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From the Facebook of the Good Samaritans of Garland - November 11, 2015 - Liz Berry and Charles Bevilacqua deliver greens from the Garland Community Garden to the Good Samaritans of Garland.  For the month of November, Loving Garland Green has thus far delivered 78 one-gallon bags of greens to the Good Samaritans.

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The Good Samaritans of Garland are an important link in our community chain of people who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our residents.

The Good Samaritans of Garland is a non-profit, locally-based, and community-supported agency desiring to help others through unexpected life challenges with food or utility assistance. They value their community and work together to serve the underserved community.  The Good Samaritan volunteers are people who are helping people in their community to move from dependence to independence.  They know that life crises often create chaos and confusion. By compassionately listening to their clients, they often are able to help with needs in addition to food by referrals to other agencies in their community of network partners. The Good Samaritan volunteers are people helping people move from dependence to independence.

 

People Can Move Toward Food Security and Independence with Container Gardens

Loving Garland Green is another link in our community chain of people who are dedicated to improving health and well-being of our residents.  We do our part in this as the appointed stewards of the Garland Community Garden, located at 4022 Naaman School Road here in Garland, Texas.  Through our work in this garden for the past 18 months we have learned a lot through our various garden experiments regarding what grows well (and easily) in our community.  Among the many things we've learned with our experiments and research is that people can grow a lot of food in small spaces with container gardens and by carefully planning the layout as well as the types of edibles to be placed in the small area.

Greens Are the Best Choice

We recommend that people with limited space for gardens can get the best bang for their buck, use of space, and resulting nutrition by planting and eating greens.  We have two 12-gallon pots of Kale down at the Garland Community Garden that have been producing kale for 18 months.  We estimate that these two pots, taking up approximately two feet by three feet produce enough kale for two people to each have a serving a day throughout the year.

We've also learned a lot about greens in general.  For example, it seems that as far as nutrition goes, we've been eating the wrong end of the sweet potato plant.  The leaves of this plant actually have more nutrition than the potato itself.  The great news about this is that you have have the best of both worlds with a container of sweet potatoes growing on your patio.  Three slips in a standard size plastic bin (the kind you store stuff in your closet) will produce enough leaves to supply a family of four with nutritious greens from June through November.  Also this plant will be a pretty addition to any patio or deck. [WARNING:  ONLY EAT THE LEAVES OF THE SWEET POTATO.  OTHER VARIETIES OF POTATOES ARE MEMBERS OF THE NIGHTSHADE FAMILY AND ARE POISONOUS.]

We recommend a pot of kale for each member of the family; a bin of sweet potatoes with three slips--enough greens for a family of four from June - November; and a pot with Malabar spinach--May to middle of November (Unlike other spinach that wilts in the heat, Malabar Spinach thrives in our triple digit summer heat.)

 

Hugelkultur Containers Are Best Choice 

 We recommend these containers are 10 to 15 gallon in size and they be built according to similar specifications for building a hugelkultur garden bed:  rotten logs on the bottom making one-fourth to one-third the depth of the pot; layer of brown organic matter such as dead leaves; about a cup of manure; layer of brown organic matter; thin layer of green organic matter such as green leaves or spoiled raw veggies; 8 inches of garden soil.  Once the transplants are installed, cover with mulch.  Read more about Hugelkultur Containers.

 

Loving Garland Green Will Work with the Good Samaritans of Garland to Bring Hugelkultur Container Classes to Garland in the Early Spring 2016

Yesterday when we delivered a fresh supply of greens to the Good Samaritan Center in Garland, we also delivered an experiment in gardening:  five hugelkultur containers.  Three containers contain kale and two are filled with pansies--a hearty annual that blooms all winter.  In the spring we will replace the pansies with another annual as feeding our pollinators is also important.  Over the months of December, January and February, we will stop in once a week to harvest from these pots and keep records of the crop yields so we can more closely estimate how many pots are needed for an individual and for a family.

Pam Swendig, the executive director of the Good Samaritans of Garland, selected the perfect site--a sunny spot just by the back door of the center--a space that had recently been concreted by a local scout troop.  Photos were taken and will soon be posted on the Good Samaritans of Garland Facebook page.  If you would like to see the container garden, visit their Facebook.  

Better yet, stop by to see the garden in person and then step inside to see how you might volunteer at this worthy nonprofit organization.

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