J+M+J

Preserving Catholic Traditions for Tomorrow's Faithful

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           Food Security 2005

           Growing Enough To Keep And More To Share

           On A Postage Stamp Sized Plot

Food Security 2005   Food Security 2008   Food Security 2009  Community Gardening

In 2005 the community garden I operated was destroyed by the new administration in our city. It was a sad day, especially for those who counted on receiving the fresh produce we distributed to those on fixed incomes.

I was undeterred. I decided to tear up our back yard and grow what I could there.  Maybe an easy task for those who live in rural areas, but the land we own is only 40' x 100' and that includes the house and a double garage.

Although I'm writing this in 2009, it is a retrospective of what you can do to provide for your family and have enough to share with those in need on next to no land at all.  That year, the yield from that tiny space was so abundant that the parish where we donated produce asked us to stop. There was much more than they could possibly give away.

It doesn't look like much, does it?

I looked for an easy solution and laid down newspaper and hay to block the remaining grass rhizomes and added cedar mulch. The back fence was painted with a skyscape in 2001 -- my way of coping with the grief of my mother's death.  By 2005 it was beginning to fall apart, but I wasn't ready to let go of it.

Our home is one of the first cottages built on our island - a sandbar on the Atlantic Ocean.

The previous owners severely over-planted with shrubs.  I guess that year after year, as the mother of the family received azaleas and hydrangeas for Easter, she just popped them into the front yard wherever there was room. Decades later, they overwhelmed the front.

We pulled them out and paved the area around the porch with bricks rescued from street excavations, and inter-planted thyme and native sedum.

As you know, much of what I sell comes from Catholic estates and often I come across large cement statues and shrines. More often than not, the home is being sold and the statues will be destroyed -- so they come home with us.

They are far to heavy to ship anywhere, so I rarely sell them unless it is to someone local. Consequently they stay in our garden.

No matter what I'm growing in the front garden that year, you'll always see Mary peeking out from behind the flowers. In this photo, the coreopsis was so abundant. that it formed a hedge.

At the far right is the statue of Mary on a pillar rescued from a convent garden.

Mary is surrounded with gaillardia and rudbeckia which bloom around the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and made beautiful decorations for the celebration of her feast day at our former parish.

Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus found a home in a little garden that featured lilies, hollyhocks, dahlias and herbs. 

At the left in the photo, you'll see yet another shrine. This one had the Infant of Prague within. He has since traveled on to another home, and the shrine itself is where Mary resides.

What a difference a few years makes. The herbs have grown so high that today, you can hardly see the holy pair.

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