Look outside your window. Whether you see a grassy expanse in your yard, or just enough room for a flower pot on the porch, Jeremy Connor believes it’s a good place to grow nutritious, organic vegetables.
“I’d like to see 1,000 new gardens,” said the Exeter man, whose website, oneperfectharmony, is designed to help that cause.
His own backyard has been quite prolific during the past few years, he said, giving two visitors a tour last week..
“This is where I had the peas,” he said, pointing to a raised bed with a trellis in it. “This is where I had the ‘three sisters:’ squash, corn and beans.”
“Smell the sage,” he said, plucking a withered but fragrant leaf from a perennial that will soon burst back into life.
“This is the garlic,” he said, pulling a slender head from the ground where it spent the cold months.
“Here’s a leftover potato,” he said, unearthing a tiny spud he can use to grow a new plant.
Inside a compact, 14-by-9-foot greenhouse, the tiniest leaves of butter crunch and ruby-edge lettuce already had begun to emerge from the soil last week.
“I planted them just 10 days ago,” Connor said.
Connor’s compact yard, which is home to his daughter’s sandbox, a large evergreen tree and a spreading birch as well as several raised beds, a compost pile and the greenhouse, can’t contain his enthusiasm for growing things.
Literally, he grew tomatoes in his neighbors’ yard last year because they had the space and gave him permission.
But he’d like to see such neighborly cooperation grow exponentially.
Suppose you have a yard and you’d like to see some produce growing there but don’t have the time or energy to plant a garden.
Perhaps Connor’s website could connect you to a volunteer who is able to to plant and even to return for weeding and harvesting.
Let’s say you want to do the work yourself but don’t know how; Connor wants to help you get the advice you might need.
Maybe someone has a dozen shovels to donate. Maybe someone else has a good idea for a community-garden site. The hope is to link them with someone who would like to organize a community garden but might need some equipment.
Connor, who has planted at the Montessori School where he teaches and at the Unitarian Universalist Church where he is a member, said the garden project already has attracted all sorts of gifts, ranging from the donation of thousands of seeds to pledges of money, labor and the use of an office as well as a large greenhouse.
“We just got a load of coconut,” he said on Wednesday, explaining that 120 pounds of the completely natural byproduct of coconut processing will be an ideal growing medium for seedlings. That donation came from General Hydroponics in Sebastopol, Calif., one of several companies Connor contacted to explain his garden project.
“In a week or so we’ll be working with kids in the greenhouse,” he said, indicating a long-unused greenhouse at Pittston Area High School should soon be bustling with activity.
Connor’s interest in gardening intensified four years ago when he and his wife, Beth, had their first daughter, Emmie. “Having a child made me want to seek out the best food for our family,” Connor said. The family recently welcomed a second daughter, Anna, and Connor’s concern for making the world a better place for his children continues to motivate him.
“My grandpa wanted to give my father a bicycle. My father wanted to send me to college. They each gave those gifts which they could not receive themselves. Now it is my turn,” he said.
“As a teenager, I sat and watched as the forest I grew up playing in was bulldozed to put in endless rows of warehouses. I would like to give my two daughters hope for a future in which their ‘forest’ will not be bulldozed for ‘progress.’ “
If you’re interested in joining the garden project, Connor encourages you to contact him through the website oneperfectharmony.com.
Among the ways to contribute, he lists these tasks: