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Historic Bath welcomes spring with colonial garden

BATH — With the arrival of spring, staff and volunteers at the Bath State Historic Site are working in tandem to welcome warmer weather by bringing the site’s colonial garden back to life.

A group spent part of their Saturday last weekend doing just that, tilling the soil and preparing it for planting.

“We’re getting our garden together,” said historic interpreter A.J. Drake during a brief break from the task. “It’s going to be an historic interpretive garden.”

The garden will add to visitors’ Historic Bath experience, giving them a glimpse into how early Bath residents grew their own food. Colonial era plants will be used in the garden, incorporating many of the same techniques local residents would have used more than 200 years ago.

According to Drake, crops that will be grown in the space this season include peas, beans, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, squash, onions, carrots, potatoes and radishes. Two small herb gardens are planned, and sunflowers and marigolds will add splashes of color.

Saturday’s work day brought out several volunteers, who are proving to be invaluable to the project.

“We want to give a big ‘Thank you’ to the volunteers who came out to work,” said Historic Bath programs coordinator Laura Rogers.

The day proved to be a success. Under sunny skies, the staff and volunteers took big strides with the project.

“We’re trying to get some plants in today, and others will be planted in pots and transplanted later,” noted Drake. “A garden like this is a lot of work so any extra help is great.”

Anyone who missed out on the initial work day can still be involved, Drake added. Volunteers are needed to help maintain the garden throughout the growing season.

Fresh produce harvested from the garden will be available at the Historic Bath visitors center this summer. There is no charge for the produce, but small donations will help keep the project up and running.

According to Wayne Randall, the site’s maintenance/construction technician, a garden was planted on the Historic Bath grounds as far back as the 1980s. It lay dormant for a few years until the project was revived by Bea Latham and Leigh Swain around 2010.

Today’s garden measures approximately 40 by 40 feet and is adjacent to the visitors center and smoke house.