Need space to garden? Garden of Eatin’ has plots for rent and guidance for new gardeners

By Allison Marlow
Posted 7/21/17

Susie Wallace spent week after week staring out across the plush, trimmed green yard behind her church.

“I kept looking out there and thinking, ‘We are paying someone to mow that when we …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Need space to garden? Garden of Eatin’ has plots for rent and guidance for new gardeners

Posted

Susie Wallace spent week after week staring out across the plush, trimmed green yard behind her church.

“I kept looking out there and thinking, ‘We are paying someone to mow that when we could be feeding people’,” she said.

Finally, the time was right, though Wallace said that wasn’t completely her decision.

“One Sunday God slapped me upside the head and said, ‘What are you waiting for?’”

In 2012, Wallace began digging and planting and plucking behind Jubilee Shores United Methodist Church on Highway 181 in Fairhope. In those first months, she spent 25 to 30 hours a week in the church’s new vegetable garden, far more time than she anticipated.

“God always has a bigger plan,” chuckled fellow gardener Linda Murray.

And now, the Garden of Eatin’ produces 1,200 pounds of vegetables a year for clients at Ecumenical Ministries.

But the food pantry is not the garden’s only goal. Wallace said organizers have raised beds to rent to community members to help give more members of the community a place to grow fresh vegetables.

The 4 foot by 16 foot beds rent for just $25 a year. And frequent visitors to the garden will be rubbing elbows with master gardeners who are happy to offer advice.

“We can help beginnings, we share plants, we have a seed library,” Wallace said. She adds, “though my favorite garden tool is Google.”

Currently, the pantry garden plot is growing pole beans, Seminole pie pumpkins, zipper cream peas, okra, peppers, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, squash collards and more. And, Jubilee Shores, often called the “onion church” because of its bulbous white building does in fact grow onions.

“The garden is in pretty good shape,” she said. “It’s constantly evolving with new people.”

In fact, the garden has evolved in size and amenities too. Grants have allowed the volunteers to add a tool shed, drip irrigation system and covered picnic area. A constant rotation of volunteers who weed, plant, harvest, package and deliver the pantry garden produce keep the operation delivering vegetables to Ecumenical Ministries twice a week.

Their biggest need is still, to rent the remaining raised beds.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables,” she said. “If you don’t have room this is a great place to do it.”