Spectacular Season: Harvests ongoing as autumn arrives

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Adriana and Anup Mukherjee, of Nashua, continue to gather the bounty of another growing season at the Victory Garden in Greeley Park on Concord Street as they tend their 20-foot by 50-foot garden plot, an organic enterprise in which they use no chemicals to nurture an array of purely natural vegetables, greens and herbs, along with flowers that attract a wide variety of pollinators including honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

Bumble bees and goldfinches flaunt the brilliance of yellow and black as they make hasty, end-of-season visits to the growing wonders yet to be harvested by local gardeners who tend around 100 plots at the Victory Garden located behind Greeley Park in Nashua.

The upcoming culmination of the Victory Garden season, May through October, brings rewards for those who have tilled the soil in their plots and planted the seeds, or seedlings, that now are matured and await plucking. The plots, measuring 20-feet by 50-feet, are secured each year with a payment of $30 to the town’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Adriana and Anup Mukherjee, of Nashua, are among those who come to the garden to grow a multitude of foodstuffs, herbs and flowers. This year’s harvest of tomatoes, onions and peppers, along with eggplants, kale and other delights are rewarding the retired couple for their many hours work and is providing edibles that were grown without chemical assists or pesticides.

“We’ve had three years here, in the same spot – 12B,” Adriana said. “We’ve grown everything organically and had lots of advice from ‘Wayne,’ the head gardener.”

The couple leans into a row of cherry tomatoes to pick a couple of the ripe, red orbs. A sample offers little resistance when popped into the mouth and bitten. The sunshine on a day of nearly 90 degrees warmed the squish of juice that accompanies the mastication.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Adriana and Anup Mukherjee, of Nashua, continue to gather the bounty of another growing season at the Victory Garden in Greeley Park on Concord Street as they tend their 20-foot by 50-foot garden plot, an organic enterprise in which they use no chemicals to nurture an array of purely natural vegetables, greens and herbs, along with flowers that attract a wide variety of pollinators including honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

The pair cites gardening as an activity that takes them outdoors, enables them to socialize with other gardeners and offers an abundance of food items grown the way they prefer – organically. Their onions were recently harvested. The eggplants are mostly picked. A crinkley-curley stand of leafy kale awaits. Plump green peppers, yet to turn red, cling to sturdy stems.

A brilliant bank of flowers in 12B is comprised of rows of zinnias in shades of red and yellow and orange. A fellow gardener named Sophie is credited by the couple for continuing a tradition of sharing seeds from previous seasons with anyone who would like some. The method of saving seeds from one year to the next provides subsequent plantings at no additional cost. Herbs are another shared commodity.

“I control any insect pests by doing companion planting, such as pairing dill around our cucumbers and basil around our tomatoes,” Adriana said. “And we wait to plant our potatoes in mid-June so the bugs are less likely to get them.”

Anup hefts a dark purple eggplant and adds it to a wooden basket soon to be homebound in another hour or so. Another batch of tomatoes also is ready for transport and will be dispatched during dinner in a salad garnished with “all the herbs you can use.”

All around the space worked by Adriana and Anup are other plots yielding the good of the earth. Edible flowers such as orange, yellow or red nasturtiums, blossoms that add an exotic touch to any salad, line some of the paths around the Victory Garden.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Adriana and Anup Mukherjee, of Nashua, continue to gather the bounty of another growing season at the Victory Garden in Greeley Park on Concord Street as they tend their 20-foot by 50-foot garden plot, an organic enterprise in which they use no chemicals to nurture an array of purely natural vegetables, greens and herbs, along with flowers that attract a wide variety of pollinators including honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

Giant sunflowers, some around 12-feet tall, sprouted in May, matured throughout June and stretched skyward during July and August. Now, they are bent beneath the weight of the heavy seed heads so enticing to goldfinches and sparrows. The birds snatch the shelled treats with abandon before winging away.

Nashua Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Nick Caggiano, on Thursday said that this year’s season at the Victory Garden was one of bounty and camaraderie.

“The weather that we experienced this summer helped grow some very bountiful gardens at Greeley Park,” said Caggiano. “The gardens are producing many interesting vegetables and flowers and the garden plots provide a wonderful area for residents to get reacquainted with fellow gardeners and meet new friends.”

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Adriana Mukherjee, a patron for three summers of the Victory Garden in Greeley Park, displays a portion of the crop of rich, green kale grown there by her and her husband, Anup, a couple quick to acknowledge the health benefits found in the leafy vegetable that is a rich source of vitamins and other nutrients.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON An armful of colorful zinnias, masses of which were grown in the Victory Garden plot tended by Nashua’s Anup and Adriana Mukherjee, originated as seeds that each year are traditionally gifted to those gardeners who wish to have some by “Sophie,” a fellow gardener who enjoys sharing various seeds saved from previous summers.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON The Victory Garden in Greeley Park accommodates gardeners who pay $30 per season for a spacious plot in which most participants grow a combination of flowers and vegetables planted, tended and harvested between May and October, as designated by the garden’s supervising organization, the Nashua Parks and Recreation Department.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Creativity abounds at the Victory Garden, a verdant refuge within Nashua’s Greeley Park, where plantings of flowers, veggies and herbs often are accompanied by gardening accessories including American flags and other banners, wind chimes and handcrafted signs such as this one that proclaims the site, “Gumpy’s Garden,” established in 2016.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Creativity abounds at the Victory Garden where watering aids including devices such as rain barrels are erected for the growing season and then toted home again by the plot owner whose ingenuity enables the easy tending of these tomatoes and many other vegetables whose needs for moisture are satisfied by constant care, summer showers and this rain barrel, raised up on blocks to ensure by gravity a strong flow of water.