By Bea Sias

In a short time, we will be able to start planting our gardens. I know many will be wanting to begin growing plants now that spring seems to have arrived, despite winter’s repeated attempts to stay. One of our new gardens is with a recovery program, and we will be showing the program participants how to sow herbs tomorrow (while following the CDC guidelines for face masks and social distancing — and right after getting my vaccine!)

We have started ordering our seeds, tools, and other supplies. Certain materials are in high demand, since so many people took up gardening this past year. For example, canning supplies are very hard to find and remarkably high in price. One business quoted me $15.00 for a dozen canning jars that I could purchase for $9 just last year.

Due to the coronavirus we have dealt with for over a year, it’s been hard to communicate with gardeners, except for those who have internet. We now have our own brand new Facebook group where we can talk via Facetime and share links to useful gardening videos and information. People can ask questions, share challenges, and boast about successes. For those without internet access, we send newsletters through the mail to keep them informed. We have been very successful with people mailing back the forms for various materials, such as potatoes and fertilizer. Our plants and seeds will be arriving soon in the mail, and perhaps we can complete any remaining forms when we give out potatoes and fertilizer.

We have fifteen new Gardeners this year, although eight from last year did not return due to poor health or other issues. As one lady said, “I am tired of feeding the deer.” Of the fifteen, thirteen are women. One lady is raising her grandchildren, some are retired school personnel, and three are widows. We also have a disabled man who was injured in a car accident and another man who would like some pointers for his large garden spot. We also have a Youth Group from a local church. They have two large raised beds, and there’s a contest between the young children and the pastor and his wife. The side who has the better garden wins a Pizza Party.

Hopefully we can have a good year with our gardens. People work hard to be able to can or freeze good food and share it with family and friends.