A Blessing of Green Thumbs

 on October 25, 2022

Over the spring and summer months this year, two volunteers with very green thumbs have been busy tending a vegetable garden in two big planter boxes behind the church. Margaret Bernhardt and Mary Hubert are lifelong and active members of Saint Paul’s, Caledonia. They learned their gardening skills from their grandmother as children and take care of their own balcony gardens, the church’s gardens, and other gardens in the community.

This current project started when the Rev. Cheryl Barker, Vice President of the Caledonia District Food Bank, asked if the food bank would be interested in a supply of fresh vegetables for their clients. When the Board agreed, Rev. Cheryl quickly recruited the twin sisters as gardeners. Both ladies have spent many hours planting, watering, and weeding.  Mary and Margaret harvested tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, beans, onions, and potatoes. The food bank is still wondering how they grew so much in such small spaces!

The undertaking was not without its trials. The heat and lack of rain meant daily visits to make sure the plants continued to thrive. As the tomato plants grew, they were staked and supported by a system of stakes and discarded nylons. The plants kept growing! On one visit, the girls discovered that someone had installed a trellis to support the heavily-laden branches. A ‘Good Samaritan’ from the apartments on the adjacent property was aware of the project, had seen the problem and fixed it! They were later able to discover their helper’s identity and thank the person properly.

The two are quick to acknowledge Mike and Cheri McNally, owners of the Caledonia Garden Centre, who donated some of the plants and seeds. When they needed advice on improving the soil in the boxes, the girls took advice from the Haldimand Horticultural Society, which helps with the other gardens around the church. With this wisdom in hand, the soil can be improved over the fallow season. As this growing season comes to a close, Margaret and Mary can be very proud of a job well done!


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