Garden yielding veggies, interest


OTISFIELD – The Otisfield Community School’s garden project is in full bloom this summer.

The beans have been canned, the pea pods are ripe, the carrots are sprouting, the flower beds have blossomed and excavation work has begun for the new greenhouse and community garden.

“We even used the radishes and lettuce for salads at the town meeting,” said Otisfield Community School head custodian Barbara Morgan, who along with Loretta Ayotte and Principal Linda Park have been overseeing the metamorphosis of the school grounds into a full-fledged vegetable and flower garden.

The project began from an idea conceived by Park two years ago to have the kindergarten class plant a perennial garden on the side of the building. That small garden has now grown to a schoolwide, four-sided perennial garden filled with brown eyed susans and many other varieties of flowers that were planted by different classes over the last two years.

Last March, students in the school’s Garden Club began a vegetable garden in front of the school using seeds and seedlings donated by local residents and businesses and started in the school’s greenhouse.

A number of the students have come back to the school this summer to “adopt” one of the garden beds for a week. It is their responsibility that week to tend the garden, Morgan said.

Additionally, excavation work has begun for the new 45-by-28-foot greenhouse that was donated by Helen Solm, a summer resident who often stops by the school on Powhatan Road to see the children’s latest venture.

Once erected, the greenhouse will be used along with the existing 12-by-12-foot greenhouse to continue to grow the seeds for planting each year.

A large parcel of land in front of the school is also being cleared to make way for as many as 30 new vegetable beds that the school principal hopes will become a communitywide project.

“It’s so beautiful,” Morgan said of the garden.