Last Saturday we hosted our first gathering of SoCe gardeners. We invited the 16 households who each have a garden box. As I have been out in the neighborhood visiting with neighbors who requested boxes I have learned about the gardening experience and expertise of each person, so I quickly realized the great benefit of having gardeners get together to share their knowledge.
We had three objectives for our first gathering: allow gardeners to get to know each other, learn about natural ways to control garden pests, and plan what we want to grow. The conversation was very animated and everyone clearly had much to contribute. It was so much fun to see people become aware of and celebrate each other’s gifts.
One of our neighbors has years of gardening experience and loves to research. Last fall she researched how to use Epsom salt in the garden. She prepared a summary of her findings, along with information about how to use diatomaceous earth and neem oil to control unwanted insects. She even gave each garden box household a spray bottle of Epsom salt solution.
One of my favorite things about the new year is that it is time to start perusing the colorful pages of seed catalogs. We are fortunate to have seeds donated by FarmShop in Wichita, as well as Seeds ‘n Such in South Carolina. Some neighbors plan to start growing greens soon while others are interested in edible flowers and herbs, and one family looks forward to their annual tomato jungle! One of the seed packets from FarmShop is called Sacred Basil - it seems appropriate considering how gardening is a spiritual practice for many folks.
At the end of our gathering I asked if folks would like to meet again. They suggested monthly would be great. One neighbor was emphatic: “We need to meet monthly so that we can talk about how our gardens are doing and what problems we are having. We can share produce and help each other.” This is what Abundant Community is about!