Our Community Garden is an important part of our community outreach each year. Church volunteers and their friends work hard throughout the the growing season preparing and enriching the soil, planting, weeding, tending, watering, and harvesting hundreds of pounds of vegetables.
Fresh vegetables lovingly grown by dedicated volunteers are joyfully donated to Pastor’s Pantry clients who are in need of food. Some of the fresh vegetables enjoyed by clients of Pastor’s Pantry include tomatoes; okra; three varieties of potatoes; asparagus; onions; green, red, and yellow peppers; eggplant; Brussel sprouts; blueberries; butternut squash; corn; kale and other greens.
Thanks to an unseasonably warm and wet October, the First Reformed UCC Community Garden produced more than 300 pounds of vegetables, including almost 200 pounds of sweet potatoes and nearly 100 pounds of watermelon.
This boosted the 2018 total, including vegetables from church member gardens and donations of Smith Farm Sweet Potatoes, to almost 650 pounds of produce for Pastors’ Pantry and the Open Hands Ministry of Davidson County. Church members also enjoyed watermelon from the garden at the October First Sunday Social.
Collards, mixed greens, carrots and rye/clover cover crops have been planted for the winter garden. The newly established pollinator garden produced at least two monarch butterflies who
left on their journey to Mexico in early October. Having the pollinator garden also greatly increased the garden’s overall productivity due to the presence of more bees and butterflies.
We have also received preliminary results of soil testing being conducted by researchers from Duke University’s School of the Environment as part of a statewide study of urban community garden soils. First Reformed’s garden is one of eight statewide selected to participate in the study. We plan to use the results to improve the soil’s productivity and ensure the health and safety of garden workers and individuals consuming food from the garden.
Thanks again to garden volunteers, Edgar Miller, Aurelia Smith and Sylvia Walser and Open Hands Ministry garden workers, Dan Talocka, Jay Tucker and Mark Lewis. Also, a big shout out to Beth Leonard, with Beth’s Greenhouse, who has donated many flats of plants for the garden over the years. Most importantly, thanks to church members making donations to support this ministry.