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With spring around the corner work at the Senior Center garden set to begin

March 21, 2011

The Senior Center’s Community garden last year in its full glory. More than 1,102 pounds of food last year for people in need.

ANGELENA CHAPMAN
achapman@ricentral.com

Work on the community garden at the Senior Center and in preparation for the larger community garden across from town hall will begin this week.
After putting the garden to bed in the fall it is time to start replanting. Just in time for daylight savings and just over a week before the first day of spring, work will begin this Friday and Saturday.

All food raised at the gardens is donated to the Coventry Food Bank, used at the Senior Center or donated wherever it is needed to help local residents.
“It all goes to help the unemployed or underemployed,” Gail Tatangelo, garden organizer, said.
Last year at the two gardens they raised a total of 1,102 pounds of food, Tatangelo said.
This Friday morning, March 11 they will be at the Coventry Senior Center, 50 Wood St. at 11 a.m. and will work for about an hour. They will be working with the seniors there planting seeds, she said.
Tatangelo said the seniors have a ball at the garden.
Some of the food grown in the gardens will be used to make them potato salad or used in salads. “It’s helping seniors in town,” she said, who go there for meals.
They like to get them fresh vegetables if they can, she said, especially if they helped grow them.
“They raise them from seed to fruit,” she said.
This Friday they will also be making newspaper pots, which are biodegradable.
Anyone who comes to help will learn how to make their own newspaper pots, she said.
Because everything they use to make them is biodegradable the pots can be placed right into the ground with the seedlings in them.
“They have such a good time there,” she said.
Then on Saturday, March 12 they will be at the greenhouse located at the Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School to clean up the greenhouse at 9:30 a.m.
The greenhouse is where they keep the seedlings for the larger community garden located at the town hall annex, 1675 Flat River Rd.
When entering the middle school on Saturday go all the way to the right and follow that drive all the way to the back of the school, Tatangelo said.
They will not be washing out pots this year and have all new CowPots to plant in, so as not to disturb the roots when planting out.
The planting out date has already been set for Saturday, June 4.
That is the day when they will actually take the seedlings from the greenhouse to the large community garden.
The Coventry Community Garden received a $1,000 grant from KidsGardening.org this year. They plan to use the money to put in some new beds and hopefully start another new garden at the Western Coventry Elementary School. They hope to be seeding with the Girl Scouts and hopefully with kids from the school.
It will get the kids knowing how to raise their own vegetables, Tatangelo said.
The food grown there will also be donated to the Coventry Food Bank or where it is needed.
Tatangelo credited Robert Robillard, for putting his best effort forward to get the grant for the garden. “We wouldn’t have it if he didn’t do it,” she said.
Tatangelo said she is also hopeful that she will be able to begin a program at the library before the planting out date.
Why should people help out this year?
“It is healthy and it relieves stress when you get your hands soiled in the dirt,” Tatangelo said.
They are also trying to encourage people to start their own gardens or buy from local farmers so that people are eating local produce instead of food brought in from overseas.
People will learn “from seed to seed,” she said, or how to grow produce with seeds they saved over the winter from the year before.
That is what they are hoping to teach people, to save seeds and plant their own vegetables, she said.

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