Cicero LibraryFarm wraps up first growing season

To maintain an "organic" garden, no chemical fertilizers or chemicals are allowed into the LibraryFarm plots.

During the LibraryFarm's pilot season, 10 residents have chosen to garden at the library, and 10 others were involved in the planning process, said Backus.

Patti Herrmann, of Cicero is one of these people. An avid gardener since the 1970s, past-president of the Men's Gardening Club of Syracuse and member of the Edible Gardening Club, Herrmann was involved with the initial planning stages of the garden, and now rents a plot in the LibraryFarm. This summer she grew squash, watermelon, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an unwieldy pumpkin plant.

Tom Gokey, of Syracuse, also rents a plot at the LibraryFarm. This summer he planted beans, summer squash and lettuce, and frequently weeds and waters the community plot. He believes the LibraryFarm is an interesting concept, especially since it was his wife, Backus's, idea.

"The nature of the library is to pool resources, and everyone has access to it. The LibraryFarm functions in the same way that people can grow and share the vegetables together, and it's exciting to see what happens," Gokey said.

Backus said she would like to expand the garden, and even add a habitat flower garden to the mix in the future, "but it's not my garden or my land, it's the publics, so it's not up to me to decide how to use it."

While the LibraryFarm's current growing season comes to an end, Backus said there are many workshops and activities planned for the upcoming cold months to keep residents involved in the preparation process for next season's garden.

The first workshop was held Sept. 11, where topics of discussion were how to improve your soils with compost and what cover crops to plant for the upcoming winter months. The workshop was lead by the Edible Gardening Club's John Allen, a 30-year gardening veteran. Special guest speaker Gregory Gelewski, Recycling Operations Manager at the OCRRA Amboy site, was also present to discuss the importance of composting. The workshops are open to the public, and you do not have to rent a plot in the LibraryFarm to attend.

For more information about the LibraryFarm, the gardening workshops, or how to rent a plot next season, contact Meg Backus mbackus@nopl.org or call 699-2534, ext. 20.

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