June 16, 2012
The Lord has continued to bless our garden since my last post almost a month ago! The peas, spring raab broccoli, radishes, Appalachian mixed greens, and cress have been producing. We have taken the first 32 pounds of our harvest to Manna Food Bank as well as gardeners taking smaller quantities home. Our broccoli, collards, cabbage and beans keep growing and growing. The 500+ sweet potatoes slips received enough rain to take root and are getting ready to send out runners.
The Children’s Home received a large donation of tomato, pepper, eggplant, and basil seedlings. A hard working crew of volunteers planted many rows of these crops between the rows of mulched cardboard. We have been staying ahead of the weeds thanks to the mulch, tilling, and a great deal of diligent hoeing and weeding by volunteers.
Jane showed Lee where to cut lots of sturdy bamboo. Then Bill and Sandy Reid worked hard at putting up bamboo trellises for the peas and Kentucky Wonder beans. Jane, Carlson, Sandy and Faye have carefully added twine, and the grateful beans are winding their way towards the top. The snow peas and wando shelling peas are about done, but the Mammoth Melting Sugar Snaps are climbing higher and continuing to blossom and produce.
Our Children’s Garden is beginning to take shape thanks to the seeds planted by First Pres children. Cherokee Sun and Stars watermelons are growing spotted leaves and pumpkins are producing their first bright yellow flowers. Royal Burgundy bush beans are producing flowers and tiny dark purple beans. Our sunflower house is at the foundation level, but growing. Our bush cucumbers are small, but still we dream of pickles.
Lee, our garden leader from Montreat Presbyterian EPC and original gardener at BMHC, has become the roto-tiller king. He has used the tiller to keep the weeds at bay in the unplanted parts of the garden, and has tilled the soil prior to planting new crops. After tilling a good-sized area for corn, he insisted on planting three rows of corn saying that was the fun part!
The garden actually has several new inhabitants. Two scarecrows made at the FPC-Asheville church picnic have been guarding each of the fields. Susie Jamison helped the children in FPC’s Bible Journeys make a terrific scarecrow that is guarding our newly planted corn patch. The two lop-eared goats in the adjacent pasture have been joined by three new goats with horns. Most miraculously, a baby donkey is now frolicking around the pasture with its mother and the other female donkey. What a sweet surprise!
We’re always amazed by the volunteers that show up on Saturday mornings. Michael and Nicholas Poulos have taken time from their busy weekends to show up and help several times. Bren and Joe Dendy have also graced our fields with 1-year-old Quinn. We continue to be blessed by volunteers from different faith communities.
Last Saturday Jane and Lee were concerned about leaving Ann alone to tend the garden. So Lee enlisted Edward at Montreat Presbyterian EPC to come and bring in volunteers. Thus Lyn and his children, Caitlyn and Joseph, and Chris and Christina with 4-year-old Laney arrived ready to help. Mila and Taylor, who have become “regulars” at the garden, also answered the call. Sandy Reid and Carlson rounded out our group. While Carlson, Lyn, and Caitlyn hoed and weeded the sweet potato field before the runners take off, Edward, Chris, and Christina hoed the crops in the other field. Joseph kept Laney busy feeding the goats and exploring around the garden. Sandy picked peas and worked on the trellises, adding higher strings to accommodate the growing vines. Taylor worked on the trellises and planted the rest of the new corn patch, while Mila planted beets and carrots.
We closed with a prayer circle thanking God for providing willing hands and hearts as well as the sunshine, rain, and rich soil needed to grow our garden. Laney chimed in with Amen at just the right moment. Edward encouraged us to keep showing up and likened weeding our garden to inspecting our character and behavior to weed out that which is not fruitful or pleasing to God. What a wonderful gardening meditation!