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Gourds at North Andover home are turning heads » Merrimack Valley » EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

 Gourds at North Andover home are turning heads »
Merrimack Valley »
EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

NORTH ANDOVER — A North Andover woman’s green thumb is turning heads.

People are stopping by Mary Foley’s home at 153 Chadwick St. to take pictures of the four- and five-foot-long Asian Long Gourds growing in her front yard.

“They’re slowing down when they go by,” Foley said. “Their arms are out with their cellphones taking pictures. It’s really quite an attraction.”

Foley started growing the gourds for the first time this year and will enter the three gourds at the Topsfield Fair which begins Sept. 30. One of the gourds measured 62 inches last week, while the other two checked in at 51 inches.

Foley manipulated the gourd vine to grow from her American catalpa tree, and later had to reinforce the tree’s branches. Foley, a nurse by day at Lawrence General Hospital, said gardening has been a hobby since she was a girl. she also grows tomatoes, onions, garlic, squash, broccoli, raspberries, and blueberries.

“You name it, I’ve got it growing in my front yard,” said Foley, who added that she grows the plants organically without pesticides, fertilizers or chemicals.

She’s also an avid beekeeper and extracted 50 pounds of honey this summer from two hives at her home.

Foley said her gardens have been successful because she takes care of the soil at her home. she composts regularly, buries leaves and adds manure to the soil at the end of each season.

“It’s all about the soil,” Foley said. “You feed the soil and the soil will enrich you.”

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Follow Alex Bloom on Twitter under the screen name ABloomET. to comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

Gourds at North Andover home are turning heads »
Merrimack Valley »
EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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