Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around

The SACG has been extremely blessed this year in making new friends. Gentle readers this year have learned about the Columbus Growing Coalition and God's Gardeners. Peggy Murphy is active in both organizations and has been a blessing to the SACG, as she has been to the Highland Hilltop Community Garden where she spends most of her time.

During the first week of June, Peggy emailed me about a massive donation of seedlings made to the HHCG by Strader's. That evening, I took a flat of cabbage seedlings for the SACG. A couple of weeks ago, Peggy called again to report that Strader's Garden Center was making a second massive donation of seedlings to the HHCG and there was enough to share with their neighbors and other community gardens. I rushed over with my little Jetta and brought back for the SACG flats of marigolds, begonias, impatients, salvia, baby's breath, and some purple flowers as well as a few habanero peppers and seed potatoes. While there, Peggy gave me a tour of the massive HHCG and its amazing new drip irrigation system. Volunteers were busy planting peppers that morning. She showed me their hoop house (which allows them to start seedlings and extend the growing season), where the new children's area (which Home Depot volunteers was building for them) will be and where the new shed that Lowe's is donating will go. The walk-ways were decorated with stones which neighborhood children had painted. It was amazing.

Peggy also showed me some great three-foot flower containers which they would either sell as a fundraiser or use for a children's art project. They had been donated by the community garden operated by Christ the King Catholic Church, about a half-mile southeast of my house on Livingston Avenue. I contacted Marge to see if she had any other containers to donate. She did. I wanted to put a large container at the corner of our lot at Cherry and Stoddart as a memorial to the boy who died there in March. Marge pointed out that we could grow potatoes in them, too. This brought to mind the fact that Barb had planted potatoes in Treva's plot, which Treva then removed and Barb was very sad. I took another pot to plant potatoes for Barb.

The Christ the King community garden primarily grows food for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry down the street on Livingston Avenue. The garden is right next to the food pantry. There is a picnic table under a large shade tree in the garden where clients and their children can wait. While there, they often tour the garden and ask questions about the food. When I arrived, there was a long line of families waiting. Marge explained that one of the pantry's former clients started a car repair business recently. When he arrived at the garage he had rented, he found several pallets of these large gardening containers and asked Marge if she could put them to good use. He even delivered them. She has used them as an art project for neighborhood children. They have painted them and then planted in them. Marge also showed me their new greenhouse, where they hope to start seedlings next year to give to client families to grow some of their own food at home. She said they had been blessed for many years from donations by Dill's Greenhouse.

Treva made our first food pantry donation run this week. I told her that she could pick any pantry she wanted. She chose to donate her lettuce at St. Vincent de Paul on Livingston Avenue because it is the closest to her apartment.

This morning, Peggy called again. Strader's Garden Center again made a massive and unexpected third donation of seedlings and she needed help distributing them. I emailed the God's Gardener Group, Roger from the First English Lutheran Church Garden, Growing Hearts and Hands CG, and the Bexley Community Garden. I then hopped in my new little Jetta and picked up flats of petunias, tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon and muskmelon and a few cayenne peppers for the SACG, Build the Bridge and Urban Connections. I think we'll try to grow melons in the old pumpkin patch while we starve out the squash bugs this year. I'm hoping that our gardeners will donate their mature lettuce this week and replace them with the new lettuce seedlings. Of course, other community gardens and non-profits were very excited, too. I met Dan from Four Season's City Garden there, who hoped to raise money for their 18 community gardens by selling some flowers in their near-east neighborhoods. I also received an email from Habitat for Humanity, who was similarly excited and eager to put the seedlings to good use.

While telling Cathy at Urban Connections about the seedlings which they can use at their ministry house (and encouraging her to take the kids up to help themselves to our ripe black raspberries), she mentioned that they had volunteers for the next few weeks and might be able to spare a few some evening to help us weed and plant at the SACG. (She also expressed doubts about the tastiness of black raspberries, but I'm still in denial that anyone could find them less than perfect;)

What goes around comes around.

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