Members of the Giving Garden group at Dayspring UMC are hoping to help cultivate new green thumbs in south Tempe. After more than a year of learning, planning, and building, the church is opening its community garden to the neighborhood.
“The garden is open to anyone,” said Chris Lueck, head of theGiving Garden team, “individuals, families, groups… anyone who is interested can adopt a bed.” There is no cost to adopt one of the 4’ x 8’ raised beds, but donations are welcomed to help support the group’s mission –to grow a sustainable giving garden.
“We’re teaching sustainable growing practices, sharing research based gardening knowledge through classes, and building community through gardening activities and events,” Lueck said. “We already have a talented group of volunteers and want to welcome others.”
Each of the 28 rectangular cedar beds in the garden is raised 22” to control soil and increase accessibility. Water is supplied to each bed with an individual shutoff to allow for hand watering or drip irrigation. They are filled with a sandy/loam soil mixed with the City of Tempe’s free compost. “We have good soil right now,” said Lueck, “and it’s just going to get better.”
Education is a major component of the group’s work. They started offering free classes in April, led by local Master Gardeners, experienced in the challenges gardening in Arizona can present. Upcoming classes include Planning for Your May/June Harvest with Pam Perry on January 24 at 7:00pm and Patio Farming Techniques with Kari Spencer on March 7 at 6:30pm. Additionally, volunteers work together to learn best practices while maintaining their beds. Leaders help train interested volunteers on harvesting, composting, and sustainable practices for pest management and continual soil improvement.
Those who adopt garden beds are encouraged to plant and maintain their bed on their own, but resources are available for seeds, if needed. They are also expected to attend six or seven
garden events a year, including training classes, community building events, and even potluck meals to enjoy the produce they have harvested. If interested, please call the Church Office at (480) 838-1446 or email Chris Lueck at email@example.com.