By Debbie Brown, PC EMG
Want to learn more about gardening and serve your community at the same time?
Patrick County Master Gardeners invites you to join them for a Growing Summer Vegetables and Herbs Workshop on Saturday, May 22, from 10 a.m. till noon at the Soup Kitchen, located at 1208 Tudor Orchard Road in Patrick Springs.
Norma Bozenmayer, president of PCMG, became aware of the need for a garden revitalization while she and her son were volunteering at the Soup Kitchen. Realizing the potential, she contacted Ed Coleman, a Master Gardener intern who had previously expressed a strong desire to lead a project growing fresh vegetables for those who were food insecure in our community.
After Bozenmayer and Coleman had an encouraging meeting with Van Rowe, director of the Soup Kitchen, Coleman presented a proposal for the Master Gardeners to adopt the Soup Kitchen garden, a space to be used to educate the community on gardening practices while providing fresh produce for the Soup Kitchen.
The group voted to approve the project at its April meeting. Work soon began in earnest as more Master Gardeners and others got involved. Norma estimates 120 volunteer hours have already been spent on this project.
Multiple workdays have seen much accomplished.
The original raised bed frames were reconstructed using donated lumber and supplies. Hours were spent weeding and turning over existing soil. A neighbor of the Soup Kitchen joined in the effort and plowed the adjoining fields for planting. Soil testing was performed, and appropriate amendments were added to the soil. A fence was built with donated and reclaimed materials. Onions and potatoes were planted in the plowed fields with sweet potatoes and winter squash to be added. Soil, donated by Walmart and others, will be added to the raised beds soon. A variety of vegetables suitable for making soups soon will be planted.
The Soup Kitchen garden is a labor of love for our community. It is the desire of those involved that all the food produced in this plot of land will provide nutritious meals for those who need it most.
You are welcome to participate and learn in the effort by showing up on May 22. Topics covered will be Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Raised Beds, How to Make your Own Compost and Attracting Native Bee Pollinators to Your Garden.
Look for more workshops to be announced in the future. If you have questions on other ways to be involved, contact Bozenmayer at email@example.com.