Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy Families in the Garden!

Community gardens flourish in many states and towns all over our country, and in many other countries as well.  They are often looked at as a way to provide garden opportunities for people who don’t have yards; and in fact, this is often true, but they provide many other opportunities for those interested in gardening as well.  


Our own community garden draws sun-seeking members from people whose yards are shady; folks looking for temporary relief from deer, until they can get their deer fencing put in; new gardeners and gardeners new to the area; those who want to garden with others who may have more experience;   families who want to share in our community fruit plantings—which would take years to begin producing if planted at home; as well as those who have no space to garden.  There are many reasons to join a community garden. 

Gardening for the first time, or even for the first time in a new place, is a tremendous learning adventure.   Unless you have gardened on a riverine tidal mud flat before, you have probably never encountered soil like ours.  It’s good soil; but it can be challenging.  Maintaining proper soil moisture in the summer is a challenge all of its own.  And then there’s the weather.  Our cool summer nights and warm to hot days, interspersed with cool rainy weather, is hard on many plants. Our weather is also a perfect formula for fungal disease; which can be avoided or lessened without chemicals, but it presents another challenge.  As summer weather fades, long summer days give way to long winter nights, when the sun remains at a very low daytime angle.  While fall and early spring harvests can be bountiful, winter gardening is another challenge.  With so many challenges to overcome, it never hurts to start your gardening adventure alongside other gardeners who have at least a little more experience.  Social networking helps the world go around, even in the garden!

Garden Member, Blaire Jones, and her family have enjoyed the garden along with our other families, for many of the reasons mentioned above.   Blaire shared, “I really like learning about all the different kinds of plants in the garden, especially the fennel and other herbs that can be used in making food and tea.”  This has been her family’s very first experience with gardening.  They got a late start, faced some challenges with keeping the soil evenly moist and getting good seed germination, but they persevered and have a lovely crop of peppers and peas, with kale and carrots coming along for fall.    

Blaire’s children have been very excited to pick ripe berries and apples in the garden.  Blueberries, golden raspberries, and Aronia berries have been relished; and Aronia berries and apples have made their way home for snacks and smoothies.  The children have helped with general garden chores, and with planting and tending the family’s garden bed as well. “My kids have enjoyed planting seeds and then picking their own produce, which tastes much better than what you can buy from the store.”  As Blaire attests, gardening is a great way to encourage children to eat fresh fruits and veggies.  Visiting the garden becomes a magical treasure hunt, with delicious morsels as the prize.  

Blaire and London are our happy garden stars.  Sharing the garden with children definitely reminds us to take delight in the sweet and simple pleasures that only gardening can bring.


Visitors and volunteers are welcome at the garden!  We are located on the corner of Water and Adams Streets in South Bend WA.  We are currently open Tuesdays between 3:00PM and 5:30 PM and Saturdays from 10:30 AM until at least 11:30 AM (rain cancels).  Saturday times will remain the same through fall and winter; however, as the days get colder and shorter, Tuesday’s hours will shift a few hours earlier.  We have a very a short waiting list for prospective new members.  If you are interested in the idea of planting fall greens, roots, or garlic, time is of the essence.   For more information, please contact the coordinator, Harvest McCampbell, (360) 934-5792 or (707) 834-2985.


Published in the Willapa Harbor Herald on  10.5.16, reprinted here with permission.  All rights reserved. 


Note to readers:   I have been the coordinator of Growing Together Community Gardens for about a year and a half.  It keeps me very busy.  :)  You can check out our photos and posts on our facebook page.   Thanks!



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