News, Stories, and Field Notes from the Growing Center

Somerville Scavenger Hunt: Big Tree Edition!

Look up! See it? That tall, tall pine tree in someone’s front yard? (This one’s on Hamlet Street.) Somerville has lots of tall, tall pine trees. Once you spot one, you’ll start to see these beauties all over town! Take a look out your window, or go out on a Tree Hunt by foot, if you can. Find the biggest, most gigantic trees you can––they might be pines or any type or variety––and see if you're able to figure out what they are! The City of Somerville’s Urban Forestry Division has an online tree inventory map. (The Growing Center’s hornbeam is on it, which you might recognize if you’ve ever done a little tree-climbing there!) Is your tree on the map? If not, don’t worry, there are online tr

S L O W Birding

Spring is here, birds are becoming more active. Looking and listening to birds is something most of us can do, from a porch, city street, back yard, or window. This is my friends’ son, quietly sitting by a window in their home, eating toast and watching the crows in their yard. Jenn writes about their morning science and why birding like this is so great: This month is an awesome time to be birding because Spring is just starting! And from a window, the birds cannot see you, so they won't fly away. :) Look for a group of birds from the window, even if they are common. Watch their behavior and see if they interact with other birds, are looking for food, or looking for nest material. Usually r

Rainbows, Hearts, Critters, and More!

The day after St. Patrick's Day, while my three kids watched their morning cartoons during our first week of cancelled school, I was catching up on my email and saw that some neighbors up on Prospect Hill had collaborated to put rainbows in their windows. A wonderful community-building activity in this strange age of social distancing, it was a way to mitigate the loneliness, brighten someone's day, justify a nice walk, and add an element of color and surprise to the streetscape. Plus, as Katie, the neighbor who organized the rainbow hunt said, "It's easy. No human contact. Get fresh air. Make a rainbow and then hunt for others at a reasonable social distance." It was a nice sunny and mild d

Adventures in Seed Sprouting!

This is the second year I have sprouted seeds indoors. It is truly the most magnificent way to beat the winter blues and look forward to spring! Here is the very first sprout coming out of the soil this year. It’s a “Guy” tomato (a variety grown by long time Growing Center volunteer, Guy Amara, until he passed away. Keeping his legacy alive!) Many of the seeds I started were saved from last year’s harvest. It is super gratifying and free!!! Learn more about saving your own seeds with this guide. Here is where I am today. I have been using a grow light indoors set on a timer that runs from 6am-9pm. It is also in front of a window for a little extra light. From left to right I have cucamelon (

Support the Growing Center's work this April, and all season long!

For more than a quarter century, the Growing Center has been dedicated to engaging the full population of Somerville, with a focus on children and youth, in providing an open and welcoming green space dedicated to nature education, urban agriculture, and community engagement. In these uncertain times, our plan is still to continue that mission even while facing the health challenges of COVID-19 and social distancing measures which, while necessary, make it difficult to be open for programming. To help support our work, we are happy to report that we've been approached by a generous anonymous donor who has agreed to donate $500 for the month of April––a reaffirmation of spring and new growth!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts

Visit the Growing Center at: 

22 Vinal Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

Mailing Address: P. O. Box 76

Somervillle, MA 02143


  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon