Garden Poirtraits

Last year UMass art student Jennie Castle took some photographs/portraits in the garden. You can see some of here work here.

In the Press: The Horticult

Berkeley was mentioned in a gardening blog The Horticult. In autumn, they contacted 8 community gardens around the country to ask about their Fall harvesting. Berkeley was one of those either.


Read the article here:
http://thehorticult.com/community-garden-nation-eight-urban-harvesters-talk-autumn-chores-crops-and-planting/ Read about Berkeley and other community gardens and their harvests.

The Red Posts

Sarah did some research on garden history to find out more about the original posts in the garden. Here is what she found.



The wooden pillars were the result of an early phase of organizing and integrating the garden membership through a design that reflected a new set of cooperatively agreed upon rules.

We installed posts and notched pillars at the same time we removed all the makeshift fencing and replaced it with a uniform set of posts and wire to designate the boundaries of the individual plots, the central pathway and upper pathway along E. Berkeley and the vertical connecting pathway system that was covered by wood chips that were free from arborists.

We also installed two gates to represent the East and Western predominant cultures in the garden and the metaphorical and literal coming together of the two! 

The western gate was basically a white rose arbor on the Tremont end and the Shawmut end had a “Chinese type gateway” both designed and built by artist Wenti Tsen. 

The pillars were to be painted red at the top to guide your eye down the spine of the garden and was the color of good luck for the Chinese. The smaller pillars were to serve as the identification of the individual plots with both the plot number and the name of the gardener which was carefully recorded on the base map when they signed up and paid their dues and signed the garden agreement stating the new rules in english and Chinese.That way everyone would know who was keeping up their plot and who was “lazy” and needed to be reprimanded. 

This concept was arrived at through multiple discussions with translators and Mr Yee as the broker and primary leader of the Chinese gardeners at the time in the 1980’s on into the early 90’s

City Year did all the work with the guidance of Carpenter/builder Linda Leseyna (now at Boston Building Materials Coop) The major clean ups of that era and removal of the makeshift fencing was the product of multiple volunteer projects- from individuals in a pre release program with Mass half way houses, students from Harvard's GSD, of course the gardeners themselves and other groups from corporations, private schools , etc. 

Finally, the space between the pillars and posts was designated for flowers ONLY to limit vegetable encroachment by individual gardeners back into the central pathway to increase their personal growing space. The flowers were for the community and to be a visual statement of beautification to share. 

Every year we would receive a truckload of flowers from Mahoney's and they would get a tax credit for every plant!

 
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Renewals, Spring Cleanup and Lottery

Renewals for existing gardeners have been sent out. For (current) gardeners paying in person, the signup will be Saturday, March 5th from 10-noon in our usual location.

Any renewal not paid for by Noon on Saturday, March 5th will lose their garden space.


Our annual Spring Cleanup and Garden lottery will be on
Saturday, April 2nd.    


Spring Cleanup

Our Spring cleanup is out 'opening day' for the garden, and a way to get the garden looking good for the new year.   At the cleanup we will have a dumpster available for people to clean out larger debris from their garden.  A reminder to gardeners that this year we will continue our effort to have gardeners keep their plots free of excess materials and supplies that they do not use during the growing season.  At Spring Cleanup we clean up any winter trash that has accumulated, cleanup leaves and other winter debris, help new gardeners clean out their spots as needed, and take of any maintenance that we can while we have many hands available.  Lunchtime brings a garden pot luck and general meeting of all gardeners.  In the afternoon we finish up any garden-wide projects, and gardeners begin to lean out their own plots.

Lottery

Spring Cleanup is also our day when our neighbors have the opportunity to join us in our annual Garden Lottery.   Open plots are given out in a lottery system where everyone has an equal chance of joining the garden community.  Since being a part of Berkeley means being a part of our community as well as a gardener, we ask that all applicants live in the South End/Bay Village (gardeners living farther away tend to have trouble coming to the garden regularly, and all have dropped out after their first year)

At 8:30 sign-in begins.  This allows you to read and fill in the necessary paperwork and become familiar with the garden.  At 9am the lottery drawing begins.   If you win a garden on lottery day, you will be expected to remain with the garden for the day to help cleanup and meet all of your new garden neighbors.  You must be present to enter the lottery.

We ask everyone read
How to Join the Garden for additional information on the process and becoming a member of our community.   If you have any questions on the lottery please contact lottery@berkeleygardens.org

Garden closed for the season

The Garden is now Closed for the season.
Thanks to everyone for a great 2015 season!
 
 Please keep the gates locked at all times.  
If you go into the garden, please use your key to get in,
and lock the door behind you as you enter.



The garden is generally closed from December 1 until March 1.   

We close the garden in the winter for the safety and security of you the gardeners, and the garden itself.  With no one gardening in the cold months, we lose our ‘eyes on the garden’ – meaning people can come in and vandalize or misuse the garden, and no one is around to see such illicit activity.   This month we had a homeless person living in the garden, who went unnoticed for a week.  To keep our garden property safe, and to keep people from coming in and drinking, doing drugs, or setting up camp in the garden, we keep the gates locked at all times to keep visitors out during winter months. 
 
The Tremont, Shawmut and East Berkeley gates all lock with your garden keys.  The Alley gates are permanently locked closed.  We have reinforced the East Berkeley fence gap while we await final fence repair. 

We also ask that you do not enter the garden after snow has fallen.   The sun can melt snow during the day, which refreezes at night, making the garden paths icy and treacherous.   Should you slip and fall, you could go undiscovered for hours.   For your own safety, please keep out of the garden once snow begins falling.  

