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Gardening Is Not Just for Yuppies Anymore!

May 25th, 2011

Gardening is not just for yuppies anymore! UCOM’s (United Church Outreach Ministry) old-fashioned research (asking people what they want) resulted in an overwhelming consensus from the people living in our service areas that they would LOVE to garden. So UCOM became a garden spot. Most people were more interested in having their own gardens instead of being part of a communal gardening project, so this week we worked with ten neighborhood families and installed a 4×4’ square foot garden box in their yards. More information about the project is at ggn.

Among the many things that we learned in researching this project is that our neighbors want to garden if
o It is convenient.

  • Located where they can get out in the garden and work a few minutes several times    a day without needing the travel, so we put them in their yards. (The boxes will also fit on a deck or patio, even a balcony.)
  • Accommodating to their ability needs. So these box gardens are chair height. People can garden without bending over too much or they can garden sitting down.

o If it is theirs. Ownership is important. People want to grow what they can grow and do with the produce what they want (eat it, sell it, share it, or give it away to whomever they wish).

o If there is variety. These 4×4’ square foot gardens accommodate up to 16 different “crops”, including up to 4 trellised crops. People choose what they will grow from a wide variety of seeds that your donations to UCOM provide.

o If they have someone to consult with questions about their gardens. This is where you come in. We have arranged with our neighborhood gardeners to have volunteer gardeners come to see their progress periodically and help them to trouble-shoot and anticipate the best gardening techniques. They also have the opportunity to meet monthly with a farmer or master gardener at UCOM as a group to address a wide variety of gardening topics, relevant to them.

UCOM’s requirement for neighborhood gardeners is that each one teaches a neighbor the tips they receive, so that next year that neighbor gets his or her own garden box and teaches someone else, so that in 5 years there will be 300 gardens greening our community and nourishing our neighbors. Since every gardener wants to teach what they know, our neighborhood gardeners have responded enthusiastically to this “requirement.”

Garden boxes are just one of several projects UCOM will introduce and “grow” over the next five years.

Check UCOM’s website for updates every couple of weeks this summer on how the process is going for our first 10 green neighbors. www.UCOMgr.org

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