Every March, as the spring season comes, garden members are often busy organizing members of our garden community to meet and plan the season’s work. This year it all came to an abrupt halt when New York City’s Covid-19 lockdown was announced.
There would be no in-person meetings for the foreseeable future. An entire season of events and meetings had to be put on hold. Although we aren’t able to gather together in the garden this year for meetings, workdays, or public events, at least we can continue to tend to the garden as nature requires.
Parque de Tranquilidad is normally a little park where gardeners and neighbors spend restful hours to recharge from daily city life. We gardeners know nature. We know we need to tend to the garden to keep it beautiful for the future and at least for now for ourselves and all the passers-by. Over email, gardeners have arranged to work alone at different hours, depending on what the garden needs.
During the March MLT Board of Directors meeting via Zoom, it was decided to supply vegetable seeds to MLT gardens this growing season. Uncertainty brought by Covid-19 has our organization considering how we can be more self reliant gardeners and make good with fewer supplies available this year. Growing vegetables in NYC gardens seemed urgent, since this is land in the city that can provide us with fresh food, which many of us need now. This practice reminds us of the Victory gardens that millions of Americans grew during the tough times of World War II.
We are happy to report that last year’s neighborhood volunteers have become permanent gardeners, Welcome! Other updates this year include building a second compost bin and cutting down a bush because it was sick and posed a danger of spreading this all over the garden. This freed up a new area in the garden with the most hours of sun! In that sunny place, we’re now trying out some tomatoes, cucumbers and beans. We were successful in completing all this work while wearing masks and maintaining social distance – the Covid-19 season in the garden!
Below is Natalie giving support to our tomato plants and a picture of our first ever and almost ready to harvest cucumber!
Getting soil needed for planting came unexpectedly from the Lower East Side Ecology Center! They offered free compost to us. Twice they gave us a generous amount of compost for our garden and the new planting project. Thank you to both Peter and Kellan, who did the heavy work bringing it to us!
This gave the whole garden a fresh, healthy boost.
The new compost bin we wished for in our garden was started. And surprise! It’s taking longer, with more steps and time until completion, than we foresaw. We admire members Natalie and Patrick for dedicating so much time and effort to building it.
We gardeners had a surprisingly active springtime in spite of Covid-19 restrictions and being closed to the public. Besides new projects, all the regular work had to be done as well. Anne has been making sure the flower beds are doing well and our garden cat is fed and happy.
So many hands are busy keeping the garden at its wonderous stage. Everyone had to help watering. Thank you, Brendan, for stepping up on that too. And thank you to all the other gardeners as well who have enjoyed the space to sit, exercise and admire.
Finally, there is the sidewalk in front the garden. Manhattan Land Trust is the owner of our garden and therefore responsible for its safety. It took many years and this year getting approval from the city under the new Covid-19 guidelines made everything more stressful before the work could even start, but now it has been repaired.
The previous repair from three years ago did not hold up after a very cold and salty winter. This time repair work went smoothly. G.M. Construction & Waterproofing Corp. did extremely good work. They’re a great team.
Hopefully this update from Parque de Tranquilidad in the Covid-19 era gave you insight into how it is functioning, including the difficulties and joy the garden brings to our members and hopefully next year to the public again. Our annual art shows in the garden and Sunday “Coffee and Cake” afternoons will come back in the future. With more and different members, there are more and different ideas coming to the garden.
There will be gardening with and beyond Covid-19, nature takes its way!
Parque de Tranquilidad
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