Thanks for this opportunity to share what a joyous and bountiful year 2013 was for the garden. In my opinion the best yet! Over 2500 lbs of produce was donated to the Tuesday Dinners from our bountiful garden minus a tomato or two that fell into my mouth while harvesting.  It was such a joy to see the fruit of our labor grow and feed so many people.  As a garden we branched out more this year and offered more to the community than growing space. Many new things came to fruit this year. What I saw spring up over and over this year was the spirit of gracious giving.

We offered monthly garden classes that all in the community were invited to throughout the spring and summer up until early fall. We had teachers from all walks of life that all graciously gave their knowledge freely.  From master gardeners, to young gardener with newer ideas, and seasoned 50+ plus years gardeners with a wealth of knowledge. We also combined the classes with a dinner consisting on some very healthy and yummy food from the garden and also including some homemade teas.  This class and combination dinner created an opportunity to bring those into the church that might have not otherwise come. These meeting were well received and we all learned a lot, not just about growing food but about community and all that we have to give to one another.

We were also blessed with lots of seeds from Second Harvest food bank which inspired us to have a free seed exchanges at the church. We passed out over 200 seed packets. With the seeds we had left, plus ones we had saved from the garden from the last year we also grew 150+ starter plants in the boiler room. We grew everything from cabbage to tomatoes in there. Second harvest also donated a lot of pepper plants called Hot Maui and boy did they have some kick. Needless to say we did not lack for plants this year thanks to lots of giving from others and are own All Saints plants!

We also had lots of awesome plants donated to the kid’s garden from Judy’s Enchanted Garden. I just happened to stop by their one day in early summer and said I was looking for fun plants for some kids in the All Saints Community garden. Judy’s eyes got wide and she had a huge grin on her face. She started handing me unique plants from cucumbers that looked like mini watermelons to others that were called dragons eggs that were different hues of white from creamy to bright white that looked just like a big egg and one tomato plant that grew a big variety of different colored tomatoes and cauliflower the was green, yellow and purple!  When I got to the register to pay she said don’t worry about it.

Lots of gardeners gave above and beyond of themselves to the garden. From turning a dead grass patch area to a beautiful sitting area where one can sit and cool down for a moment or even have a picnic. We also had a greenhouse that extended our growing season by nearly 2 months! That one greenhouse produced 1000+ pounds of produce including one huge 1.9 lbs tomato. Everything that was grown in that greenhouse was given directly to the Church’s Tuesday night dinner.

Thank you All Saints for letting us have a Community Garden. It has and always will amaze and humble me to plant such a tiny seed and watch it grow to feed and nourish 10+ people. Looking at those around me in the garden I have come to the realization that this garden not only gives of itself threw food to physically nourish the body but also an unseen part that casts a spiritual food of love throughout the community growing new seeds of fellowship and giving.

~ Leona Chenault, Community Garden Coordinator