Being in Community: A Gardener's Response to Coronavirus


What does it mean to be a part of a community during a pandemic?  How can I reach out to my neighbors, or they to me, when we’re supposed to practice social distancing?  With all the focus on protecting ourselves, how do we look out for each other?

Take a look in your canning pantry.  What is still on the shelves from last year?  Are there nutritious soups or stews you can share with the elderly in your community?  What about that overabundance of winter squash – could you spare a few for friends?  And the fall apples in cold storage – would a family with small children appreciate some fresh fruit?  Did you store potatoes or sweet potatoes?  Do you need all your stored or could you share the bounty?

stocked pantry with homemade canned goods

Now take a look at your garden.  Did you successfully overwinter lettuces, kale, or cabbage?  Wouldn’t those vitamin-packed greens be a welcome treat for someone finding the produce section empty at the grocery store?  How soon will your asparagus start coming up?

We’re in this for a while.  If you haven’t yet started planting please do so right now.  Spinach, leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, kale, and radishes all come to harvest maturity very quickly.  Anywhere you don’t normally plant until May, put in cool weather crops that can be harvested before then.  Plant peas for late spring and plant them profusely with sharing in mind.  Plant quick maturing cabbage in abundance so that you can share them in a few weeks.  Get your tomato seedlings started inside and start extras.  Many of your friends who don’t garden might appreciate a seedling and instructions on how to grow it in a large planter or even in their flower garden. 

Call your friends and neighbors to see what their needs are and what they are not finding in the grocery store.  Do some crowd-sharing and bartering to ensure that we all come through this together and closer than ever. God has blessed us with the ability to garden and feed our families with healthy, vitamin-packed, real food.  Let’s bless each other by sharing what we can! 

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