Saturday, May 15, 2010
Gardening in Community
Right after Christmas, my dear friend and community bringer-together-er Judith finally put into play a long-time dream of hers: a community garden for our small town (pop. 1200). She put up flyers around town and we gathered a fairly good group of gardeners, and the group has slowly been growing over the months. I started a blog for the group: Pine Valley Community Gardens with information about meetings, seminars, work days, etc.
Our group was hugely blessed when we were joined by Linda Hooty and her Agricultural Science students from the Pine Valley Academy of Julian Charter School. At least once per week, Linda has her high school students at our gardening site--a 30 X 30 garden on horse acreage, complete with plenty of composted horse manure and water right at site. I volunteered my own boys to work at the site since I'm a flower and herb gardener, not a vegetable grower, and the critter issues--the rabbits, gophers, moles, birds, and squirrels--have kept me from investing time, energy, seeds, and, most importantly here in Southern California, water. And yes, our own garden needs a LOT of work, but the boys need an opportunity to work with the community and the chance to do hard, physical work. They've worked with the charter school students, with older community members and younger ones, and they've learned a great deal about how to pest-proof the garden.
Our 15 year old son T has been the most enthusiastic gardener, volunteering happily to bicycle over to the gardening site on Mondays to work with the charter school students and spending several hours each Saturday with the adult volunteers working on the structure. Ten-year-old B has also been an enthusiastic volunteer--but J, almost 13, hasn't found gardening as much to his taste as the other boys have. He spends an hour or two on Saturdays but hasn't been joining the boys on Mondays very often.
Today B and I drove over to the next town where the Descanso Gardening Club was holding their annual plant sale, and Pine Valley Community Gardens hosted a booth selling homebaked goods, apple butter, cold drinks, and heirloom beans and seeds. We increased our scanty kitty quite a bit, and we also thank The Mountain Empire Men's Club who recently donated $500 to Pine Valley Community Gardens --we'll also have a similar booth at next Saturday's Run to the Hills Car Show #8, hosted by The Mountain Empire Men's Club.
Soon the pest-proofing structure (called a "pod") will be completed, and we'll be able to plant the seedlings started by the charter school students...and our garden will be well underway. Up here in the mountains, we don't dare plant frost-sensitive seedlings until late May/early June. So we hope to be well on our way, gardening together as a community very soon.
I love being part of a small town community!