In 2013, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful received a grant from Lowe’s Corporate through Keep America Beautiful to create a community garden at the Farmer’s Market. It was our hope to create a place where fresh produce could be grown and provided to those in our community that would benefit from it.
Asphalt was removed and additional green space was added to the property in preparation for garden beds. Hundreds of volunteer hours were spent building three raised beds and three hugelkultur beds.
What is a hugelkultur bed, you ask? It was a new concept to us as well. Hugelkultur (pronounced hoogle-culture) beds are created by either digging a hole and filling it with tree trunks, limbs, and branches along with other compostable materials or just piling them up and covering them with dirt. The trees will become spongy as they decompose and will absorb and hold water, feeding it back to plants during dry periods. All of the materials attract healthy organisms which improve the soil, which benefits any plants grown on or around these beds.
Many volunteer hours were also spent tilling the beds, planting, weeding, and harvesting crops. All of the produce that has been grown has been donated to LCCI’s food pantry.
We are proud of the vision we had for this garden and what has been accomplished; however, we at KALB believe that our staff and the KALB commission have taken this project as far as we are capable of doing. It is time to turn the gardens over to a more capable community group with gardening knowledge that will allow them to expand into sustainable vertical gardening to substantially increase the harvest and help make this garden what we envisioned it could be. We would like to turn this project over to people that have a heart for the community with a desire to bring fresh produce to those in need, whether that be LCCI or for another worthy purpose.
Part of the grant money received was used to build a storage shed for garden tools and equipment. Several hoses, sprinklers, rakes, and hand tools will be available. Plans to create a drip system have been discussed and funds are available to make this happen with the right person taking charge.
Our contribution to LCCI has been small, but appreciated. We know this community garden is capable of so much more than we are able to accomplish.
We welcome anyone to contact us for more information on the community garden project. Let’s make our community garden a GREAT garden!
By: Lynne Hart