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Donna Wainwright volunteers to run the day-to-day needs at the Community Gardens. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/JOYCE WESTNER

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’Tis the season to get vegetable gardens going, and there are 21 plots next to the west side fire station on Lockeland Road.  Would you like one?  You’ll have to wait a bit, as there are nine residents on the waiting list, and only about two of them get gardens each year. 

Edward Drive resident Donna Wainwright volunteers to run the day-to-day needs at the Community Gardens, and spends time making sure the gardeners observe the rules. 

She also encourages them to practice good garden management, which means everything from using organic fertilizer, and never using pesticides or weed-killers. “Think pollinator-friendly,” is the gardens’ motto.

Springtime at the Community Gardens means planting time. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/JOYCE WESTNER

The plots cost $35 a year and gardeners are expected to begin working on theirs by June 1. Gardeners are encouraged to put any stones they dig up into an area around the lone tree. 

Wainwright gets some help from her partner, Alan Field, who mows the grass area (but not during “No Mow May”), sets up and repairs the hoses, and takes care of the compost bins.

One gardener who thoroughly enjoys her plot is Ridge Street resident Ruth Trimarchi. She says she does it because, “It’s fun, the produce couldn’t be fresher and it saves money!” She also loves the gardeners’ camaraderie.

Ruth Trimarchi's plot in the summer of 2023. COURTESY PHOTO/RUTH TRIMARCHI

“For residents who do not have a yard, or do not have a yard that lends itself to gardening, the Community Garden is a welcome option. My own yard is very rocky and does not have enough sun to grow things I can easily grow at the Community Gardens,” she says.  “One enjoyable aspect is seeing different agricultural techniques.

Trimarchi notes some gardeners keep it simple and grow only tomatoes or dahlias, while others rotate a wide variety of traditional ethnic plants such as Chinese melons, Asian beans, Thai basil and other favorites. Some are fastidiously geometric in laying out their plots, and some “are quite haphazard gardeners and are perennially surprised when the harvest comes in!”

Trimarchi's granddaughter Sage enjoys tomatoes. COURTESY PHOTO/RUTH TRIMARCHI

According to Recreation Department Clerk Michelle Blumsack, “Wainwright and Field are very passionate about the gardens. All the Rec. Department does is process applications. The Community Gardens wouldn’t run without them.”

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