I stopped by Heritage Park to visit the Soil & Water Garden this week. What a gorgeous little garden, set back from the street, full of butterflies and bees and seasonal veggies. It’s a community garden, but not like the other two in our city, where people maintain their own little plot. Soil and Water asks the volunteers to show up on Wednesday or Saturday mornings, for just two hours or so, and help with whatever tasks need to be done, and then everyone gets to take home a portion of the harvest of the day. If there’s extra, they donate it.
There were 7 or 8 volunteers the day I was there, and the volunteer garden manager, Shree, showed people how to do different tasks and everyone jumped right in. Some of the projects that they did on Wednesday included cutting down the corn stalks that the squirrels had devoured, made and sprayed an organic bug repellant (dish soap, baking soda and water) on some squash plants that had “dusty mildew,” picked 14 pounds of produce, pulled weeds, watered, and cut-up anything large that was going to be added to the compost bins. I watched them saving some yellow lady beans (seeds) to go to the Silicon Valley Seed Bank.
Although I brought my garden gloves, and planned on working, I end up taking photos and talking to everyone instead. But just look at those pictures; this place is gorgeous!
I really liked that all of the volunteers chimed-in when they were trying to decide how to prevent the squirrels from feasting on the sunflowers, but still allow the bees to have access to them. It’s a group effort and all the volunteers worked on the solution together. Personally, I think that the squirrels are going to win this battle.
You can volunteer as much or as little as you like at the Heritage Park garden. Children are welcome. Wear something that can get dirty, and your sun-hat and bring a bottle of water.
Soil and Water is a group of greater Mountain View residents with a shared interest in gardening, fresh food, and cooking. They believe strongly in building community where they live and volunteer their time to help create a new shared, volunteer garden space.
It’s the perfect way to get to know some of your neighbors and to learn about organic gardening. You don’t need any experience, although experienced gardeners would be enthusiastically welcomed, I’m sure. Keep an eye on their calendar and Facebook page, as they have kid’s events and cooking demos scheduled.
I’m pretty good at growing things in my yard, but I tend to stick to the plants that I think are easy. It’s time to branch out. I’m excited to have discovered these nice Soil and Water people and I’m hoping that I can learn a few things from them and contribute to their mission of creating a “community space that gives back to the community by connecting people through gardening.” I love Mountain View.