A lot of times when people hear about the volunteering Steve is doing at City of Refuge, they soon ask me if I am involved in any way. And I have to say, no, not really. I’m okay with it for the most part and it’s important to me to keep my family first, but I really, really want to be involved, too. Because of this, I was really excited when Pastor Tony asked if I would consider being the head gardener for City of Refuge this year!
I grew up helping in Mom and Dad’s garden, so I do have some experience. Since we’ve been married, we haven’t lived anywhere where I had the right space for much of a garden, but I did have a small raised bed in South Carolina. I am far from an expert in gardening, but I do have resources in that so many people I know are great gardeners.
While gardening I’ll have the chance to interact with students from one of the local collages who come out for some hands-on gardening. The part I’m most looking forward to is having the women from Eden Village come once a week or so to help with the gardening. This will give me a chance to interact with them, and relationships are what I like the most.
I love that City of Refuge does so well in multi-tasking with their programs. In this case, the gardening will help provide healthful food for the kitchen. It will also be a way for them to learn a skill that can help them provide for their families once they’re on their own again. Also, it can possibly grow into selling organic produce to help raise funds for the mission.
There is a playground in the same area as the garden which is great for entertaining the boys while I work.
Last year’s gardener did a wonderful job in establishing this place. She had eight raised beds put in and the soil is perfect for digging. This is a huge benefit since the soil around here is red clay.
One of my friends told me about square foot gardening. It sounded good, and after I researched it some more, I got really, really excited!!! (All New Square Foot Gardening
) We’ll see if the promises hold true, but it sounds great–less watering, less weeding, less work and more produce. :) :)
So the good news is that–
–yay! I get to be involved
–nice place for the boys to play while I work
–a good gardening area and tools to work with
–a chance to interact with the people of City of Refuge
the other side is–
It’s hard work , and especially so with two little boys in tow.
Yesterday I got the first three beds planted, and by the end of the afternoon, I was EXHAUSTED. Between walking back to the warehouse three times for supplies, and the many ups and downs between planting and child care, I got my workout for the afternoon.
I started by measuring off the beds and marking it off into square foot sections. Then came the tedious part of making individual holes for the seeds. (less work? that part must come later.) Plants such as radishes, carrots, and onions are planted sixteen seeds per square foot. Lettuce and spinach was planted nine seeds per square foot. It sounds really sparse, but we’ll see if it’s as productive as Mr. Bartholomew promises it will be. :) If the beds come up like I’m picturing, they will be so pretty.
These precise squares make my perfectionist side beam.
Nails and orange string marked the boxes. I wanted to use twine, but couldn’t find any in my last minute scramble for supplies. The orange string doesn’t look so very organic, does it? ;)
Instead of covering the seeds with soil, vermiculite or peat moss is recommended for nutrition and water retention.
Zachary really wanted to help plant peas. The individual holes made it easy for him to see where to drop the seeds. He also helped with the onions.
When Zachary wasn’t planting or pulling weeds, he played on the playground or sat beside me and asked 51 questions. Ian was tired and sat in his stroller a lot of the time. (I know I’m spoiled!) Once they started getting cranky, I found a few snacks which bought me some more time.
So, that’s the beginning. Hopefully soon there will be pictures of sweet green seedlings poking their heads above the surface.