The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Happy New Year & Happy Garden 2015!

111014 Jean, Cindy & Chris put up compost3.58

Jean, Chris, and Cindy prepare the “lasagna compost”

The Garden at 485 Elm went to bed slowly. It reminded me of a super-productive person who couldn’t resist doing “just one more task” before going to bed.

113014 SRA picks Brussels sprouts in snow3

Fresh, delicious Brussels sprouts in December



With the new year upon us, let’s make it official: The Garden at 485 Elm has gone to bed.

But bed is not an ending. It is a living sleep that leads to awakening. Gardens have no beginning and no end.

Hot red peppers dried in cheesecloth

Hot red peppers dried in cheesecloth

If you looked under the snow and peeked under row cover, you might find some last bits of edible kale. Food from the garden is in our freezers, hanging in cupboards, and stored in dark drawers.

Nothing on earth ends. There is no such thing as “throwing away” since there is no “away.” The only question is, what effects will our unused, discarded materials have on the planet?

120214 Donation for the garden gets daughter a gift

Unused stuff becomes money which becomes plants: I sold an old digital camera and my formerly treasured copy of The Next Whole Earth Catalog and donated the money to the garden.

In the garden, we strive for cradle-to-cradle effects: Compost helps plants grow. The unused and used-up parts of those plants become compost to help the next generation of plants grow.

It goes beyond plants. As much as possible, we source used tools and other materials. We re-purpose or donate what we don’t use.

There is no sharp line between one gardening season and the next. To wit:

The 2015 gardening season has begun!

Garden Coordinator Cynthia Delfino has begun planning raised beds and sturdy trellises to increase planting space, individual plant health, and overall garden productivity. This will also improve accessibility and work ease for gardeners, and reduce repetitive tasks. We’ll have food to feed even more gardeners, and more food to donate to those in need.

Cindy and Garden Manager Sheryl Rapée-Adams will bring The Garden at 485 Elm to the NOFA-VT Winter Conference. The garden will be on display at the conference Roundtables on Sunday, February 15, 1-2 p.m.

We are welcoming gardeners for 2015. If you want to participate or just learn more, please get in touch.

By February, we’ll call our first gardener meeting. It will be another delicious potluck. We’ll sort seeds, select crops, and plant starts. Gardeners will take the starts home, nurture the seedlings until planting time.

Chris weighs down the tarp covering the lasagna compost for the winter

Chris weighs down the tarp covering the lasagna compost for the winter

Activity will continue before the garden is visibly underway again. Under the ground, in our homes, and in our minds, the garden is always growing.

Many thanks to all who made The Garden at 485 Elm a reality.

  • The 485 Elm Gardeners, Garden Coordinator Cynthia Delfino, and Herb Garden Coordinator Lroy Meryhew
  • Front Porch Forum
  • The Montpelier Parks Department and fab AmeriCorps VISTA people
  • The Vermont Community Garden Network
  • The New England Grassroots Environment Fund
  • Community Harvest of Central Vermont and volunteer gleaners
  • Montpelier Construction
  • The Montpelier community’s generous support

Happy New Year! Happy gardening! And Happy eating!

~from Sheryl & The Garden at 485 Elm Team