Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Education and Painting Party

So, our pumpkins forgot to bloom this year! Oops! It must have been the late planting ;). While we initially wanted the Sterling Garden Club kids to come to the garden and pick their own pumpkin - it just wasn't happening with the crops finishing up for the season and no pumpkins. So, thanks to the help of Erik Melcher and Paul Manuel in the Food and Nutrition Services department - the pumpkins came to the kids at the Sterling Rec Center.

They learned about the nutritional value of pumpkins and their many uses - and get this: the biggest pumpkin ever grown weighed over 1,000 lbs! They snacked on cider, cookies and pumpkin soup. Finally, they had a blast painting their very own pumpkin. We had some interesting doozies in there...those girls and their pink! Despite the chilly weather and the unfortunate paint on the clothes - the Sterling Garden Club had a great time! Special thanks to members of Fourth Presbyterian of Greenville for helping with the event.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tiny Gardners

This morning we had the opportunity to visit the Judson YMCA's pre-school program and teach them about nutrition, gardening and worm composting. They were full of energy, eager to learn and incredibly cute. Below shows what fun they had learning about how certain fruits and vegetables help the body part they resemble (with hospital dietitians, Susan Hubbard and Meagan Kennedy) . They had a yummy snack of grapes, celery and cherry tomatoes (aka "ketchup berries"). They also got to plant their own vegetables, visit the worm compost site at St. Francis, and peruse through our community garden. It was a fun morning!

Our Claim to Fame!

We had the privilege of being spotlighted on the popular South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) gardening show "Making it Grow" on September 2nd. Rowland Alston and the SCETV production crew were perfect gentlemen as they found the proper lighting, backdrop and footage for the "b-roll." I was interviewed by Rowland Alston, who inquired about what we are growing in our community garden, the purpose/mission of it, who was involved in developing it, and how we maintain it year round. For information on when it will be aired, please visit http://www.scetv.org/.

In the words of our wise Mr. Rowland Alston, "Happy gardening everyone!"

L-R: Janice Peele (St. Francis PR coordinator), Rowland Alston, myself

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Worm Composting

As of July 14th, St. Francis has begun the process of worm composting thanks to our Food and Nutrition Director, Paul Manuel.

"Within about a month I expect that we will be composting 10 pounds of vegetable trim waste per day. The compost material will be added back into our garden plots to further enrich our growing material. In addition, we will be adding worms to our garden plots as they mature and multiply which will also improve our soil conditioning. Once the plots are filled with the compost material, our goal would be to bag up this material and sell it to the community as an income source for the community garden project." - Paul Manuel

With this exciting news, opens the door for education in the community. Beginning mid-September, St. Francis will host our first group of children from the community to learn about nutrition in the garden, worm composting and germination.

Please check out Paul's demonstration at the following link:


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finally - a harvest!

What a productive day in the garden! Below you will see the maturation of the plots and the bountiful harvest that we gathered. Thank you Liz for using the tomatoes and peppers from the garden and making some excellent pico de gallo!

Our harvest spread (minus the peaches, which Ms. Ann brought us from the downtown Farmer's Market)

Liz's authentic pico de gallo that she made from what tomatoes, herbs and peppers she plucked from the garden! Yum!

Friday, June 26, 2009

First Garden Farmer's Market

We debuted our first community garden farmer's market on Friday, June 26th. It was a great turn out with many employees, friends and community residents coming out to see the spread. We even had some late comers the next day (Saturday) wondering when it would be back. The answer? Every Friday through the Fall will will have a farmer present from 3-6 with seasonal produce (when we have a large harvest in the garden, we will be able to sell our own). For now, it's bringing healthy, nutritious and affordable produce to the community. A special thanks to Hunter Farms and Beechwood Farms for making this happen. See you on Friday!

Braddon from Beechwood came out with melons, green beans and corn.

Eric Hunter form Hunter Farms was there with freshly picked peaches and plums.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Work Day, May 30th

This past Saturday was another productive work day. We had lots of radishes to harvest as well as cilantro, sage and other herbs. We had a good turn-out as well with 18 participants. Thanks to all who came, plucked, weeded and watered - you were great company!

Taking a breather... Sylvia Vandross, LaShamrae, Charles, Sister Catherine, Adriana and Sister Mary Jane

Ms. Dot making some more room for her mixed greens. She is even starting a small garden at her own home!
Sister Mary Jane

Hey Robert!

Kimball mulching his plot.

Sister Mary Catherine with her freshly plucked radishes

Anne and Donna working on a trellis for their vine crops.

We think Anne was an engineer in her former life!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Farewell Leadership Greenville, Class 35

Leadership Greenville was pivotal in the development of this community garden project: an idea that was born over 2 years ago. Thank you guys for believing in this project and being so passionate about making it happen. Each of you brought your own set of skills, expertise and resolve to this project to make it come to fruition. On behalf of Bon Secours St. Francis and the Community Ministries department, we thank you for your dedication to this project over the past 9 months. We are grateful for your hard work and thankful for the friendships we have developed along the way. Tonight you will graduate and leave this project behind; nevertheless, each of you will forever be "rooted" in its success. Congratulations LG35!

(Picture to follow)

Rain, Rain - Don't Go Away!

This past Saturday was a community workday in the garden, and God was blessing our garden with lots of rain. Although it was very wet, we had some enthusiastic plot owners come and tend to their plots despite the sprinkles (namely, Sylvia and her two sweet girls - LaSamrae and Adrianna). We even have some produce growing! As you can see below - Adrianna was very proud of her radishes springing up so soon! Thanks for helping me weed girls!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First Planting Day - April 25th

To me, the first planting day on May 2nd was more than a success, it was a milestone....a great story for 60 Minutes. The planting day began at 9:00, but some community memebers were so eager to begin planting, that they showed up early. We had a huge turnout - lots of community members representing churches, recreation centers or just interested residents (and their children!). Several Leadership Greenville Class 35 memebrs came out along with the Food and Nutrition, Facilites and Mission Services departments from St. Francis. People represented different backgrounds, ages, races - but were all there for a common purpose - to plant the Earth. The weather was beautiful, everyone was in a great mood and the garden is now full of herbs, flowers and vegetables. A poetic day if you ask me....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Daisies in Bloom...

To earning an offical badge (!), the Girl Scouts (Daisies) of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands came out to the garden site on April 8th and got a tour of the future community garden. In addition, they made alphabet garden markers, so garders could differentiate between plots. The markers turned out to be absoutley adorable and the girls had a blast.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lost pictures/post from Construction Day

This post is somewhat out of order, but does not go without mentioning all of the hard work that was put into building the raised beds and work tables. After much patience and lots of teamwork, Leadership Greenville Class 35 and Bon Secours St. Francis joined together on Saturday, March 21st to build the raised beds for the garden thanks to lumber donated by Lowe's. Soil was also purchased and the team filled the beds with soil. Needless to say, it was a very productive Saturday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Garden Blessing, February 7th

The St. Francis Community Garden "Celebration" day was held on February 7th, which brought Leadership Greenville Class 35, St. Francis and many community residents, leaders and stakeholders together to recognize and bless the garden in it's impending development. The weather could not haev been more beautiful and the message of community engagement was very well-received. Thanks you to all of you who attended and to those who applied for a plot.