Today I want to give everyone a long overdue update on the Impact Community Garden. For those that might not know, this project first started back in 2011, and it brings together people who want to garden but lack the space or knowledge to make it happen otherwise. The garden itself is located in downtown Evansville, Indiana on the grounds of Impact Ministries, which is an inner-city organization that strives to empower and educate youth and adults. My role is to serve as a gardening mentor, plus I also supply many of the plants that I grow from seeds here at Happy Acres. How this project came about is an interesting story in itself, and I wrote a piece about it in 2010 called: New Project for 2011 (Making an Impact).
The big news for this year is we moved the garden! An upcoming project is going to use the spot where the garden was originally located, so early this spring we sprang into action with a plan. In the process we wound up not only moving the garden but also expanding it a bit in the process. The old garden was about 1800 square feet (30 x 60), while the new one is around 2500 square feet (45 x 55).
Due to time constraints in getting all the work done, we were unable to get any spring crops planted, but managed to get the garden ready just in time for planting the warm weather veggies. And so for the last few weeks, we have been busy planting, mulching and watering.
This year we have six families on board, with half of them seasoned veterans, and the other half new to the project but full of enthusiasm. And not everyone is new to gardening either, which always helps.
One of the reasons I love this project is that not only do I get to hang out in the garden with a great group of people, but I also learn a lot in the process. Everyone brings their own experiences and ideas to the project, so there’s ample opportunity for all of us to learn from each other.
As for the garden itself, we finished planting and mulching just this week. Wednesday morning we worked on planting sweet potatoes and some herbs, plus finished up on mulching. We left almost half of the garden unplanted though. Some of that space will be used to plant fall crops like cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnips and lettuce. In the meantime we are sowing a cover crop of buckwheat, which will serve to smother the weeds, attract beneficial insects, and add organic material when we work it into the soil.
Planted so far we have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer and winter squash, bush beans, cucumbers, chard, kale, cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet potatoes and herbs like basil, parsley, dill and sage. Things are truly looking good, with kale and chard ready for harvest. In this project, everyone (except me) shares in the harvests.
The zucchini is also setting on, and should be ready to start harvesting in a day or two. The cucumbers won’t be far behind. And tomatoes are blooming and setting on fruit as well. One task we still need to do is decide on a location for the compost bins, and then get them reassembled after they were moved from the old location. And we also need to finish putting up the rabbit fencing to help keep the critters out of the garden.
I hope you have enjoyed this update on the Impact Community Garden project. I want to thank my wife for stopping by and getting a few images of the me and the group in action. I’ll be back periodically with updates from the garden and to show how things are progressing.