Our very own sharer Jennifer Benson is volunteering her time this summer on a special project at Stearns. Below, she explains the specifics and the garden transformation taking place. Be sure to read all the way through to see how you can help contribute! 

Until next time,

“You may have noticed over the past couple weeks that the area between the greenhouse and the pathway to the pavilion is covered by large plastic sheets — perhaps not something you expect to see at an organic farm situated on SVT conservation property.

Sharer volunteers have placed these plastic sheets down for a soil solarization project. Soil solarization is a non-chemical method of controlling pests, weeds and invasive species by using energy from the sun. Large pieces of plastic trap heat underneath to kill the vegetation. We’ll remove the plastic in the early fall, after the more intense heat of the summer has passed.

We will then place down fresh compost and plant a pollinator garden. We envision common milkweed, butterfly weed, mountain mint, echinacea, rudbeckia, native goldenrod, asters and other native/regional and medicinal (non-invasive) plants that support eggs, larvae and adult butterflies, attract hummingbirds and delight various species of native bees. This fall, when you are splitting your plants in your own garden and thinning perennial pollinator plants, please consider donating your extras to the Stearns pollinator garden! Whenever you walk by to pick up your share in future years, you will see that some plants from your garden are at Stearns, supporting native insects, birds, and the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, you can help turn this area into a beautiful part of the farm by contributing your painted rocks for the rock edge lining the path! We envision rocks painted to look like pollinators, flowers, abstract designs and positive messages for people to read as they walk along the pathway to the pavilion to pick up their weekly share. In the coming weeks, we will have some rocks set out for you to paint. We are excited about this community effort at Stearns Farm.”