Local garden expert’s availability part of the deal at Porter Park

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Sheryl Casteen, Master Gardener and manager at Porter Park Community Garden, hosted her first free gardening class Aug. 16.
She spoke about preparation for winter gardening, including what and when to plant, how to protect the plants, and when to harvest. Due to COVID, Casteen limited the attendees to about 30, but she had a waiting list for more who wished to attend.
Deb Fell-Carlson began renting a couple of plots at the gated garden this year, and even encouraged 13-year-old Eli Duquette to get one himself. She pointed out all the perks she gets as a renter, including water, fertilizer, compost and tools.
“We get use of everything, plus Sheryl,” Fell-Carlson said.
Casteen makes herself available to renters to offer advice and share her knowledge.
“Most people do not know a lot about gardening,” she said.
“My goal is to teach as many people the basics as I can (and) get them started. Once people start eating things they grow, they are very happy.
“The taste is usually phenomenal, and they (feel they) have accomplished something. Down the line they realize they are also saving money and exercising.”
She also sees they enjoy the camaraderie with other gardeners, she said.
Garden beds at Porter Park became available for rent last year, and really took off this spring.
They rent for $25 a year. Contact Ciarra Keene at City Hall for more information.