Green thumbs prevailed in the first-ever growing season at Knowlton’s community organic gardens, on the former site of the municipal garage on Mount Echo Road.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” said organizer Debbie Hornig, of the vegetables overflowing from thirty 8×4 foot raised beds, producing nutritious bounty where contaminated soil once produced nothing at all.

“Everyone had bumper crops, too bumper in some cases! But many people were new to gardening, and others had never worked with raised container beds before. It’s a completely different experience after conventional gardening.”

Nutritious bounty at Community Gardens

“Still, they learned a lot, and I think everyone who had a bed is coming back next year. Now we’re looking for ways to accommodate those on the waiting list. Where do we go from here?”

In addition to individual gardens, two were earmarked for the food bank, and staffed by volunteers. Volunteers also worked a bed for the community kitchen. Only two designed for wheelchair accessibility were under-utilized, a situation to be remedied in time for the next growing season, Hornig said.

In addition to working the soil, gardeners also enjoyed the social aspect of the gardens, making new friends, sharing tips and compost, and swapping veggie tales. The whole experience was an eye opener for Hornig too, despite many years tilling the soil.

“I loved it. Raised gardens really produce!” Now for formal feedback at the end of September, and a winter browsing through the seed catalogues and dreaming of zucchinis to come.