Spring is upon us.
We have been working hard this winter; planing, plotting, pruning.
We (the Manheim Park Garden Conservency) have successfully purchased the land of the main garden, as well as other assorted green spaces in the neighboorhood from NHS, who had taken great care of it for so many years. This purchase was important for two reasons. Firstly, as outlined in the Conservency’s articles, it assures the land will be maintained as a green space in perpetuity. This protects the garden and the neighborhood from being mangled by short sighted / speculative real estate ventures that have left slummy apartment blocks strewn throughout the city’s historic neighborhoods. Secondly, it affords us as community more autonomy in our projects there. The formation of the Conservency and the purchase has already made us more ambitous, and more people from the community are involved now than ever.
Also, not long after a group pruning session, the peach tree blossomed this week, aint it purdy?
Matt Bunch, of the Giving Grove discussed strategies for developing the newly acquired space north of the main garden. We are working to develop the lot into a low-maintenance sustainable food forest, having already begun removing the brush from the fallow land. Matt, having expertise in tree care and urban agriculture, sat down with us to discuss what types of fruit trees will suit our plan, what kind of ground plants help support them, and how to prepare the lot for young trees.
Steve Sackin is taking the lead on this project, and after much discussion, we have decided to spend the spring and summer preparing the space for saplings to be planted in the fall. In the meantime we are re-shaping the earth to help retain water, spreading nitrogen fixing clover, removing invasive overgrowth, etc.
Fruit trees are one of the few cultivated organisms that live on timescales longer than humans, so this is a long term project. We expect to install the trees in the fall, but the food forest will continue to grow in value for decades.