Call goes out for local gardeners

By NANCY WILSTACH / Community Columnist

Would you like to grow some of those exquisitely, high-summer, juicy, red tomatoes in your own garden patch?

Or maybe some cucumbers, bell peppers or okra?

You don’t have enough sunny space in your yard? You live in an apartment? You don’t know beans about gardening?

None of those excuses fly in Montevallo.

For $25 you can rent a space in Montevallo Seed to Table Community Garden.

The plots give the apartment dweller outdoor exercise, fresh air and sunshine … and tomatoes, fresh tomatoes.

That shady yard?  It’s no problem when you are harvesting your fresh veggies at the community garden.

“We need more gardeners,” said Seed to Table Treasurer Lanny McMinn. “There are spaces that weren’t filled last year, so we need to get the word out.”

Your chance to find out what it’s all about is 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, when the garden’s board members are hosting a “Meet-and-Greet” session for prospective gardeners.

Lack of gardening knowledge should not be a deterrent.

You will meet more experienced gardeners who are ready to help you plow new ground, so to speak. In fact, one of the really nice aspects of Seed to Table is that you won’t have to plow any ground at all.

Old hands at gardening for the home table will always be ready with advice. For example, dig a little Epsom salts into the ground around a tomato plant to encourage more blossoms.

Chairman Hettie Wagner said that the garden is on the list of projects for University of Montevallo students participating in the Big Event April 7.

In past years, the student volunteers have cleared the beds of weeds and debris before spreading mushroom compost in each bed. That mushroom compost is the organic gardener’s ace in the hole.

If you are curious about the garden, stop by during the Big Event and see how the system works.

Believe me when I say that tomatoes just love mushroom compost. We have two gardens in our yard, but our Seed to Table plot (smaller than either of our home gardens) out-produced them to such an extent that we are giving serious consideration to confining this year’s gardening to two plots in the community garden.

Only organic methods are used at Seed to Table. I have discovered that a Dawn dishwashing solution sprayed on my plants discourages pests, making commercial pesticide unnecessary.

Part of the “community” in Seed to Table is the garden’s involvement with University Baptist Church’s 4-year-old Pre-K program. Youngsters walk down to the garden on Overland Road during the summer to learn about vegetables—how they grow and why we need to eat them.

So, come on down, Montevallo.

Once a new gardener signs up, he or she is assigned a numbered plot. Water and gardening tools are provided.

You need to bring only your plants and seeds and a yen for fresh veggies.