Spruce Mountain student garden helps food pantry

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JAY — Trevor Doiron, a Spruce Mountain High School sophomore, and a few other students and community members have just wrapped up their third year of growing a community garden.

The garden, now with six beds, supplied the Tri-Town Ministerial Association Food Cupboard with 87 pounds of fresh vegetables.

This year’s project included construction of two more 4- by 12-foot beds. Grown inside them were green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and zucchini.

“We got a lot of green peppers, but they don’t add up in weight,” Trevor said.

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This year’s harvest weight, 78 pounds, was slightly more than last year’s crops but less than the first year’s community garden, which had produced 135 pounds of vegetables. Trevor attributes the fewer pounds to a bad tomato season. He said the fruit didn’t get enough sun and many of the tomatoes had rotted.

But that’s not deterring him from growing another community garden next year.

“I always like to outdo the year before,” he said. “I want to keep doing this. There is less and less food at the food pantries.”

Lucas Alley, also a sophomore, is one of the students who has helped out at the garden since its beginning in 2012.

“With the two new beds, we had more room and didn’t have to plant the vegetables so close to each other,” he said.

Trevor said the Oxford County Extension Office donated most of the seeds, as well as awarding a small grant for the construction of the two new garden beds.

Teachers and community members helped the students with the garden.

The group “put the garden to bed” last Sunday. Now they plan to cover the beds with compost and a wire blanket.

Trevor was very pleased that nothing disappeared from the garden this year, as in years past. Two of the hoses used to water the garden were apparently stolen last year, so the community garden group had to buy two more. Money for the hoses pretty much wiped out the fund Trevor and the group had accumulated, so Oxford County Extension’s grant was very helpful.

Lucas said he wants the beds to produce 200 pounds of food for the food pantry next year.

“It’s a very, very good cause,” he said.

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