The landscaped areas near our homes, barren in 2007 when we first moved in, are now beautiful and alive with small birds entertaining us all year. The wetland ponds and wild zone grasses have matured and regularly host deer, ducks and ducklings, herons, eagles, a muskrat family and all manner of small creatures, not to mention a chorus of frogs, some quite rare, on spring and summer evenings.
The addresses ‘501’ through ‘503’, large wooden bins down past the ponds are home to a multitude of hard working worms bins that create a phenomenal amount of rich compost all year 'round. Approximately 330 lbs (150 kg) of kitchen waste is processed every week. That’s a whopping 8.6 tons (7.8 tonnes) diverted from the waste stream & turned into “garden gold” each year! Every Monday morning the compost team gathers with the worms, rain, shine…and sometimes even in the snow, to help them process material from the rolling green compost bins stationed around the property. These composters are young and old and there’s a lot of laughter accompanying the sounds of chopping and shoveling.
In dealing with the land, the community has developed sustainable guidelines for both owners and contractors working on the decorative landscaping. We water trees and shrubs through drip and micro irrigation. Except for a few bits to play on, grass is left to go dormant in the summer. Garden beds are naturalized, using native species of groundcover as much as possible for low maintenance and cost. We do remove invasive plants and weeds periodically, but favor perennial ground covers to keep weeds in check. Where possible, we’re moving toward xeriscaping, using plants that need no extra water. We use three electric or three push mowers exclusively on our remaining lawns, keeping the grass between 3 and 5 inches long. We use only natural amendments on these decorative spaces and have many fruit trees around the property.
Extensive common vegetable gardens, a raspberry patch and significant orchard areas were planted and fenced soon after we moved onto the land. Natural amendments such as seaweed, leaves and bark mulch are gathered from local beaches and parks or purchased, creating a deep, rich loam from the original clay soils. The organic garden area has both private raised beds and common garden plots planted and cared for by teams. Much of the garden now has micro-irrigation, simplifying the care needed in the growing season. Like the whole of the Creekside Commons land, the gardens are a place of beauty and peace, a place to gather and work with neighbors to the music of the birds and bees.
A cedar and glass greenhouse is attached to the workshop off the parking lot, giving space for starting seedlings and wintering over tender plantings. A glass greenhouse in the fenced garden grows wonderful basil in the summers. The sweet little shed we built in the garden provides storage and shade. A local beekeeper keeps a summer hive outside our organic garden and the bees help pollinate and thrive here. We have many blue mason bee houses around the property too.