Home & Garden: Pallets perfect for starting RHM garden

Published 12:09 am Friday, June 26, 2015

Would you wait over four years to create your perfect garden? Patience is a virtue that some people unfortunately do not have time to wait for, but sometimes it does happen; it just has to be the right time and the right moment. This is what some of the shelter clients at Rowan Helping Ministries have had to do to get their own garden.

Starting a garden at the shelter has been a dream for almost four years. Shelter guests dreamed of having a garden at the new shelter and even started making a plan, today there is a start to that reality.

Rowan Helping Ministries just celebrated the new shelter’s first year of being open, but the planning of this building started many years ago, and part of that plan was to have a garden. While many shelter guests have come and gone, some still remain and have kept the dream alive to start their very own garden at the new site. They had dreams and aspirations that produce could be grown and used in the kitchen.

So, what are you supposed to do with those dreams? You write or draw them out of course! And that is exactly what this group did; they created a written plan of all of the fruits and vegetables they wanted to grow.

So, you may ask, what do you do next? For those that waited, it must have seemed like an eternity, some would bring it up here and there, but things not as important or at the top of the list usually get pushed aside until someone with a driving force comes along to make it happen. This year, the perfect team of Extension Master Gardeners Kay Ball and Sally Bradley and Rowan Helping Ministries’ Kris Mueller, and Sheenia Daugherty stepped in to make it happen and set out to get the garden started. Luckily, this team had some Extension Master Gardeners on board and knew how to get the garden growing.

When I was approached with the idea of having a garden at the site, I had to ask a lot of questions such as: what is their experience, is there water, what materials are available, etc. In this situation, the community really came together, with soil donated by Cline’s Landscapes Inc., seeds donated by Southern States of Salisbury and Godley’s Garden Center and Nursery. This was the perfect storm to get this garden started.

Since most of the shelter guests were new at gardening, we thought about doing a gateway gardening project using pallet gardens. With the materials donated and the location on site, all it took was getting the shelter guests ready and set a date. We set the date for June 15 at 10 a.m., and boy it was hot! Of course, the day that was set had to be one of the hottest! Although it was hot, no one shied away from digging in the soil and getting the plants and seeds planted.

After a few hours, all of the pallets were planted with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, herbs, bell peppers and green beans. Each of the shelter guests took charge of their own pallet and helped finish planting all of the pallets.

This may not be the perfect garden envisioned almost four years ago, but it is definitely a start and a great way to get prepared for the future. Pallet gardens are great for small places, they come in many sizes and it is not too difficult to get started. If you can teach and instill the knowledge of gardening and growing your own food, you can help a person throughout a lifetime.

If you would like more information on how you can help with the gardens at Rowan Helping Ministries or would like more information on gardening or creating your own pallet garden, contact Cooperative Extension Agent Danelle Cutting at 704-216-8970.

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