Taking root

Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kudos to Suzanne Brandt, executive director of Keep Decatur County Beautiful, for taking the initiative to develop Decatur County’s first “community garden.”

Although a site within the city of Bainbridge was not immediately identified, Brandt didn’t let that stop her from going forward with the project. She carved out a 46 feet by 90 feet lot from her family farm’s hay field, located seven miles north of the city off Old Pelham Road. With the help of volunteers and donations of materials and labor, the garden is now planted by what she calls her “15 share-croppers.” She expects they will be picking vegetables in a couple of weeks.

As Brandt puts it, “Planting was the easy part. Now the work begins.” As any gardener knows, the plants must be watered and carefully tended. Weeds must be hoed and bugs must be removed, but the labor is all worth it when the first vegetables are picked.

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The first weeding and hoeing day is scheduled for today, Wednesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. Interested parties should bring their own hoe or weed removing tools.

Brandt is looking forward to having continuing help from volunteers, especially young people. Charlotte Howard, advisor for CATS for Youth, has commitments from some of the 30 high school students in her group to work a few at a time. Josh Paske has also been contacted about young people from Friendship House coming to help care for the garden, as gardening teaches valuable life skills to young people who may not have that influence in their homes.

One of Bainbridge’s own elementary students, Julian Martin, set a good example when he was recently recognized and handsomely rewarded by the Bonnie Plant Co. for growing the largest cabbage in Georgia.

More people are developing an interest in gardening today, as we experience tougher economic times and find ourselves coping with rising food prices.

Brandt describes this first year garden as an experiment. It is still her vision to obtain a piece of land within the city limits that would be more accessible by foot. Does the City of Bainbridge or Decatur County have land within town they could designate for this purpose?

Let us hope her idea takes root.