Historic Harrisville

P.O. Box 79
Harrisville, NH 03450


Office Hours
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM


Fall Meeting of Incorporators
Saturday, October 21, 2017
10:00 a.m.



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Harrisville Community Garden- A Community Effort

In 2006, I completed my Master Gardener training, and wanted to explore creating a community garden here in Harrisville.  I did research, toured a lot of gardens, and called several community garden coordinators.  While the project seemed daunting, we found a location at Johnson’s field, a property owned by HHI, and we were off!

With a location secured, raising money was the next hurdle.  I applied for and received grants from the Harrisville Community Fund and the New Hampshire Extension Service.  We then organized a Black Fly Ball fund raiser, brought in private donations, and collected for plot leases.  

Jay Jacobs generously plowed and disked the site, we bought electric critter fencing from Wellscroft Farm, and Dave O’Neil donated a load of fill and spread it over the worst of the mud at the entrance. Finally, we staked out a ridiculously optimistic 20 plots.  In the spring of 2010 we were up and running and all the plots were spoken for.

What to do about water?  Scott Oliver and Jack Calhoun ran about 300 feet of tubing up to an old well on the hill, amidst a nest of garter snakes, running it down to a standpipe in the middle of the plots.  The water gushed…. until it dried up.  The rest of the season we lugged water, (Joan Miller let us fill our buckets in her yard).   The next spring we expanded 10 more plots, 9 were immediately leased.   A different solution to obtain water for the gardens was obviously necessary.  We considered several alternatives including pumping out of the lake and possibly digging an artesian well.   While we were figuring this all out, our wonderful community installed a temporary solution.  Wes Tarr provided a huge tank, Mike Wilder built a platform of rocks to place the tank on, and Wayne Desrossier filled the tank.  They saved the day.   Finally, when we thought that there was no real permanent answer, Scott Oliver ran into Bob Tupper of The Washwell Company who came out to examine the site and in about 10 minutes had the solution.  He dug a huge well with a perforated pipe up the middle, which was filled with gravel.  All the water from the hills collects in this well, and is pumped, by hand, into the garden at two central locations.   So far, even during the 2016 drought, we have had plenty of water.  

The next hurdle was getting a shed to store tools, wheelbarrows, etc. Fred was storing the fencing for us over the winters.  More grants were obtained, and, finally, an intrepid band of builders stepped up and solved the problem. Tom Weller, a well-known architect in town, designed a timber-framed, natural-wood sided Cadillac of sheds for our garden.  Then Tom, Les Lamois, and Scott Oliver got busy.  They mortised and tenoned the beams, roofed, and sided, and floored, over the course of the summer.   Linda Willett gave us windows that HHI didn’t need. Doug Walker donated flooring recycled from a job, Rex Baker donated the trees, and Jeff Trudell picked up the huge pines and milled them on site for the siding.  They tried one site for the shed, decided it looked out of place there, and Jeff Trudell moved the shed to its current location!

It was at this point that we needed a permanent parking lot.  (The Trybas had been kindly letting us park off their driveway when it was too muddy to pull in.)  We had many loads of hard-pack delivered, Jeff Trudell spread it and compacted it, and we now have a solid place to park many cars!  

Currently we have 46 plots.  The gardeners get together and mow the pathways, maintain the fence, and keep the garden tidy, all organized by Andrea Hodson.  Most all of the work done in the garden is volunteer.  At the end of the season we have a lovely Community Garden Dinner, put together by Beth Healy and Amy Stodela, right in the garden.  

There are so many community members who helped along the way, donated money and time and work.  We are grateful to everyone who supported the effort.

Respectfully submitted

Deirdre Oliver