Derry’s Broadview Community Garden on Young Road represents the best of what community is all about. The garden came into being almost two decades ago when the farmhouse and outbuildings on the property were torn down and an area thought to have been the farm’s original garden was discovered.
Dennis Wiley, who has been associated with the Broadview Community Garden from its beginning, said the decision to create a community garden was made when that old garden area was identified. Phil Ferdinando of J&F Farms was contacted and he plowed the area and composted it that first year, and has been doing so routinely ever since.
“It just gets better and bigger every year,” Wiley said. “We are taking good care of it and hope that it can continue to grow.”
The first year attracted about 10 plots, Wiley recalled. This summer there are 40 or 50 plots. The growth of participants accelerated after 2003, when a Troop 405 Eagle Scout and his friends discovered an old well and restored it, putting in a pump so the garden had water.
The people who work the plots at the Broadview Community Garden are as varied and as individualistic as the gardens they tend. Each garden plot reflects its gardener’s motivation and effort and each has its own rhythm. The gardens are totally different, even though much of what is grown is similar. And the gardeners can be found working at any and all hours of the day every day – some coming at a consistent time each day, others totally random.
The gardeners range from those intensely invested in producing fresh vegetables to others who are more interested in the social aspects of the experience. It doesn’t matter what an individual’s motivation or goals, however; each has a space to tend and they do it with enthusiasm.
Rebekah and Jim Arruda said they love the garden and tend it strictly for the fresh vegetables produced. They said the soil is excellent quality and there is plenty of sun, both of which contribute to the growing that takes place. Jim Arruda said with a smile that raising fresh vegetables costs him more than it would to buy them at a supermarket, but he said no one would catch him eating a tomato bought at the supermarket – he only eats the ones he has grown himself.
“I put the labor into it and it just tastes better,” he said. “We don’t use too many processed veggies. We like getting the fresh vegetables we grow, and they taste better for the little sweat equity we put into it.”
Another man said his vegetables were growing better than he expected. He said his effort is an experiment and he was growing zucchini and other varieties of squash. “We live in an apartment so have no availability of a garden, so this is good,” he said. “We come by every day to water.”
Fred and Sveta Breitwieser said they think the community garden is “a great asset of the Town for its people. I know my great-grandparents and grandparents had gardens so it is just something we do and we enjoy it,” he said.
They are growing a variety of vegetables but tomatoes are their favorite. Sveta said she loves to eat them right off the vine.
“Things seem to be growing pretty well this year,” Fred said. “This is our second year having a plot at the Community Garden. We’ve already had a harvest of radishes and we are waiting for the cucumbers and the dill. We even had a couple of plants come up left over from last year – a tomato and a potato plant. That’s a bonus we won’t leave behind.”
The Rev. Ben Hamblett and his wife, Mary, are in their second year with their garden plot at Broadview.
“We have a double plot this year but things don’t seem to be growing quite as well as last year,” Ben said. “However, we’ve had several crops of beans and the corn is sort of coming along, but we have squash all over the place.”
The Hambletts have a garden plot because they love having fresh vegetables and were used to having a garden at almost every church with which they were affiliated. They tried making a garden at their Beaver Lake Avenue home but found the soil was not good quality and there wasn’t enough sunshine.
“We found out about this community garden last year and we were happy to participate and are enjoying it again this year,” Ben said.
For more information concerning the Broadview Community Garden, call Dennis Wiley at 434-0420 or Peg Kinsella at 432-5604.