Taylor Court Community Garden was created in 2008 under the supervision of Brenda Sullivan, Andrew Seeling and Gobinda Bonik, and with the help of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, ECSU students, UConn students, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Valley Street, and individuals and children from the neighborhood.
The garden was built on a lot owned by Roger Morin. Previously, there had been a restaurant there that burned down. The empty lot was full of garbage and the business next door, PMR, left truck beds there that were covered with graffiti. The lot neighbors Natchaug Elementary School. Part of the local Greenway runs past the location, as well, so there’s a lot of foot traffic. Because of the previous owners, it was necessary to build raised beds because of lead in the existing soil. After the garden was up and running, people began to stop and thank Brenda and her cohorts for “beautifying” the neighborhood. They noticed neighboring houses started cleaning up and they even painted the house across the street. The garden also became an opportunity for the children to grow vegetables for the first time in their lives, and those same children were led a tour of the garden for local dignitaries at our first harvest celebration, where they also received certificates thanking them for their contribution to the garden.
Funding for lumber and soil came from the Natchaug-Willimantic Neighborhood Revitalization Zone and a state grant for our sign, the town brought us compost and wood chips, and a fence was donated via Freecycle. Pride’s Corner nursery has also donated several plants over the past few years.
The garden is the size of a house lot. It has 6 raised beds, including one smaller, wheelchair accessible bed. There is also a small flower garden bed where lilies, roses, Jerusalem artichokes and raspberry bushes have thrived on the outside of the fence. The raised beds are 12 feet long and four feet wide and divided in half. Our main yield of vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, peppers, radishes, herbs, flowers.
The garden has been used by a series of local residents, but for now three years, it has partnered with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and all the food grown in their beds is donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen. In 2012, more than 100 pounds of vegetables were donated.
For more information, and for those seeking to volunteer, please contact Brenda Sullivan at:
860-942-8367 Voicemail box 1