Garden Plotting 2018
By Mary Eyster and Mary Ann Hoag
The Garden Committee will be working with the Vice Commodore to create new individual plots this coming Fall season. The work will progress in many stages, some of which have already begun. The result will be new contiguous individual garden plots adjacent to a garden shed that will house the power equipment used for garden and lawn maintenance, thereby opening up more indoor and outdoor boat storage.
The plotting started a few years ago, when it became clear that the need for more boat storage was slowly eliminating the personal garden plots. The Garden Committee, Board members and members of the Sailing Committee agreed that it would make sense to reorganize the individual plots to use the space more equitably and efficiently. Howie Alfred came up with a “floor plan” for the plots that provided eighteen mostly equal-size plots, with some additional planting space around the perimeter. There will be room for walkways between the rows of plots, but no need for grass cutting and trimming in between.
The basic perimeter of the area was laid out in the Fall of 2016, but it was decided that the time to dig up and move would be the Fall of 2018. This was due to the need to build the garden shed before installing the new gardens (and the need to finish the PC 23 safety boat before starting another project). Jim Luton has been working on the shed design, and he and a crew have already laid the footings and sill. Before that took place in the Fall of 2017, a lot of weedy brush had to be cleared along the Diamond Point fence, and some plants had to be relocated to other parts of our yard. We expect to be able to maintain our existing plots through the 2018 growing season, and after that the new plots will be prepared and planted.
The Garden Committee and board members discussed methods for allocating plots, but there is nothing final in that regard at this time. We expect that those who have been actively maintaining their gardens will be given one of the new plots. Likely the choice will be determined by some type of lottery. We have also discussed that going forward there may be some type of rotation system so that those interested in growing veggies and flowers will have a chance to do so. Additionally, we may create some communal plots for all to enjoy. These are the seeds of our plan; it will take more time and discussion to work out the details. For some more info on this, see the Vice Commodore’s report.
Of course, in addition to the individual gardens there has been a lot of work put into maintaining the club’s perennial gardens. Almost three years ago, a very extensive project of planting native plants took place. Hundreds of native grasses and wildflowers that are adapted to our habitat were planted in the various gardens around the clubhouse, near the front fence and gate, and along the shoreline and back fence.
Maintaining and nurturing has been challenging for a few reasons. One reason is that we don’t have regular irrigation, and the watering depends on volunteers who take the time to pick up a hose and water the gardens. The hope is that once these natives are established watering will not be so necessary, as they are adapted to the conditions they are in. However, times of prolonged drought and heat do often make supplemental watering important.
The second challenge is that native plants look to some like “weeds.” Grasses and wildflowers look very different than roses and tulips, and there have been some well-intentioned volunteers who have weeded out the natives and planted non-native ornamentals in their place. For this reason, the Committee has tried to spread the word: DON’T WEED. Actually, it’s fine to weed if you really do know the difference between Mugwort and an Aster or Goldenrod. The plants as they are emerging can look similar. Porcelain Berry is another weed to eradicate, but it can be confused with Virginia Creeper (and that is our friend). We will try to organize some “Weed-Fest” days when supervised weeding will be encouraged. The reason for the focus on natives is two-fold. We want to create butterfly and bird habitats; and part of our mandate from the NYC Parks Department is to plant natives.
Please contact either of the Marys if you are not part of the Garden Committee group yet, but would like to be. Holly Sears has set up a Google list for us, and you will be able to get notifications. And we promise – we don’t send out a lot of messages. Happy Spring!