Although the 55 raised beds that Pitney Meadows plans to offer to the Saratoga Springs community in its soon-to-be-launched community gardens have not yet been built, Andrew Shaw can rest easy, knowing he’ll be first in line to get one when they are.
A 29-year-old instructor at the Navy’s Kesselring Site in West Milton, Shaw was the lucky winner of the community gardens raffle conducted by Pitney Meadows at its informal April 19th fund-raiser at Artisanal Brew Works. The raffle helped to raise nearly $1500 for the farm.
“I was riding by on my bike with a friend and just dropped in for a beer,” says Shaw, who lives on Rip Van Lane in Saratoga Springs. He bought a ticket and was delighted when he won.
At 8x4 feet, this will be the largest garden Shaw has cultivated. “I had a 4x6 garden down in Virginia before being transferred to Saratoga Springs last October.” A friend has given him seedlings for corn, green beans, tomatoes, and spinach.
“I love the vision for the farm as a place to bring the community together,” he says. “It looks like a great way to get involved.”
If the scheduling works with the ten-hour shifts he puts in for the Navy, he says he’ll be glad to join the team that community gardens director Natalie Walsh is assembling to build the gardens. They’ll get to to work as soon as the Planning Board approves the site plan Pitney Meadows has submitted for the gardens. Meanwhile, the site for the community gardens is being prepped, fertilized, limed, and graded by Paul Arnold, Pitney Meadows’ chair for buildings and grounds.
Thirty-five of the beds will be 8x4, ten will be 8x12, and an additional ten will be for those with limited mobility, Walsh said. They’ll be offered to the public on a sliding scale to be announced when the Planning Board gives its go-ahead on the project.
“We think demand is likely to outstrip supply, so we’ll offer them by lottery,” says Walsh. “If our efforts to raise additional funds are successful, the number of beds to be built in the first year could go as high as 95.”
“We hope to be ready for planting by the end of May or early June,” she adds, noting that the installation of water for irrigation is essential. ““It is currently being engineered and will be ready later in May.”