As children with glowing faces and cherry cheeks raced around the playground in the summer heat, Paul Dimauro enjoyed a similar sense of freedom a few feet away—spent another morning of his retirement tending to seeds that would soon sprout into pink tomatoes in a communal space.
DiMauro, 66, was found on “Hot, dry watering and weeding from two garden plots I rent in a community garden located behind Miller Memorial Library in Hamden.
Talk about the joys of gardening in a Thursday conversation during the “Word on the Street” segment at WNHH FMProgram “LoveBabz LoveTalk”.
DiMauro drives to the park once a week. He and his husband, Henry, paid the city $20 each year for half a decade for the chance to grow their own fresh vegetables and herbs — which the couple then use to prepare nutrient-rich meals.
The park has more than a dozen raised garden beds located 8 to 10 inches above what used to be a paved parking lot, according to DiMauro.
As a retired chemist, DiMauro sometimes uses his skills while closely reading the chemical ingredients used in fertilizers. He said that Hamden Community Garden uses only organic plant products.
Coriander, beans, hot peppers, shallots and parsley are some of the plants that Dimauro grows this summer. He always makes sure to make room for the tomatoes – which he turns into tomato sauce.
Sometimes he’ll also mix in pesto or fry some beans and green onions.
The garden products, he said, are significantly superior to store-bought ingredients.
Especially tomatoes. Report that tomatoes in your grocery store “They are bred for transport “for very thick skins – and therefore less flavor.
Tomatoes are a staple of DiMauro, which originated in gardening as a “An Italian family tradition’ he embraced with his father – they would then make their own pasta sauces together using red fruits.
However, DiMauro is referring to trying new things. This is his first year growing leeks.
“I really don’t know how to cook with leeks but I will learn,” he said.
He has tried in the past to grow sweet peppers and zucchini, but they have not harvested well.
In addition to vegetables, the space also helped strengthen community bonds. In previous years, DiMauro joined other farmers to watch 4th of July fireworks and celebrate the seasonal harvest using food.
DiMauro, who is originally from Middletown, moved to Hamden 30 years ago. The first year he found his way into the gardens, he noticed that he had inherited a mud hedgehog hiding in the corner of his land. (These journalists nicknamed him “Flavio. ”) Flavio is not the only wildlife living in the gardens. Dimouro said that he regularly watched sparrows and goldfinch, and once saw a white crown sparrow.
While gardening by the playground, DiMauro also sees another genre: kids. Sometimes he throws a stray ball over the fence to the curious kids who sometimes ask him “What are you doing?”
The park currently has a waiting list for residents to rent park plots, DiMauro reported.
“There is a very high turnover because people realize there is a lot of work and they give up.”
After weeding was done, DiMauro returned to Henry and his home in Hamden – where he owns half an acre dedicated to ornamentals such as perennials and shrubs. And of course a couple tomato towers.