Putnam Farm Growing Season Delayed To 2018

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Gardening , Conservation , Agriculture & Farming

A barn on the Putnam Farm property is near the future location of community gardening plots.  ED MARONEY PHOTO

ORLEANS To every time, there is a season. Unfortunately, the time for the first season of community gardening at Putnam Farm won't be this year.

There have been many encouraging signs for getting under way at the municipally-owned property behind Second District Court, but the town will not be able to put through an access way from Bridge Road until the fall.

“The water is in, but it's not on,” agricultural advisory council chair David Light said at his board's April 10 meeting. Light and member Stephen Ellis attended the March 21 conservation commission at which the easement plan for the site was approved; Light said conservation agent John Jannell received a round of applause for his work on the project.

The town plans to lease five plots of rough 1,500 square feet each to community gardeners next spring. Light said Jannell has “sequestered three large mounds of composted soil” to spread in the fall.

Ellis said he had a concern about water levels at the property. He saw flooding at the site after last week's “extraordinary amount of rain...Should we tell people they may not have early spring crops?”

Member Gretel Norgeot said there may be a drainage clog or break in the area, and Ellis agreed to inform Jannell about his observations.

The group is continuing efforts to ensure that a percentage of the town's open space is available for agriculture, once the dominant industry in Orleans. One current-day manifestation, the winter farmer's market, had a strong season at Nauset Regional Middle School, averaging about 200 customers per week with peaks approaching 300. The Orleans Farmers Market will be back on Old Colony Way this summer for its 24th season.

Light, who likes to keep things lively at agricultural advisory council meetings, showed some videos of goats being used to clear brush. Further discussion revealed that the council's selectman liaison, Jon Fuller, owns a couple of the creatures.