First, I want to acknowledge the sad news of our Pastor John Geissler’s passing this month. He was the one who agreed to begin the work of establishing The People’s Garden and was so encouraging, blessing our efforts to produce fresh food for the Agape Distribution pantry. He told us, “It is important.” He will be missed by many, many people all over the world as he served God, and he will be sadly missed by us at the garden too.
This is the time of year that people are asking, “Well, have you closed up the garden for the year?”. The answer always surprises them as we are still working at the garden, although not every day of the week. Some days we meet at the Learning Center to plan for the next season, this next one is our 10th season, or to discuss changes to make the garden even better. We welcome ideas, suggestions, new volunteers and donations. Thank you to Connection Point Chruch and FISH for the recent generous donations. Your generosity will allow us to build new and better fencing for workers and gardeners.
Work outside in the garden in winter includes cleaning and organizing tools, harvesting some winter-hardy crops like turnips and kale, putting straw on some crops, building new fences and picking up branches that fall from the many trees on the south and west sides of the garden.
The Legion Baseball is an organization that helped us by providing two new mowers last season, that they obtained from Koenig Company. We even have a contract with Koenig for them to pick up the mowers and tune them once a year, which has happened, and we are ready for spring.
Planning for spring includes deciding what crops to plant in which beds, companion planting, how to produce more food for the pantry and how to become more efficient. We work hard to plan before planting day. We will have an open house to start the 2023 season, probably in April, although we start planting the new crops in March.
Things we need are volunteers for planting, weeding, building new fences and harvesting, even just one hour a week is helpful. We also need soil, new seeds, groups to meet in the Learning Center and some large trees cut down to provide more sunlight.
The People’s Garden is a community garden so we welcome all groups; church, civic, school, scout, otherwise abled and international groups for which we have apps to help us communicate in other languages. Overall, we try to make gardening available to all. We have tables, chairs, a coffee maker, water, heat and air conditioning and a protable “powder room.” Call to make an appointment to have your group meet at the garden, even in the winter.
Call 937-726-9525 to volunteer, donate, make an appointment to meet at the garden or with questions.
The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden. Reach her at 937-726-9525.