I have already written two posts (on July 17th and 20th) in conjunction with this particular morning spent getting in my steps and checking out the usual haunts at lovely Heritage Park.
I have stopped to check out the Community Gardens at Heritage Park twice this year. The first was when I participated in the 5K walk back on May 9th. Due to the pandemic, the gates were locked and signs advised that a directive was forthcoming when gardening would begin again.
The Community Gardens are located on the Heritage Park grounds, halfway between the historical village and the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Community Gardens consist of personal plots of land where folks can garden ’til their heart’s content for an annual fee. Also found in this area is the Good Will Garden.
The purpose of the Good Will Garden is two-fold. In 2002, through a program developed by Judge Geno Salomone of the 23rd District Court in Taylor, Michigan, community service workers have tended large garden plots and all produce is donated to the Downriver Fish & Loaves Community Pantry. Planting begins in May and the last harvest is in October. The community service workers maintain the gardens throughout the growing season. It is a win-win venture to give back to the local community.
The Community Gardens got off to a slow start …
I am sure many wondered if and when plants and/or seeds could be planted – what would happen to everyone’s crops in 2020? Well, when I bopped by to check out the personal plots and community service plots over Fourth of July weekend, was I in for a surprise! After the lifting of various restrictions imposed by the Governor during the pandemic, the growing season had begun in earnest. Between bouts of torrential rain, the sunniest June on record and a horribly hot start to July, the veggie gardens were already producing. Here have a look.
These are the work force detail gardens.
These are the personal plot gardens.
I love the ambiance here – for example, this quaint wooden chair with the flowers planted where the seat would be and a cheery-looking birdbath.
There are garden doodads and other homey touches in most of the personal gardens, an extension of the owners’ personalities it seems. The nature lovers often put out bird feeders, houses and baths to cater to their feathered friends. Others have brought along Adirondack chairs to take a load off their feet. You may recall last year I chatted it up with Mike who was watering a double plot on an equally hot and humid Sunday morning. You can read about my visit with Mike and see some of the garden photos if you click here. Mike told me one of their plots was dedicated to flowers and tended to by his wife. Mike was in charge of the veggie plot. He enlightened me on the whole process, as I had no clue that regular folks could own these plots. I thought the produce was grown strictly for donation to the food pantry. Mike explained that 20-by-17-foot plots cost $50.00 apiece to lease from May through October each year.
As I walked along the fence, I decided the gardeners must have slept in, likely the result of neighborhood fireworks going off in and around the Downriver area until all hours of the night. I was the only one walking around the garden area and boy were the mosquitoes making a meal of me due to the heat and humidity. I wondered if the gardeners here don’t mind tending to their gardens in the heat of the day?
Of course a few lucky gardeners have raised beds for their gardens, so no stooping or bending is required to tend to their crops or flowers. This is the way to go and easy on the knees too!
I did concede, as I ambled along, that someone had been by to water the raised gardens before I arrived, as all the greens had a fresh and dewy look. Here’s a close-up of those raised gardens nearest the fence – it’s like stepping up to the salad bar.
Was the corn knee-high by the Fourth of July as that expression goes? From my vantage point, I eyeballed those rows of corn, while trying to figure the height on the morning of the 5th of July. What do you think? I know fellow blogger and Michigander Ruth, or Diane with her huge garden in Ohio will know the answer.
It’s not all about the veggies – one plot had nearly ripe berries peeking over the fence.
And this one lone Coneflower had grown mightily in the few short weeks since the garden had commenced. Perhaps this gardener has a perpetual plot filled with perennials?
There are farm implements that were used long ago and now serve to enhance the garden area. I’m pretty sure these gardens will never need the likes of large implements like these. The bales of straw are spread over the soil by the community workers to keep the soil moist between waterings.
I wrapped up my long morning by heading back to the parking lot and sitting in the air-conditioned car a good ten minutes before taking off – whew! I’m no fan of the intense heat and humidity, but it is sure to help your garden to grow. I’ll leave you with this quote: “Garden as though you will live forever.” ~ Thomas Moore