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Couple turns pool into garden

Couple turns pool into garden

What may have been the first backyard pool in the village of Northville has been retired after 40 ye
Couple turns pool into garden
Carl Jensen checks the cucumbers in his garden, which used to be a pool, in his backyard in Northville on Thursday morning. When Jensen&rsquo;s children and grandchildren stopped using the pool, he made the decision to fill it up and turn it into a garde
Photographer: Barry Sloan

What may have been the first backyard pool in the village of Northville has been retired after 40 years of service — in a most unusual way.

Carl and Nancy Jensen faithfully opened their pool on South First Avenue year after year, incurring the expense of running the pump, servicing the filters and adding the chemicals. It had to be opened in the spring and closed in the fall.

The pool cost at least $1,000 year and their two adult children and five grandchildren were never there anymore to use it.

Last year the couple decided there was no longer any rationale for throwing their money into a hole in the ground. So the pool that Nancy said was possibly the first in the village, the facility that had been a source of joy for her children and a gathering place in the neighborhood, was filled with sand and dirt.

It took a lot of dirt and sand, especially in the 8-foot-deep end. The pump, filter and liner were given away. In 1967, Nancy said, they paid $2,700 for the pool.

Closing the pool for good was just fine with Carl, a retired union mason, who had always had a penchant for gardening. Carl is 77 and living with Parkinson’s disease, which was first diagnosed in 1993.

Carl had always grown vegetables in a spread beyond the pool, but Nancy, a retired teacher, said she was concerned that he would not be able to handle the big new plot in the 16-by-36-foot pool. Carl dispelled any worries, demonstrating an ability to tend the new garden for hours each day. A visitor could not spot one weed.

After inspecting the pool garden — the carefully tended rows of tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrots, scallions, carrots and peppers — the visitor was not surprised when Carl pointed out a nearby canoe, also filled with dirt and sprouting fountains of cucumbers.

“People go by and say, ‘what a beautiful garden you’ve got here,’ ” Nancy said.

The Jensens make it a practice to reward a compliment by giving some produce to the person who offered it. “We give it to our neighbors; we like to do that,” Carl said.

“It makes us feel good,” Nancy added.

Carl said they freeze some peas but actually use very little of what they grow.

The size and development of Carl’s plants seem far above average for late July in this southern Adirondack village. Carl said he mixed up peat moss and a commercial fertilizer and laid that down before planting his seeds.

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