Some Stuff N' Stuff

Mostly a garden blog, and the occasional garden-inspired recipe.


Gardener of the month - Jen!

East Berkley Gardens entrance

The garden:
I visited my friend Jen's garden plot at East Berkley Gardens in the South End of Boston this past Sunday. I've never taken a close look at these urban gardens, so it was a pleasure to take walk around, view individual plots, and get to know it better.

Jen had a plot in the C row, abutting the public alley. This was her first full season gardening at the plot, which is about 10ft x 12ft, a bit bigger than my own. Hose outlets were spaced throughout the rows, and some recent improvements (with help from City Year) include wider access paths and new perimeter fencing.

Morning watering

As Jen and I entered her gated plot, I noticed she had an abundance of arugula, lettuce and radishes ready to harvest, as well as newly planted basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and spinach. Also growing were mint, peas, squash and marigolds. Her husband David had made raised beds, which helped to organize the garden nicely. She talked about making slanted arbors for cucumber vines and for growing lettuce under them - nice idea!

Jen in garden

Many of the plots in East Berkley Garden are used by Chinese residents from nearby Chinatown and the South End. These plots tend to have horizontal arbors created with a variety of found materials so their bitter melons have a place to grow and hang. Wire refrigerator shelving, old fencing, rice sacks, wood planks, broom handles and the like are pieced together to create several fascinating rows of squatter-like housing through the block, which used to be a row of dilapidated townhouses back in the 1960s. That morning, many Chinese women and men were out watering their gardens, harvesting spring crops and planting new seedlings for summer.

Cage-like garden plot

Some of the gardeners don't grow vegetables at all, but instead used the small spaces as a city oasis; growing flowers, grass and adding chairs and tables to relax in. These were some of my favorite plots, though many of the vegetable gardens with a cage-like feel were interesting to peek into to see what was growing behind all the material.

Quiet oasis


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