Posted by Debra Ann Matthews, first-time gardener, Montgomery County, Participant in The Russellville Urban Garden Project
⇜ ⇝ I have battled with my weight my entire life, thinking that exercise and meal plans were the key to success. And in many times, I had success. I have lost 19, 18, 16, 32, 40, 40, 40, 40, 65, 30 pounds during my weight loss years with ‘you name it, I’ve done it’ weight loss programs. I have walked, learned how to swim, then swam the pounds away. I have hired one, two, three, four, five, six, personal trainers. Had one personal trainer train me for free for two years. I have mastered Zumba on my exercise ball and had a fitness coach walk me around a parking lot for 30 minutes, then mastered my best time of seven minutes. I have taken yoga classes, African classes, and hot yoga courses. WOW! And don’t’ forget about the years that I got up at 5 am and swam for three years. I have learned a lot about myself and have dropped so many dress sizes to regain them all again. Now you may wonder what does all of this have to do with gardening? I have always felt that we need to garden. If I weren’t afraid of animals and snakes, I’ve love to have a chicken house in my back yard. I tried to garden the first year that I purchased my house ten years ago. Nothing I planted came up except cabbage and Peter Rabbit ate it. I was, however, able to grow onions and baby tomatoes on my deck.
⇜ ⇝ Now just imagine planning the tribute to the United Colored Soldiers with Dr. Nancy Dawson to learn that she has an urban garden program aimed at helping women just like me to learn how to grow food. She mentioned that there are accommodations that can be set up to help women like me who have physical ailments to garden.
⇜ ⇝ Finally, my chance to learn. This summer thus far a group of us have how to plant, seed, water, and set up a garden to feed the community and the family all at once! At the beginning of the summer, I spent lots of time watching the group plant, cause physically I was not able to bend and knell to do it. I listened to the master gardener and direction teach us about tips for planting seeds of onions, greens, tomatoes, and flowers too. I learned some neat techniques such as pushing onions in a bale of hay. Also, if you just move the dirt back you can plant potatoes right in the ground. And guess what? Once the potatoes grow, you can store them right in the dirt. And if you leave them for long, they will reproduce more for next year! And guess what else I learned? I learned that a field of food that we are planting this season can feed the entire city!!
⇜ ⇝ Although, I could not do a tremendous amount of the hard labor, I feel just like a seasoned gardener pushing a few greens and potatoes in the dirt ¼ of an inch down. There are many things to learn in a garden from when to plant different seeds, growing food that people in the area want to buy and eat, having a marketing plan, and the art of saving seeds in times of crisis. We will be learning all these things and more during our growing and planting and harvesting season at the Russellville Urban Garden Program.
⇜ ⇝ Feel free to join our women and children education gardening project. And feel free to call the Russellville Urban Garden Program to come by and pick up your fresh garden veggies. We will pick it right off the vine just for you! Like our FB page @ Russellville Urban Garden Project .