We are celebrating this year’s harvest moon with an introduction to a uniquely abundant place right in Copper Harbor!
Let’s learn a little bit about the history. Then we’ll go inside!
As you can tell from the sign, this community garden started the summer of 2014. The purpose was to give residents who don’t have a place for a garden, well, a place for a garden! This space is surrounded by a six foot tall fence to keep out the deer and other hungry animal. It’s divided into plots for each of the participating residents to work and harvest vegetables for personal use.
This luxurious black soil holds plants for just over a dozen grateful locals. Each plot worker tends to their own spot, and it goes something like this once June hits:
- The garden has been tilled and it’s dry enough to work! Time to get out there before the blackflies do!
- Using anything from hand tools to bare hands, tenders pick rock, turn soil and pull any organic matter from last year.
- Each worker plans their plot, plants the seeds and waters the earth.
- They must then water it pretty much every day for at least two weeks.
- Then the bugs come out to chew up the workers while the workers diligently pull the tiniest of weeds, usually crab grass and purslane. Cutworms eat many of the small cruciferous vegetation, and the people swear when they see their cauliflower is gone… again.
- They keep watering and getting bitten by bugs in the glorious sunshine.
- Soon the seeds they planted are bigger than the weeds that keep coming back!
- Now they can eat some salad greens, and watch the rest grow!
- Etcetera, etcetera. It’s a garden! And it’s time to harvest!
Why was this particular spot chosen?
Well, remember how that sign says Fort Wilkins? Rumor has it that this was the same site that used to grow carrots and potatoes for the settlers at Fort Wilkins back in the 1840’s!
Root vegetables grow amazing in that soil, that’s for sure. And the master of the land said, “They said it was on the west end of Lake Fanny Hooe. If you stand back in the lounge area on the south side of the garden, you can see the swales of the land. And when I dug the area back up, I stopped when I hit a big underground rock wall, so I’m assuming that’s where they threw all their rocks!”
Pretty cool, hey?
Thank you settlers who started it 170 years ago! And thank you to the property owners who allow the townsfolk to use the land. And one more huge thank you to Clyde who does all the tilling and maintaining of that whole area behind the trail head.
Are you curious how to get there? Let’s go!
Start at the trail head by the Copper Harbor Welcome Center. The bike path scoots to the right, but the garden path (now appropriately named) goes straight back. Foot traffic only!
Take that path, and after it curves to the right, you’ll see the garden on your left. Want to go in and walk around with me? Leave your pet outside the fence, please.
Open the latch through this door! But please lock it on your way out.
Meet the trusty water pump. It pulls the water from a nearby frog pond, and the tenders water using actual watering cans.
Here’s a view of most of the garden space, looking west.
And look! There’s Marty! One of the most diligent tenders. He just got done watering his onions. That’s a devoted gardener for you!
Now let’s get our noses right into those beautiful plants. It might seem surprising, but vegetables actually grow in Copper Harbor!
A big ol’ cabbage
Doesn’t that look delicious? Well, you’ll have to start your own garden, or make friends with one of the locals with a plot. Sorry to tease you, but now you know that we can truly celebrate this harvest moon with the fruits of our labor!