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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Belle Gets Some Greens through Garden Project

Belle Gets Some Greens 
through Garden Project:
Families “dig” program at 
Pequot Library
By Mike Lauterborn
(Posted to 5/21)
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – A certain furry resident at Southport’s Pequot Library loves her greens. Now her exclusive food source is a garden plot on the facility’s grounds, which was begun last year by library staff and community residents.

Early Saturday afternoon, a handful of locals joined staff at the Pequot Avenue property to beef up Belle’s Garden, by adding a square foot garden and expanding and fencing in the existing garden.

“We created a main plot for the first time last year as a feeding source for our rabbit Belle,” said Susan Ei, Children’s Librarian. “She needs three different fresh greens per day. All last summer, I was able to pick a medley of greens to feed her. It completely met her needs.”

This year, a main goal was to both incorporate and demonstrate the advantages of a square foot garden and add that element. “We have both seeds and seedlings to plant,” said Ei. “Belle likes basil, parsley, cilantro and other herbs.”

Besides Ei, leading the effort was Amie Hall, an SFG Certified Teacher and Health and Cooking Coach. She worked specifically on the square foot garden, a square-shaped grid built from wood 2’x4’s in which soil and then plants are placed. The structure was donated by Boy Scouts Troop 88 from Fairfield Grace Methodist Church.

“We can tie these gardens into educational programs that target all different ages,” said Hall. “For instance, a children’s oriented book like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ can play really well with the garden theme.”

Southporter Rochelle Almeida, with her niece Anaya, 3, and Arav, 7, was glad to come help with preparing the soil and planting. “The children adore Belle and helped plant her garden last year,” she said. “This is an opportunity to help her out some more and make sure she has enough fresh food for the summer. Last year, we planted lettuce; this year we’re planting basil. We’re having a little picnic at the same time, with our favorite food, hot dogs.”

Fairfielder Anne Moran brought along her son Kyle, 5, to help. “We wanted to learn how to plant a garden at home and brought one of our plants along, a bean plant, for Belle,” she said. “We’ve done flowers at home, but never food. The more my son is exposed to gardening, the more he may enjoy herbs and vegetables.”

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