Working with some of society's most vulnerable people for over 130 years

David Boyd: The man with the green thumb

Aug. 1, 2017

By Robert Fournier

WRENTHAM, Mass. -- Ask anyone in Wrentham where to go for advice on gardening, and chances are they’ll send you to see David Boyd.

A man who is not afraid to get his hands dirty, David has been gardening as far as he can remember. During the summer, he’s usually outside working in the garden in the back of CRJ’s group home in Wrentham, where he’s a longtime resident.

He works diligently and tirelessly in maintaining a productive garden with an assortment of vegetables, including corn, hot peppers, lettuce, squash, carrots, and tomatoes.

Staff from the program sat down with David one warm summer evening and asked him if there were any tips he could give that would help anyone in maintaining a successful garden.  

“You need to make sure that there are no weeds in the garden,” David explained, as they tend to take away water from the vegetable plants.  “You also need to make sure that the dirt is well-fertilized to help the plants grow and develop throughout the summer.”  

No stranger to hard work, David likes to perform most of the manual tasks himself, but he isn’t afraid to ask staff to lend a hand. Staff will usually help with some of the heavier duties, like transporting large bags of soil to the garden.

When asked in how he begins his garden, David explains the cultivation and planting processes.  

“I usually begin by spreading out the soil throughout the garden,” he said. “Then I till the earth, mixing it with the newly added soil.”  

Once that’s done, he likes to prepare several rows to accommodate the new vegetable plants and seeds that he picks up from the nursery. After planting, he waters the new plants and lets Mother Nature do her work. He will often check on his garden to remove weeds and water it when necessary. By the end of the summer, David’s garden is sprawling with vegetables and ready for harvest.

Gardening has its therapeutic effects on the human mind and body. It also has been proven to be a practical mechanism in helping people deal and cope with anxiety, as well as the life’s occasional frustrations. David acknowledges that gardening helps him deal with everyday problems.

When asked why he is attracted to gardening, David said it helps him relax. Staff members at the program often encourage David to work in his garden to help clear his mind during challenging moments.

“Sometimes being cooped up in the program all day with many clients and staff can get to you,” he said. “When this happens, I need to go outside and get my hands dirty. Gardening helps me cope with stress.”