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Bowdoin Organic Garden

Sunny Spring Garden

Story posted November 07, 2013

May 1, 2013

Mainers are used to having their hearts broken but hope is springing eternal here in Brunswick with a whole week of sunny, warm days.  The organic garden crew is racing around trying to take advantage of the amazing weather with a full slate of spring chores including but not limited to: greenhouse seeding, transplanting, mulching, rototilling, composting, fencing, irrigating and row covering.

Being a gardener means never having to say "I knew that was going to happen", because there's no use in trying to predict the future.  Like surfing, you just ride the wave you're on.  In her career, garden manager Sara Cawthon has experienced endless weeks of rain, inexplicable snowstorms, dangerous deer, persistent slugs, grazing sophomores and ravenous Japanese beetles.

Last winter wrecked havoc with the buildings on site.  The greenhouse was a victim of the wind and lost both side walls and the front door.  Sara said the plastic buckets and other supplies stored inside were strewn everywhere.  The shed, with its cleverly symetrical gutter and rain barrel system, last year drained to the east barrel and now drains to the west.  Perhaps a look at the sills is in order.

Sara's off-season office was in the Coles Tower basement at the Bowdoin Textbook Center, an unlikely place to find great mulch, but find it she did.  Watching the staff receive cases of engraved glassware for the bookstore, she noticed the mounds of shredded newsprint used as packing material.  She had been wondering what she would use to mulch her growing garlic and there it was.  With rain it will disintegrate and add to the soil.  Waiting for rain right now.

So much to do and a whole season ahead.  For now, Sara and garden assistant Mike Perisho are really "digging" their jobs.  We'll keep you posted as our garden comes alive.

"Gardening is like surfing.  You just ride the wave you're on."

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