Snow Days in the Garden

The spruce: A tree for all seasons and many birds.

The spruce: A tree for all seasons.

Gardening changes in the winter, of course, but it doesn’t stop. For community gardeners living in the heart of a big city, there is the pleasure—bound up with responsibility—of being connected with a piece of land year round. So when it snows, shoveling the sidewalk in front of the garden is our job.

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Looking north at the Clinton Community Garden.

It’s been snowing lately, and working side by side with other gardeners reminds me that the street side of the garden is one of the ways in which community gardening is different from the usually more solitary experience of backyard gardening. Community gardening offers solitude in an urban environment, but it also demands participation, which is not so simple a thing as it may sound, especially in the dead of winter.

 

Snow crew at work.

Snow crew at work.

Enter the snow crew. No winter-prone community garden should be without one. Without one, our community garden would be the bane of the neighborhood, forcing pedestrians to hobble through ice and slush. Instead, our flawlessly scraped sidewalk earns compliments from passersby, most of whom know we’re volunteers, and it gives us an excuse to be gardeners in January and February.

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Cutting a back path for gardeners. Only sand is used here for traction. Salt harms plants and soil.

 

Stark beauty of a honey locust in winter.

Stark beauty of a honey locust in winter.

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