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

Day In The Dirt!

Gardeners dug, shaped, and planted at the first work party of the Garden at 485 Elm.

Our seventeen volunteers joined hundreds of others at 33 community and school gardens all over the state participating in Day In The Dirt. This was the sixth annual Day In The Dirt, which occurs the last weekend in April at gardens that feed thousands of Vermonters.

Day in the Dirt was coordinated by the Vermont Community Garden Network, which is the Garden at 485 Elm’s “mothership.”

Chris combines spring soil amendments. This mix of alfalfa, peanut meal, potash sulfate, and minerals boasts soil nutrition for healthier microbes and, of course, plants.

Uncovering the greens boxes revealed deliciously sweet greens that overwintered: spinach, kale, and corn salad.

These gardeners prepped box beds and planted salad greens and leafy greens.

Gardeners gently raked straw off the growing rows. Chris sprinkled soil amendments on all the exposed rows. Later this week, a delivery of Vermont compost will be the next layer on these beds. Then the straw will be spread back on top.

While it’s great for morale to have something to harvest on our first gardening day of the season, parsnips are not very popular among the gardeners here. These are actually the roots of parsleyroot, or Hamburg parsley. We snipped off and used (or dried for later use) the green tops, which are like a hardy parsley. The roots overwintered. Now we’ll discover how they taste.

Gardeners take a break, noshing and chatting together.

A discovery of turtle eggs in the composted horse manure.

Alas, these eggs are not viable. The garden grows beside the North Branch of the Winooski River. Every year a mother turtle finds somewhere around the garden to lay eggs. Though we’ve tried to protect these small clutches, we don’t think any have resulted in a hatching.