, relax and observe our beautiful community garden!