Written by Marilyn Simmons
Where do you find adults bursting with pride, full of chatter, working with and for each other? There is such a bubbly group at the Waxahachie Senior Center Community Gardens. In the early Fall Season, the Senior Center hosted Garden Inspirations for a vegetable gardening educational program. The Senior Center was a blessing to work with and the facility has a wonderful and welcoming appeal with friendly staff members who were more than willing to help with the vegetable session.
The Waxahachie Senior Center had several raised growing vegetable beds with easy water access. The garden area was not only flourishing with vegetables in the end of the summer heat, but there were garden stools in between the rows that provided a resting place for the ambitious gardeners. The composting area was an impressive sight to see that has become the gardeners’ gold, rich, and loamy compost that has provided the community gardeners with rich nutrients from their own property.
It was very obvious that the community gardens were taken care of in great pride with the growing beds bursting with harvest. One gardener showed off her prolific okra and says she harvests daily. The tomatoes were tall, green, and waiting for cooler temperatures to start producing again, but one tomato bed was full of red Juliets. One concerned community gardener was worried that something was wrong with her tomato vine, since the tomatoes seemed to be a little cracked. After showing our excitement of her incredible tomato vine and that her tomatoes were cracked from the uneven watering, she was happy to know she could start feasting on the overloaded Juliet vine.
The community garden was in full harvest swing, cucumbers, squash, Swiss chard, basil, okra, sweet potatoes – the love of the community garden showed through the abundance of harvest and how well cared for the garden was. We had walked into the Senior Center to educate on vegetable gardening and left full of admiration for the avid vegetable gardeners’ they had become, through the community garden program.
Community gardens have sprung up all across America; Waxahachie has the opportunity to share the benefits of this wonderful, worthwhile trend. The Waxahachie Senior Center Community Garden is directed by Kathy White, a local Master Gardener who helps oversee the community project. She says you have to be a member of the Waxahachie Senior Center to participate and a Waxahachie resident, but the startup fee is minimal to have access to the community garden spot year round.
Even though this story took place at the beginning of the Fall Garden Season, it is inspirational to know that the effect and benefits of community gardening can be stretched through all demographics. As a garden educator myself, I want to encourage you to locate a community garden in your area and join in on all the digging and harvesting fun! Spring is around the corner and now is the time to begin your garden prepping to enjoy your own bountiful harvest season, as these gardeners had in the late summer this year.
Marilyn Simmons is the owner of Garden Inspirations, a garden education company. You can learn more about her work and programs at www.gardeninspirations-tx.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org