Victory Garden Project Thrives at Central Library

The Plot against Hunger garden at Arlington Central Library has gotten off to a strong start this season. While AFAC is unable to accept produce from volunteers, Central Library has been working with the Victory Garden Project to distribute fresh vegetables to church pantries at Our Lady Queen of Peace and St. Charles and to the Arlington YMCA.  Volunteer gardener Angela Koloszar files this report:

“Spring and early summer have been a busy time in the Central Library Garden. Although we miss seeing library patrons, we get plenty of company from the rabbits, birds, and bugs. A small crew of gardeners takes care of weekly harvesting, maintenance, and watering.  It offers a wonderful break from quarantine, being out in the sun with our hands in the soil.  Even though we are masked and socially distant in the garden, we find great camaraderie among our team.

We started the season with a new, bigger shed, provided by the generosity of Friends of the Arlington Library.  It is an exciting addition to the library garden, as we had outgrown our well-worn (and loved) smaller shed.

Spring brought a bumper crop of greens, including collards, mustard, Swiss chard, and three types of kale. We also harvested Chinese cabbage, snow peas, garlic chives, herbs, and chamomile.

As summer starts in earnest, our tomatoes are growing rapidly as are our peppers, beans, and herbs. We just planted cucumbers and squash (both summer and winter varieties). Cosmos, Mexican sunflowers, and dahlias are starting to bloom and hum with the sound of beneficial insects busy at work. One such insect, the cicada killer wasp, visited in early July and gave us an exciting morning. The fearless Puwen Lee safely captured it for identification then release.

Apart from these beneficial friends, we have been battling the usual garden pests – whiteflies, slugs, and harlequin beetles.  The local rabbits have become quite wily this year, challenging us to find new and inventive ways to keep them out of the garden. It is never boring!

Recently, we harvested greens, garlic, green beans, and walking onions. The coming weeks promise more beans, both bush and pole varieties, as the rest of the garden matures and ripens. We are weeding and mulching the beds, preparing for the rest of the growing season. We look forward to continuing our garden work and hope for a full harvest for those in need.”

Thanks to Love and Carrots and to other seedling growers for donations of spring and summer crops.

And thanks to the garden crew this year, which includes Puwen Lee, Mencit Thomas, Audrey Morris, Angela Koloszar, and Brittany Ryan.