Caring for the land, like caring for your home and neighborhood, is a never-ending, on-going task. We do it because we love these places. So it is with a farm… so it is with Waters Garden. In each season, and through the winter, the garden needs care-givers monitoring, fixing, guiding and caring.
Soon spring will arrive, and our 25 year ritual of burning the native garden will, with good conditions and luck, take place, but, for the first time since the garden was re-created in 1993, the burn is being contracted out to a private company with no links or history in the neighborhood. The dozens of people that have been trained, certified and had experience in this work have been set aside. Instead, money that was fund-raised for the school will be paid to a private corporation. We hope that the company will honor the knowledge and experience of the Waters Garden Stewards and consult closely to conduct a safe and successful burn. Do no harm!
But other tasks loom large.
Last fall we managed to shortstop 10 bales of straw from being sent to the landfill, and instead dry-stored it for use as mulch. Fencing has been broken and knocked down. It needs to be reinstalled. The greenhouse was vandalized (and repaired). Wheel barrows were repaired. (Editor’s note: who do you think did this work?)
In late winter the fruiting shrubs need to be pruned: black and red currants, gooseberries, grapes and raspberries. This pruning requires knowledge and experience. Improper pruning can cause zero production of fruit. This is work that the gardeners have been trained for and a task we have performed for many, many years. This is part of our community culture, built by the existing longtime creators and stewards of Waters Garden. Pruning is a skill that must be taught and supervised. It’s easy to get it wrong. And when it goes well, a bountiful harvest of berries is available for Waters students, as has been for many many years.
Trellises need to be repaired. Raised beds need tending. The cold frames will need to be monitored and tended to. Will they produce a spring crop of veggies? Do they need repair??
Hope is the promise of spring, when the “sap” begins to flow in tree and human alike. The endless promise of a good year.