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Dear friends of the Emmanuel House Community Garden,

Winter is a quiet season in the garden. After the inviting green abundance of summer, the garden nestles down for these months of cold. Snow blankets our garden beds; and when there is no snow, there is only the image of dirt, and perhaps old leaves disintegrating. Life is not so obvious in the garden, in February. But tucked underground, daffodil, tulip, and allium bulbs are alive and developing. Slowly but surely, nutrients and water are making their way into the buds of the bulbs, and enzymes are being produced to new levels. Bulbs not only survive the cold, they require the cold: low temperatures stimulate physiological changes that are necessary for the plant stems to grow and the flowers to bloom, come spring. Winter may not be an extravagant season in the garden, but it is a vital one. And so is winter a vital season for us, also. If February is feeling quiet, if February is feeling bleak: may we be patient with ourselves and notice the presence of the God who spreads life through us. The Emmanuel House and our Allston friends are in a season of planning for our 2022 growing season. May we be there in joy, quiet or extravagant! We are so grateful for your support that lets life spread through this corner of Allston.

Winter may not be an extravagant season in the garden, but it is a vital one... may we be patient with ourselves and notice the presence of the God who spreads life through us.

As we’ve started to envision the garden’s fourth growing season, we’ve found ourselves focusing on the grounding of abundance: the richness of the soil, the development of roots, the layers of history that shape a place. What grounding can we give the garden, so that it can be a sustainable ministry that thrives for years ahead, both shaping and responding to changes in its environment? How can we enrich the soil and grow our roots in the community? Here are some of the ways we aim to live out those questions this year:

  • Increase signage, including a clearer welcome sign to invite our neighbors into the space

  • Build a bulletin board where people can post community resources

  • Host structured instructional programming to empower and equip garden volunteers with skills and knowledge

  • Convert at least one low garden bed to a higher one for increased accessibility  

  • Learn about and engage with the history of the land

  • Deepen our partnership with the people participating in new initiatives at the Church of St Luke and St Margaret 

  • Plant perennial vegetables, especially asparagus and rhubarb

We’re particularly excited about that last goal: this is the year we plant asparagus! Asparagus is a perennial, and it takes a few years to establish. We won’t be able to harvest any this year, and we’ll only harvest a minimal amount for a couple years after that, so that the plants can develop strong root systems. But once matured, asparagus plants can sometimes last for decades. This represents our community’s deep commitment to the space; we hope that the asparagus we plant this year outlasts us housemates! 

Thank you so much for your support: it is your continued partnership that allows us to dream of such joys as established asparagus. We are so grateful for each of you. 


In gratitude,

The Emmanuel House

Sally, Rebekah, Jamie, and Matisse

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