CCC’s community garden produces a harvest for others

By Coco Siewert

“We ask you, Lord, to bless the seeds planted here. Help them to sprout and grow. Give all new life within this garden the right conditions to grow and bear fruit in Your Light.”

These words are from the litany for the “Blessing of a Garden,” from the Abundant Life Garden Project which is a program of Episcopal Relief and Development. That litany was said late this May by the CCC gardeners as they circled the newly planted CCC Community Garden.

The three-bed raised vegetable garden is located off the parking lot near the church’s south door. Last fall, when harvesting was over, the garden was seeded with a cover crop of peas and oats to add nitrogen for a healthier, more productive garden soil.

Gardeners from last season were eager to gather to fertilize and plant the garden late this spring. James West and Robert Siewert put shovels to the ground and turned the soil. As the planting party began, Lauren Balames shared her significant gardening skills in directing where to plant the vegetables so the crops would be rotated from last year’s locations. In addition she explained proper fertilizing and planting instructions for each vegetable.

With trowels in hand, Mary Sestok, Ken Abentrod, Gerald Matthes, Donna and Gene Hartwig, Irka Berezowski, and Robert & Coco bent to the planting task. These gardeners planted tomatoes, kale, collard, mustard greens, chard, string beans, zucchini, peppers, onions and eggplant. In addition, they planted an herb garden with parsley, basil, and chives.

Now that the garden is planted it needs tending by watering and weeding, and that is happening with Gerald and Margaret Matthes, Maureen Erskine, and Leslie McNamara each handling a different day. The harvest happens on Fridays under the skillful hands of Mary, Ken and Irka.

On Saturday morning Robert delivers the fresh produce to the weekly “Produce Market” at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pontiac. The city of Pontiac is defined by the Federal Government as a “food desert,” and the goal of the Market is to provide quality fresh produce to the people of Pontiac at well below supermarket prices. All Saints’ parishioners form an active volunteer corps purchasing and selling the produce. The CCC Community Gardeners are pleased to be able to contribute fresh produce to the effort.

The gardening is fun, rewarding work, and more volunteer gardeners are needed to weed, water, and harvest. No previous gardening experience is needed.

Please join the group by signing up today. Contact Coco Siewert at e.siewert@wayne.edu to sign up or if you have any questions. Join the group and we will work around your summer vacation, work, and play schedule.