Co-op CommunityShaker Gardens

Continued Garden Success

By Stacey Cooper, Co-op Organic Farm ManagerStacey Cooper

Brought to you by the Natural Buzz monthly newsletter



The Co-op has formed a Strategic Partnership with Canterbury Shaker Village to revive the historic Shaker fields with organic produce, cultivate beehives, and offer workshops and classes in the unique spaces available on the picturesque grounds in Canterbury, NH.

It is looking like an early spring for Shaker Organic Gardens.  The relatively mild winter may bring some heavier than usual pest and disease pressures as organisms may not have been killed off during the winter. The remaining organism and insects surviving the mild winter will be present in the soil come spring thaw and may produce larger or earlier populations of troublesome pests.   The lack of snow, and therefore snowmelt, may lead to relatively dry spring soils. The positive side to this could be early tilling and plantings; however the gardens may also require more irrigation and hand watering to establish healthy crops. Overall, the peculiar weather we experienced over the past few months will provide some interest to this growing season in one way or another!

This winter and spring we created a series of three workshops involving home gardening.  The first two sessions were very well attended and provided some winter inspiration for both new and experienced gardeners.  We are hosting the last session on April 23rd to introduce the concept of permanent raised beds in garden and farming systems. I have already begun to implement this system in several sections of our fields at Canterbury Shaker Village.  The first half of the class will focus on the theory behind raised bed systems, which focuses on deep, loose organic soils. We will then move to the field to build a small section of permanent raised beds in the field. This is a practical way to grow in small spaces and the field portion of the class will show how easily it can be implemented in small garden spaces.  As the winter gardening series is sold out, I would love feedback on other gardening related topics that would be of interest for next winter and spring.  Please contact the Co-op at if you have ideas or inspirations that you would like to see explored!

In an effort to better meet the demand for local organic produce, our garden will be starting some new and exciting crops this year including strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, hops and turmeric. The first four crops listed are perennial plants, which require careful bed preparation as these crops will remain in the same untilled sections of the garden for many years.  The turmeric will be a bit experimental and will be grown in the hoop house to protect it from early and late season temperatures.  Check the Co-op in the late fall for our very own organic turmeric!

Shaker Organic Gardens is happy to be growing produce this season for Micro Mama’s amazing fermented products.  We will also be growing onions and carrots in partnership with several other local farms to provide much needed local organic produce to the New Hampshire Food Bank.  These are just two of the ways the gardens we sustain are helping to provide needed organic produce while supporting the businesses and community partners the Co-op already works with.

On the garden front, I would like to take a moment to ask for the support of our Co-op community.  There are a couple things you can do to help support our garden:

1)      Contact me at if you are mechanically inclined and willing to take on one or two equipment servicing projects that we could use a hand with.

2)      If you are strong, willing and able to spend 4 or 5 hours a week in the field helping to tend, harvest and package our veggies, let me know. We are looking for 4 or 5 people to help out in the gardens this season in exchange for fresh farm veggies. Send me an email, with your availability.

The workshop is sold out, but waitlist options are still available.

Raised Beds