Neighborhood gardens are less work and more fun

Published 10:48 am Monday, July 23, 2012

Rick Smith in his neighborhood garden. (contributed)

By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist

Would you like to enjoy your own fresh vegetables without doing all that hard work in a garden?

You can with a neighborhood garden. Indian Springs Villager Rick Smith discovered that three years ago. The idea came to him to start a neighborhood garden. He talked to his next-door neighbors about it, and they agreed to help. (Actually, the husbands agreed to be the gardeners. The wives agreed to let the men work outside in the heat.) Sharing the work made the gardening easier.

In an empty field behind their homes, the men planted their first garden, and it grew. It grew tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, onions, peppers and squash. It also grew in size! The next year it also grew okra, watermelons, sunflowers, cantaloupes and corn.

This year it grew 20 percent larger and added butter beans to the harvest. The gentlemen gardeners enjoy the time they spend together planning, planting, maintaining, picking and especially eating the fresh produce from their garden.

“Everything I know about gardening I learned from listening to the Old Folks,” said Rick. The Old Folks are the parents and grandparents who raised successful gardens in this valley for generations.

“In my grandparents’ house, everyday you had butterbeans and cornbread on the table. Those came from their garden,” he continued.

This garden is located in the New Hope area of Indian Springs. Descndants from the original Baileys, Bishops and McGuires are still living here and gardening here. The Old Folks would like that.

Would you like to start a neighborhood garden? It is not too late. July and August are the time to plant beans, greens, potatoes and other vegetables to enjoy in the fall.

You need three things to start your neighborhood garden. You need a place that gets plenty of sunlight. You also need a nearby source of water if it gets too dry. Then you need some neighbors.

Besides the delicious food it produces, a neighborhood garden brings people together. While gardeners tend the garden, they can discuss all kinds of issues. That kind of communication brings people together and makes neighborhoods stronger.


Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at