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Barb and I have been volunteering at the soup kitchen garden once a week since December of this winter, doing some weeding, watering, raking and fertilizing! It’s been amazing. There has been a good group of expat volunteers, and in November when they first took over the garden under the guidance of Karen and Francois Cloutier, there was apparently just a jungle that had completely overrun a garden that had been in use until about 2 years ago. We were fortunate enough to have some partially raised garden beds, a volunteer bought one pump and donated a new drip system, and then a second person bought a second pump to help us with the watering. We also had hoses, plants, pots, chicken manure and tools donated by various volunteers and supporters.

In very short order, the whole area was trimmed, weeded, soil put down and then seeds, and some starter plants planted! Now, 5 months later, there have been abundant crops of such things as tomatoes, perennial everbearing spinach, cilantro, onions, garlic, peppers, cabbage, carrots, chayote, lettuce, watermelon, squash, beans and even corn!

We are learning that several of the things we have planted are not what the ladies will use in the soup kitchen, so this will need to evolve over time, and the group is working on it, but once it is fine tuned, the basics will be wonderful to be able to provide and hopefully save them money in the long run. We have volunteers going in 6 days/week to water, weed and keep things growing.  See photos

We are also very blessed to have a couple of well experienced ladies, Janet & Sheryl, creating and developing an amazing compost pile, that is now the source of our fertilizer. Some of us have been composting in our own kitchens to create this pile, which consists largely of fruit and vegetable peels, as otherwise animal and other food matters would no doubt entice a harmful clientele, between bugs and animals. For now, things are growing and some of these items are helping to provide fresh vegetables and herbs for the kitchen itself.

Something amazing created from almost nothing! Wonderful!

Addendum:  End of March sometime-sadly, we got word this morning that someone broke into the little shed we have at the back of the garden and stole both our water pumps, which means unless / until that is resolved, we will be unable to water the gardens! How very disappointing!