As always, if you see any illicit activity in the garden, please call 9-1-1 to report the activity to the police (617-3434-911 from your cell phone).  Remain on scene to let the police in (if need be) and email garden leadership so we know something has happened in the garden.    If you call police, the garden address is 500 Tremont, and 215 Shawmut Ave. (depending on which end of the garden you see activity).  

Water is off for the 2015 season

The water in the garden is now OFF for the season.   

The water will remain off until April.   The Trustees will 'blow out' the system in November.  (Run air through the lines to make sure there is no water in the pipes that could freeze)

The city turns the water to all community gardens off in the last half of October.   They work on their own schedule, trying to shut off all water and remove water meters before the first freeze happens.

Car crash - April, 2015

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It seems to happen every few years.

On the night of Sunday, April 12th, a car crashed into our garden. The car, driving erratically down East Berkeley Street, swerved to the left and headed toward the garden. After launching off the curb, the car sailed through the fence, taking out 2 fence panels and their concrete foundations. While sailing through the fence, the car also managed to spin around 180 degrees and land in the garden central grass area facing the 'wrong way'.

The car hit around the middle of the garden, so only the corner of 1 garden plot was damaged. In landing in the central area the car managed to take out our the water system. Luckily, the water was not yet on, so we did not have a geyser in addition to the car in the garden. But because of the damage, water for gardeners can't be restored until the system gets repaired.

No one was injured in the crash, but one gardener was heading towards that area, and missed being in the wrong place by about a minute. The driver was not injured, and there were no pedestrians on that sidewalk at the time (fortunately, given it was an early evening crash).

While there were no injuries, the garden damage was extensive. The water system was damaged below ground, so the concrete pad has to be removed and the entire area excavated in order to repair the damage and replace all the hardware. The fence panels will take a few months to re-fabricate.

For those who have asked how they can help, the garden is accepting donations that will go towards repairing the water system and towards the Berkeley fence fund. (We are unsure if the car owner's insurance will cover the damage.)

If you wish to donate to the garden, please make cheques out to BNAN/TToR, and write "Berkeley Garden" in the memo field. Please indicate if you would like a receipt for your donation for tax purposes.

Cheques can be sent to

Berkeley Community Garden
c/o Jim Smith. Treasurer
2 Rollins Street, D504
Boston, MA  02118-4412


For additional photos of the accident, please see John McLachlan's
Flickr photo album. The photos may be used for press purposes, as long as credit is given.


We thank everyone for the well wishes we have received, and hope to have the garden repairs as fast as we can.

2014 Spring Cleanup and Lottery

Our annual Spring Cleanup and Garden lottery will be on Saturday, April 5th.    We have moved cleanup to early in April this year to give new gardeners time to start their growing season, and to get the garden looking good as soon as the weather allows.

Spring Cleanup

Our Spring cleanup is out 'opening day' for the garden, and a way to get the garden looking good for the new year.   At the cleanup we will have a dumpster available for people to clean out larger debris from their garden.  A reminder to gardeners that this year we will continue our effort to have gardeners keep their plots free of excess materials and supplies that they do not use during the growing season.  At Spring Cleanup we clean up any winter trash that has accumulated, cleanup leaves and other winter debris, help new gardeners clean out their spots as needed, and take of any maintenance that we can while we have many hands available.  Lunchtime brings a garden pot luck and general meeting of all gardeners.  In the afternoon we finish up any garden-wide projects, and gardeners begin to lean out their own plots.

Lottery

Spring Cleanup is also our day when our neighbors have the opportunity to join us in our annual Garden Lottery.   Open plots are given out in a lottery system where everyone has an equal chance of joining the garden community.  Since being a part of Berkeley means being a part of our community as well as a gardener, we ask that all applicants live in the South End/Bay Village (gardeners living farther away tend to have trouble coming to the garden regularly, and all have dropped out after their first year)

At 8:30 sign-in begins.  This allows you to read and fill in the necessary paperwork and become familiar with the garden.  At 9am the lottery drawing begins.   If you win a garden on lottery day, you will be expected to remain with the garden for the day to help cleanup and meet all of your new garden neighbors.  You must be present to enter the lottery.

We ask everyone read
How to Join the Garden for additional information on the process and becoming a member of our community.   If you have any questions on the lottery please contact lottery@berkeleygardens.org

2014 Renewals on their way

Renewal Notices were US mailed out this weekend - if you know now that you are NOT going to renew your garden please let us know by sending an email to johnmc@berkeleygardens.org.

Please read through the enclosed materials you will receive - there are some changes from last year. 

We rely on everyone to log in their own hours when working on special projects. If you have not recorded your work hours you may be charged for not participating. If you believe you have worked 12 hours please contact us - stuff happens and its possible your hours were not recorded correctly.

The last day to pay is March 15 - please contact the number on your sheet if your payment will be delayed or if your hours are not correct. All payments are due March 15 - with payment in person on the 15th @40 Berkeley Street (formerly YWCA). 

After March 15 we will assume, if we have not heard from you or received payment you are not returning. On April 5 when we have our Annual Garden Clean Up, all unclaimed gardens will be given away at Lottery.

In case you are looking locally for garden seeds our neighborhood hardware store - Warren Electric True Value on Tremont Street in Castle Square has some great spring seeds for sale - Peas go in March 14th --- they are giving away free energy efficient light bulbs with every purchase.

We all look forward to seeing everyone soon.



Berkeley Garden Leadership

Garden closed for the season

Thank you to all our gardeners and visitors for a great 2013 season!

The garden is now closed for the winter. Shorter days can make the garden less safe for walking, and cold weather with snow and ice can make dallying in the garden dangerous. The gates will be locked at all time until Spring.

Keep an eye on the web site for 2014 cleanup and lottery days - we'll be planning that schedule in January.