Seven IEM gardeners gathered at the sand and peat pile behind the Family Dollar Store this Sunday morning at 8:00 to fill about twenty buckets (three times) to complete the newly-built raised beds in front of Narraguagus Bay Health Care and the post office. Along with the sand and peat mixture, we added more peat, a little lime and plenty of Quoddy Blend Coast of Maine compost, purchased thanks to a grant from the
Machias Savings Bank.
Both beds were built on June 11th by volunteer carpenters, as nursing
home residents gathered to watch the action. The excitement amongst the
staff and residents was palpable. The raised bed at the nursing home is
24 inches high, and roughly 8 ft X 4 ft, which means it needed a lot of
soil. This bed is especially “raised” because the staff at the nursing
home wanted to make sure that residents in wheelchairs can reach the
plants to help tend the garden. Because of the height, to conserve soil,
we broke down two bales of straw to spread over the bottom of the bed,
then started layering and mixing the other ingredients, until the bed
was full to the brim.
At the post office, the raised bed was smaller– just 12 inches high,
and about 6 ft X 2 ft. No straw needed there, just the layering of sand,
peat and compost, and a thorough mixing. It was almost like being in the
kitchen making a favorite recipe.
Once the beds were full of rich soil, we all brought out the wide
variety of vegetable seedlings we had brought along, and had a party
settling the plants into the beds. Tomatoes, lettuce, swiss chard,
strawberries, onions, tomatillos, red cabbage, Japanese sunflowers,
nasturtiums (flowers and leaves are edible and make a garden salad look
so pretty with the bright colors), cucumbers, squash, zucchini, hot
peppers, basil, bean seeds all went into these two beds. We watered each
little seedling and then stepped back and admired the gardens. Many
hands make light work.
It took just two hours, and was FUN! We’ll be putting the newly arrived
Incredible Edible Milbridge signs in the vegetable beds around town this
week, so when you’re in town, see if you can find them. And if you know
of a business or individual in town who would like to join the
Incredible Edible project, point them in our direction. We have lots of
ideas where we might plant vegetables, but to expand our gardens, we
need more gardeners, so point those gardeners in our direction too.
Feel Free to Pick and Enjoy What is Ripe!
And know that the Incredible Edible Gardens are intended for passersby
to pick what ever is ripe. So if you see a big leafy lettuce, carefully
break off the larger leaves around the outside, not taking too many from
any one plant, so that they will continue to grow and provide the next
person coming along with a salad too. The gardens are there to bring
attention to healthy eating (get your vegetables!), build interest in
gardening (a very practical skill), and give a boost to the businesses
in town both creating beautiful gardens in front of businesses and
building civic pride. Soon we will put IEM business participants on our
map on the IEM page of the WHRL website so everyone knows who is
Remember, if you eat, you’re in!