The abundant harvest garden, Kaler CSA garden will be featured as the penultimate garden for this summer’s Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days, Friday, Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 93 Kaler Road in Belfast.

The Kaler CSA garden was started in the year after Jan and Dean Anderson bought the property in 1999. The lot included a sizable field, formerly a cow pasture and hayfield, and more recently an orchard, which had been abandoned after the whole field of apple trees had died.

Before even beginning to build a house to live in, the Andersons removed truckloads of plastic, wire and re-bar left from the orchard operation; plowed, removed lots of quackgrass and planted their first vegetable garden on the land.

Dean remembers hauling 55-gallon barrels full of water from the hose at the house where they still lived in-town, setting them at the edge of the road (which is higher than the garden), and gravity feeding 150 gallons at a time to water the new garden.

The Andersons had been growing their own food in many gardens at their homes before Kaler Road. Dean grew up on a farm with a large garden, and thinks he likely inherited his garden aptitude from his mother. He also has had a big part in some of the school garden programs in Waldo County including those at East Belfast School and the Drinkwater School in Northport.

At the time Jan and Dean began their Kaler Road garden they had a house in town with a vegetable garden, and were growing more food than they could eat or store themselves. That summer Jan went house-to-house distributing extra tomatoes and garden vegetables. They enjoyed growing the food, and thought they’d like to sell some in future years.

The next year the couple decided to invite families to sign up and become part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and come to the garden to harvest their own vegetables. Since then the CSA has supported as many as 10 families a year. The Andersons also donate part of the harvest to Stone Soup Kitchen in Belfast.

The garden is set up in traditional vegetable garden rows, and maintained using natural methods of pest control including removing insects by hand, spraying with soapy water or canola oil, and dusting with bacterial additives. Weeding is kept to a minimum by keeping the garden heavily mulched using 60 bales of oat straw throughout the year.

The neat and tidy garden grows crops according to the tastes of the Andersons and the CSA members, particularly those which grow well in clay soil. Clever planning allows the Andersons to grow a large quantity of food on less than a quarter of an acre. Succession planting of crops like basil, lettuce, beets, broccoli, carrots and chard allow many rounds of those vegetables to be grown throughout the season.

Garlic planted between rows of pumpkins and squash allow much more room for the squash to grow because the garlic is harvested at just about the time the squash plants are ready to expand into the new real estate.

A strong structural element of garden is an 8-foot-high bean trellis, a variation on an Eliot Coleman-designed trellis. It consists of three tall fences with cross bracing on top to keep the fences from bowling over with the weight of the crop. When the climbing beans grow up the faces of the fence, it creates a cool “bean house”.

Other crops at Kaler CSA this year include potato, onions, celery, celeriac, peas, and peppers as well as blueberries and raspberries.

In addition to the vegetable garden, visitors will enjoy lovely perennial and annual flower beds Jan maintains which radiate from the front of the house. The Andersons enjoy blooms from early spring to fall from plants such as ladies mantle, rosa rugosa, flax, lavender, honeysuckle and lilies.

Many shrubs and trees also thrive at the Anderson’s garden including magnolia, Japanese lilac, hydrangea and quince. A small orchard boasts pear, crab apple, and sour cherry trees.

A mowed path will take visitors interested in a small walk, through the field to the large oak tree along Wescott Stream. Look up and you may see the nesting bald eagle in tall pine trees across the road or swooping across the sky. Handicap accessible.

The Kaler CSA garden is at the home of the Andersons, 93 Kaler Road in Belfast. From High Street in the center of town, continue to Upper High Street, City Point Road and bear right on Oak Hill Road. Take first right on Kaler Road. Once you get close, look for the yellow Open Garden arrows.

Tickets for Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days can be purchased at each garden, on the day of the tour for a donation of $4. Proceeds from the 2011 Garden Tour will benefit the Club’s civic beautification projects.

The 6th annual Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days, features 13 gardens in the Belfast area (Belfast, Belmont, Searsport, Searsmont, Bayside and Northport). One garden per week will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Fridays through Aug. 26, rain-or-shine.

The final BGC Open Garden Day will be Friday, Aug. 26 at the Shure Garden.

An old-fashioned perennial garden planted on the grounds of an 1830 Cape where you can hear the rushing waters of a stream bordering the property. Gardens are on two levels; the upper level is around the house and garage and the lower level is near the stream. Ferns, moss, lavender, creeping thyme, delphinium and rugosa rose bushes are found around the house; clematis, walking stick, hibiscus and more roses are around the garage. Flat rocks are the steps down the sloping lawn beside annual beds and Chinese lanterns to the cutting garden on the lower level including many dahlia varieties.

For more information about Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days call Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105 or Martha Laitin at 948-2815 or email a question to belfastgardenclub@gmail.com, or visit belfastgardenclub.org.

This article was written by Annadeene K. Fowler.