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Ossining Artist Turns Garden Into Thing of Beauty

In the summer of 2009, the Ossining Organic Community Garden's vegetable plots flooded with water after frequent rains, and Donna Sharrett complained about it. A lot.

"Everything was swamped and all my vegetables were dying," the gardener and professional artist recalled.

Henry Atterbury, the superintendent of Ossining's Parks and Recreation Department, heard Sharrett. When the 2009 growing season was coming to an end he asked her if she'd like to correct the gardening situation with the help of the village Planning Board and a local contractor.

Sharrett took the opportunity to help with the problem. She drew up a plan for more than 40 gardening plots, including raised 4-by-12-feet plots, 12-by-15-feet ground plots and two 4-by-8-feet wheelchair-accessible plots. After some revisions, work on it began last year.

The beds were raised And a curtain draining system was installed to divert water. In addition, five new standing pipes were added and Americorps volunteers put wood chips down.

"I was raised in a family that did a lot of community service, and this sounded like an opportunity for me to give back to the community," Sharrett said.

Last year Sharrett's plot in one of the back corners of the garden thrived with vegetables and was adorned by trellises and pathway borders made from tree branches. This growing season , she plans to add ground cherries and tomatillos to her usual vegetable collection, which includes lettuce, kale, peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard, and more.

And Sharrett has even grander plans for the garden, including an expansion.

"I just like living less on the grid and not depending on vegetables being shipped from far way," Sharrett said.

The Ossining Organic Community Garden is located in Cedar Lane Park, off of Cedar Lane.

Are you a member of the OOCG? Leave your comment below or join TheDailyOssining.com on Facebook .

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An earlier version of this story misstated the year of the garden's flooding.

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