DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Residents tilled the entire plot of their thriving community garden for the first time Friday, and planted more okra while they were at it.
Varneice Morrison, one of the more experienced people taking care of the garden on Page Street, said gardeners had been giving out freshly grown squash and jalapeño peppers to the elderly first, and then letting others come pick their own produce.
“We’re starting with those in their 90s and working our way down,” said Morrison, who had been out in the garden since 6 a.m. “Just come and get it. That’s why it’s called the community garden — there’s no fence.”
The garden is a part of the Unity in the Community effort to encourage Dobbins Heights residents to engage in common activities.
In partnership with FirstHealth Food and Nutrition, the town has organized five more projects: a storytelling night, Pink Sundays to raise awareness about breast cancer, swimming lessons, CPR training and a community newsletter.
It also has added a basketball tournament, Soul in the Hole, to the list. The first games took place at the end of June. Another will happen this month.
Squash and peppers are available to be picked, and Morrison said that in about two weeks, tomatoes will be ready. The corn stalks also are beginning to poke through the ground.
Community leaders planted the first seeds May 31, hoping for a good crop of zucchini, butter beans, string beans and peas.
“I love to see stuff grow,” said Henry Morrison, who has been checking on the garden every time he drives past to make sure no one is doing anything to it they shouldn’t be.
Someone goes out to water the garden every day as well, whether in the morning or evening.
Varneice Morrison said gardeners had not used pesticides on the crops yet because insects don’t seem to be interfering with their growth.
“It’ll be a pretty garden if we can keep it up,” Henry Morrison said.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or at [email protected]
Henry Morrison pulls up invasive grass at the Dobbins Heights community garden off Earle Franklin Drive on Friday.
Tomatoes are still green, but they’re coming in nicely and will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks.