Category Archives: Community Garden

FAITH FARM UPDATE

I’m not a vegetable gardener.

Sure I’ve dropped a few in the middle of my flower beds

But I’ve never committed a block of space

Totally to vegetables.

So a few years ago

When my favorite non-profit Loaves & Fishes

Took over a vegetable garden called Faith Farm

I knew I was in over my head.

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This year we were determined to get an early start.

So around the third week of February

We began.

Hundreds of onion starts were planted

Along with carrot seeds.

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We’re working with Michael’s new theory

On growing these cool season veggies.

Last year he noticed that when we planted carrots

Along the edges of the beds

They did much better.

So we planted one end and one edge of

Of each raised bed to onions.

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The remaining end and edge was planted to carrots.

Our suspicion is that the soil along the edge

Warms more quickly than the soil in the middle of the bed.

And results in glorious onions and carrots.

Now, after a few months of growing

We are being rewarded.

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The onions have started maturing

Last Wednesday we pulled 64 lbs.

 

Thinking it would last through 2 days of pantry.

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But within 2 hours of Wednesday’s pantry

They were gone.

Onions are popular.

Carrots will take a little more time.

But if this year’s crop is anything like last year

We’ll have many happy clients

We call this

Gardening for good.

And it is.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Carrots, Community Garden, Onion, Raised Beds, Uncategorized, Vegetables

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

FAMILY VOLUNTEERING DAY V.2

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Yesterday was time for fall clean up

At Faith Farm.

It’s been an astounding first year of

“Gardening for Good”.

We will soon surpass 3,000 pounds of fresh organic produce

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Grown for Loaves & Fishes

And given to our hungry clients each week.

Freshly picked, organic produce

Given to people who otherwise might not have food on the table.

Week after week, Charity and a small group of volunteers

Have harvested literal 1 1/2 tons of food.

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And it’s a good thing

Since July was the busiest month ever at L & F

Serving 954 households…YIKES!

But we want to do more

With the space we have.

So yesterday we began a simple transition

From less ornamentals

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To more raised beds.

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We moved some from L & F

Over to Faith Farm

And set them in place

With the help of Jim

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Our perennial volunteer

And a couple of friends from the Air Force base.

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We were also joined by a group of young women

From the 2020 club at Chisholm Middle School

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They’ll graduate in the year 2020

Which gives us lots of time to train them

As gardeners.

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They have great potential

Because even a big ole tomato horn worm

Didn’t scare them.

Instead they were fascinated.

Gotta love girls who likes bugs!

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They were all great help

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So I hope they’ll be back

Another day

For another installment

Of this great adventure.

Feeding the hungry

Fresh, organic vegetables

And lots of love.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Community Garden, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Lettuce, Raised Beds, Uncategorized, Vegetables

PASSIONS COLLIDING

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Yesterday began with a long list

And a few hardy souls.

It was the first spring clean up day

At Faith Farm.

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Over the winter two of my passions collided.

Feeding hungry people and gardening.

Hope Outreach, another local non-profit

Had built a wonderful garden about 8 years ago.

Recently they decided that they needed to find someone else to operate it.

Fortunately, that word got to Loaves & Fishes

And as of the 1st of the year

Faith Farm became a production and teaching garden of Loaves & Fishes.

Imagine a place where we can grow vegetables

Pick them in the morning

And give them to pantry clients in the afternoon.

Fresh organic produce in the hands and tummies

Of those least likely to get have access to fresh organic produce.

You gotta love a deal like that!

 

But remember we run Loaves & Fishes on a shoestring

With 99% volunteers. 

Faith Farm will be the same

One paid employee

A passionate, knowledgable gardener named Charity

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And lots of volunteers.

But where will they come from

We had maybe four people who worked the beds at L & F last year

But we need legions of volunteers to pull this one off.

So it was yesterday morning that we planned our first volunteer work day.

We spread the word and hoped for 10 maybe 12 people.

Bit by bit we stumbled into the crisp morning air.

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And began to attack Charity’s very ambitious list.

People kept showing up.

Mostly middle school kids.

4 – H boys

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honor society members & cheerleaders

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grandchildren

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kids

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21 in all

We chatted and worked and experienced new things.

A few early spears of asparagus right out of the ground

Made a first time fun mid morning snack.

The sun and the sight of it all warmed my heart.

We are meeting our mission from the beginning.

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Growing healthy vegetables and showing others how to do the same.

Then there’s the added joy of community.

Bringing all kinds of people to a new place

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Having fun, learning

And helping others.

Saturdays don’t get much better than that!

Gail

Your next chance to help at Faith Farm  and Loaves & Fishes is Saturday April 12 during Family Volunteer Day.

Sign up by April 2nd and you’ll get a free t-shirt and lunch courtesy of the sponsor 1st Presbyterian Church. 

Call 580-540-9830 to join in the fun.  Or message Jennifer on our Facebook page Loaves & Fishes – NW Oklahoma

 

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Filed under Community Garden, Gardening, Gratitude, Hunger, Raised Beds, Spring Clean Up

COMMUNITY GARDENING

I have long been interested in community gardens.

They come in several different configurations.

It can be a large area divided into plots.

Each plot tended by a different gardener.

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Or it can be a place where a community comes together

To grow things.

For themselves

Or for others.

This spring I finally get to participate in a community garden.

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You may recall I wrote about planting it a few months ago.

It’s located at our new local client choice food pantry

And food resource center named Loaves & Fishes.

At the moment this garden consists of 10 raised beds.

 

Built as an Eagle Scout project.

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Then our volunteer extraordinaire David

Added 3 – 250 gallon rain barrels that are catching the rain water

From the roof of the building.

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After a 2 inch rain

They are full.

We’ve been cutting greens each week

To share with the clients who come to us for food.

Imagine going to a food pantry and getting a bag of freshly cut spinach

Or lettuce.

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Or Swiss chard.

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It’s just heavenly!

But we’ve had a few challenges along the way.

As it turns out our garden sits at the bottom of a slight bowl.

And it’s been

Well a bit of a pond.

So Saturday was Family Volunteering Day

At Loaves & Fishes.

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75 volunteers from the community,

A Cub Scout Troop

As well as the corporate sponsors for the day

Triangle Insurance

And Central National Bank

Came to help.

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They made quick work of spreading

A truck load of fill sand.

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Then moving gravel into the paths between the beds.

Within a few hours we went from pond

To problem solved.

It was an amazing transformation.

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Now this is really more hardscape work

Than actual gardening.

And we may have completely worn out this group of volunteers.

But the thing is

We are community.

Cheerfully helping

To solve a problem.

Growing great food

For people who really need it

And appreciate the care

We take to help them.

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For years my passion has been feeding people in need.

Now at Loaves & Fishes I get to watch others find their passion.

If you haven’t found a way to help others.

I hope you find a passion

And a home for it

That is as much fun as this wonderful community.

Or better still

Come and join us

Gardening for good and helping feed others.

Gail

P.S.  If you have extra produce or eggs from your own garden we would appreciate

Your bring them to Loaves & Fishes.  We’ll find them a grateful home!

 

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Filed under Community Garden, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hunger, Lettuce, Rain Barrels, Raised Beds, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Uncategorized, Vegetables