Gardeners demonstrate a belief in tomorrow
A generous offer, diligent preparation, engaged citizens, and nature’s grace created First United Methodist Church’s Community Garden. Bill Gottsman, who owns the one-acre tract on West 17th Street near Forest Street, approached the church last fall with the idea. Work began in earnest early in 2012. By spring, tiny shoots peeked out of tidy 4′ by 10′ plots. On a recent sun-speckled day, Dick Pearce and Wally Brown talked with The View about the garden’s progress. Dick has long been a Master Gardener, and Wally enjoys the Sun City Horticulture Club.
How did the project evolve?
After Mr. Gottsman talked to Reverend Yvonne Coon, a committee formed to hash out a plan. The group agreed that growing food for the community is a priority, so we wanted to donate about half of the produce to The Caring Place, our Stonehaven neighbors, and Boys & Girls Club. We also wanted it to be a way of educating young people and other community members. It’s an ideal location for that. And we want people to be excited about hands-on work and the results.
Beyond the basic plan, what were other specific goals?
We took care of basics first—plowing, new fencing, soil amendments, water, and a tool shed. We use organic methods for fruits and vegetables. There are fruit trees at the front and back edges. We staked out 50 plots, some for a children’s garden, along with others for mobility-impaired gardeners. We’re also excited about our beehives.
Have people outside FUMC helped?
The community has been great. Sun City Horticulture provided tools, Monument Cafe helped with irrigation and gardening tips, Transit Mix gave blocks for revetment bins, The Feed Store donated seeds . . . it goes on and on. Perry Walker gave expertise and labor for the water supply. FTWoods Construction supplied $2,000 to $3,000 worth of heavy equipment and worker time to help prep the site. We got a grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation for the shed, and Habitat for Humanity built it, complete with skylight and water-catchment roof.
How did you decide what to plant?
We asked what folks wanted. First, we planted corn, peppers, tomatoes; later, it was potatoes, beans, squash, okra, and watermelons.
As the garden became a reality, were there surprises?
Everything needed has come, whether heavy equipment or the picnic table, sometimes just by word of mouth. Georgetown’s like that. Winter rains were also a blessing.
Interested in a plot? Need some expert gardening advice? Church gardeners are available at the Community Garden from 9:00 A.M. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.