Friday, April 29, 2016

Garden of the Month - Alliance United Methodist Church (Fort Worth)

In far north Fort Worth, just south of Keller, where crazy-busy commutes intersect with rushing to kids’ sports and school and shopping, Alliance United Methodist Church anchors a small corner, traditional white steeple atop a red-brick sanctuary. If you drive up Park Vista, just north of Basswood, and look between the baseball backstop and the children’s playground, you’ll see Alliance’s community garden, where church members and neighbors have been donating more than 600 pounds in 2015 to 1,100 pounds of food in 2014 to the Keller Community Storehouse.
Ellen Neff, who coordinates Alliance’s community garden activities, says the garden does far more than just provide fresh vegetables. “I’ve talked with the staff at the Community Storehouse, and they have to teach some of their clients how to cook the fresh vegetables. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that we’re helping shape new lifestyles for people who needed a little help, kind of like we all do sometimes. It’s just one small way we can quietly share the love of Christ by feeding His people.”
The vision of Alliance United Methodist Church is to “connect, share and grow,” and the community garden has provided the perfect venue for all three. The garden contains about 21 plots, each tendered by church members, neighbors and small groups like the Boy Scouts or the church’s youth and children’s programs. It also features a small herb garden and a larger, circular community garden, where everyone pitches in for higher-producing crops for the Community Storehouse.
At the back of the property, the gardeners maintain a large compost bin, and at the back corner of the church’s Family Life Center, barrels collect rainwater for watering the gardens. Alliance’s gardeners are committing to using only organic fertilizers and weed and pest deterrents. On almost any evening, spring through fall, gardeners will be chatting about best practices for better-producing plants and the never-ending battle with birds and varmints that sample vegetables before the harvest.
The Alliance community garden has brought previously unconnected friends together, plus the church uses it for Easter and special mid-week worship. Last month, children from the church’s Wednesday night FaithWorks program planted vegetables, “made dirt” from the compost pile and took home hand-made Rosemary saches. And, in the midst of hectic suburban life, it’s become a quiet place for prayer, meditation and a little therapeutic digging in the dirt.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Advent Lutheran Church Community Garden Update

To celebrate Earth Day, we had a Community Garden Workday with Tucker Street Head Start Center on Saturday April 23.  Several staff and family members from the Head Start Center came and helped us weed, plant and water our garden.  We planted more peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs and loofah seedlings.  Our loofah seedlings were started from last year plant’s seeds.  Head Start families were eager to plant seeds and water the gardens.  It was a great day spent outside together! Tucker Head Start Center receives the produce harvested from this garden.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What We're Planting Now - April 2016

April has been quite the busy month in North TX! Some of us got our tomatoes and peppers planted earlier in the year, because of the mild winter, only to be set back by several different hail storms which seem to happen once a week, in some areas.

Bouncing back from the almost instant destruction the hail caused seems like it is taking forever. So, we plant on! Gardens all over North TX are planting - or replanting - their spring crops. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and melons. You can grow a little bit of everything in Texas!

Spring also means getting our support systems in place and even seeing the first of the artichoke crop coming in. What a fantastic place spring in North TX is!

Keep us up to date with what is going on at your community garden by visiting our working group page!

Don't forget to check out these local gardening events - stay connected to your gardening community!