"It is a real story of everyone coming together to create a community treasure where people are now growing vegetables and getting their hands dirty and eating healthier." - Priscilla Ryder, Marlborough Conservation Officer
Overview of the Project
In 2012, the City of Marlborough, Massachusetts created its first community garden. It is called the Cider Knoll Community Garden. This is the first of hopefully three community gardens to be built around the city. The City of Marlborough is taking steps to be a greener and more sustainable community. By opening the first community garden, residents who want to garden but have limited or no available land can turn their dreams into reality and grow locally!
About the Garden
Location: The Cider Knoll Garden is located at 525 Stow Road, at the Cider Knoll/Mello Family Meadow Conservation Land.
Plots and Facilities: The garden contains 41 plots, some of which are 20ft x 10ft and some that are 10ft x 10ft in size. The garden is fenced in to prevent deer and other mammals from entering. A well provides water for irrigation. There are a few tools (rakes, hoes, shovels, etc.) and a wheelbarrow for the use of the gardeners. Plots can be rented for the growing season (mid-April to mid-November). Plots are assigned yearly and any resident of Marlborough is allowed a plot. If the number of potential gardeners exceeds the number of available plots, the plots are assigned by lottery and there is a modest charge. View the Cider Knoll Community Garden Plot Numbering here.
Apply for a Garden Plot: Download the Cider Knoll Community Garden Application here.
Rules and Regulations: The garden is organic, which means that gardeners must use only organic fertilizer and natural pest control methods. There is an annual start date of April 1st and end date of November 15th. Read more about the Cider Knoll Community Garden Rules & Regulations here.
Garden Community Members
Garden Manager: Priscilla Ryder, Marlborough Conservation Officer.
Garden Stewards: A few gardeners volunteer to assist Priscilla each year with various tasks such as advising new gardeners about plants, showing how equipment works, answering questions, etc.
Communications: The Conservation Department maintains a mailing list about garden affairs. Gardeners can contribute information and questions. As time permits, communications will evolve with use of social media. Communication among gardeners is by email list.
Life of the Garden: Every year, the garden, people, plants, and environment is different. However, there has been a spirit of helping each other. If someone is away, they usually find a fellow gardener to tend their plot. There is often informal discussion among gardeners about plants and other topics. Usually in spring and fall, extra hands are needed and gardeners volunteer to help with large garden project maintenance. It is truly a "community garden".
History of the Garden
In March of 2012, the city and a group of interested gardeners began to explore the possibility of creating a community garden. The Conservation Commission agreed to use a piece of conservation land on Stow Rd. for the garden. This land was formerly a turkey farm. Over the subsequent four months, many dedicated volunteers came forward to transform the selected area into a workable garden space. On June 20th of 2012, the Cider Knoll Community Garden was unveiled. It is a big step towards becoming a more sustainable community. Gardeners are growing vegetables and flowers in their plots, and the harvests thus far have been bountiful.
Special Thanks To: Mitchell McLean; Eagle Scout and Marlborough Troop #2 for organizing the construction and installation of the fencing around the garden; Lynn Faust; Grace Baptist Church's Second Saturday for organizing the volunteer crew; Reg Burgess for volunteering with his tractor and contributing endless hours to the project; the Marlborough DPW for delivering wood chips and helping as needed; Patrick Mauro of CMS Inc. for donating eight truckloads of rich black topsoil; and Dennis Demers of Demers Construction for providing the backhoe and labor needed to remove larger rocks. In Summer 2014, a shed was built by James Read, Eagle Scout, to house tools and supplies. Thanks to members of Boy Scout Troop #2 Marlborough for their contributions of time and materials.
Community Garden Contact
If you are interested in more information or being contacted about getting a garden plot, please either call (508) 360-3768 or email Priscilla Ryder at the Conservation Department.