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PUUF Veggie Garden

The Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has an embarrisment of land. Much of this has been put to good use in the arboretum cared for by Bob Kintz. Much more could be done. Following in the tradition of PUUF to care for others and set an example, butterfly and vegetable gardens have been attempted and enjoyed, with various degrees of success.

Around December of 2006, with our sons and daughters fighting a war in some of the worlds largest oil fields, a (very small) movement started to attempt to show that some food could be produced locally without depending on any imported oil for the transportation, fertilizer, pesticides, storage, distribution, packaging, refrigeration, etc.. required by store purchased foods.

The gardens also count toward the possible future status of "Green Sanctuary" certification by the UUA which requires several earth friendly projects.

A meeting was held, and it was decided to put a "to do" list by the garden for our "Master Gardener" to add items as needed and for the rest of us to cross off as we could.

2007.01.22 A very nice mailbox was donated by a lady on EscondidoFreecycle and James Newton tucked it in between two trees along the fence nearest the plot. He wrote down what he could remember of what Kathleen Moscato said from the first meeting on a notepad donated by Allie and starting on the first item: Digging out the plot to a depth of one shovel blade.

2007.01.22 (and many sundays after) James Newton went out in the garden during the most boring parts of the service and dug out the soil for amendment. Dwight Smith worked many days after as well. Bob Kintz and some others helped as well.

2007.03.24 James Newton, Maria Orozco-Newton and their children Allie, Remy and Sean joined Dwight Smith at the garden to dig out and amend the soil. None of the other members who had expressed an interest were able to come.

2007.04.01 Citing a lack of interest on the part of the fellowship members who the garden was to inspire, James Newton dropped out leaving only one member still active.

2007.04.18 Dwight E. Smith, former paster and a good man, died of a ruptured aneurism after working in the garden to add "enrichments". Dwight was the only person who simply would not give up on the garden. Long after James had stopped, he just kept working on it alone. After 20 years in the oil industry, Dwight was well aware of the need to reduce our dependence on imported oil. Dwight had a great love of gardening was fostered by many dinners as a young man in the depressed south where the only food to eat was what had been grown in the family garden. The Smith family had kept one particular strain of bean seeds for many generations as it served them well in the garden. Some of those seeds were to be planted in this garden when, if, it was ready.

2007.04.19 Bond Perry, picked up the torch and finished the work, planting several types of tomatoes, peppers (donated by Maria Orozco-Newton), eggplant (two kinds), basil, oregano, parsley, yellow fleshed water melon, zucchini, ruby chard, sunflowers. Then, Bond was given half of the beans kept by Dwight and actually found the guts to plant three rows of them.

2007.05.19 The day before the memorial service, 3 of Dwights bean sprouted.

2007.05.20 Memorial service for Dwight E. Smith. Dwights surviving family and wife, Carol Hilton, were gracious and kind. Several people came to the garden and enjoyed Bonds work and the bean sprouts. James Newton said that Dwight would want us to continue with the garden and announced the upcoming memorial "no gas" dinner.

What do we need to do to make the garden work at PUUF?

James Newton says: I have talked to a few people and there is an interest in trying to grow things again there, but some hope has to be presented that he failures of the past will not be repeated. In my mind, the lack of automatic watering was the thing that killed the last attempt at a vegetable garden. Lack of coordinated labor killed the prior butterfly garden.


  1. Water: An automatic drip system should cost a few hundred dollars or less. Bob Kintz installed a facet on his own, and James Newton has a drip system kit that is not being used. That brings the cost down to just the cost of an automatic timer valve.
  2. Fence: We also need a new fence around the beds. Bob might be willing to supervise this and James would be happy to help him. Bob has stakes and chicken wire ready. Not the most attractive fence, but more than good enough.

Labor: Here are some suggestions for how to solve the labor problems we encountered in the past:

  1. Master Gardener: A master gardener needs to be recruited or hired to oversee the progress and document what needs to be done next. This person would not be asked to do the work, but just oversee and advise by writing out job lists and schedules for others. I know we have some members who are very competent and I would be willing to bet that someone with the qualifications would volunteer. James Newton is not qualified. Kathleen has indicated she might be willing to do this job.
  2. Weekly Care: Two or more people who simply check off the items on the master gardeners list. Weeding, trimming, amending, fertilising, etc...
  3. Religious Education: More involvement from R.E. The kids could come out on a regular schedule to do the "fun" stuff like planting new flowers or crops, adding decorations, or even picking excess produce. This needs to be scheduled far in advance and coordinated with the RE department. I think our kids should be involved with the earth, don't you think? There was positive participation with the RE group in the butterfly garden, but it was haphazard and not scheduled at the times it was really needed. The master gardener would put forward and adjust as needed by the RE department a schedule for RE participation in the garden. James would be willing to oversee the times the kids would be in the garden and help RE come up with projects that meet the requirements set by the master gardener.
  4. Social Concerns: The social concerns lunch people could be approached to help with harvest and putting the result to good use. The master gardener would advise them of what crops are likely to be ready and when so that meals can be planned. The labor needed to pick and process the crop could be volunteered from that group.
  5. NoGas: I also think there is an interest in "No Gas" or "Fuel Free" lunches in addition to the social concerns lunches. I would propose that the donations from these go directly to supporting the garden. James Newton will help with this, but dosen't want to take primary responsibility. E.g. Al Lewis is doing the one on the 27th and James is helping to coordinate the growers.
  6. Green Sanctuary: Based on what we can see from several of the requirements for status as a Green Sanctuary can be completed by working on the garden.
  7. Local charities such as the women's shelter could be asked to provide some labor in return for free meals. At the same time they would get some training on how to grow food, live sustainable, and get some good exercise. Someone has to supervise that program, we can't expect them to know how to garden. So this would be an educational outreach. James & Maria would be willing to try to do this. It would be good for us all to learn how to motivate and teach people about taking care of themselves.
  8. Visibility: Some connection needs to be made between the front of the fellowship and the garden area. Perhaps a poster of the garden and what has been done could be displayed on the porch. Maybe refreshments could be moved to the fire pit area after the sod that is being planted is ready. Perhaps the garden could be moved closer to the building. Anything to get people looking at the garden.

See also:


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