Winter Planting – Only in San Diego – Only at Father Joe’s

Garden 2

Monday for a few hours I had the opportunity to use my green thumb down at Father Joe’s Garden. We are lucky to have such great weather in January! The garden at Father Joe’s Village, our local homeless shelter, has been a continual project for McKinney Advisory Group for about a year. We re-built the boxes as a team, learning who was good with power tools, and upgraded a few of the plants plus brought in two truckloads of new dirt. We did not expect to get to be a part of the project year round and were pleasantly surprised when the residents at the village asked for more plants, dirt, supplies, etc.

Now every few months I get to bring down some new plants. The residents, myself, and new volunteers are lead by Cassie who instructs us to carefully arrange the new plants, pull the old ones, and pick the veggies or herbs ready for harvesting. The harvest goes to the kitch where the culinary school learns how to use it in their dishes, lately they have been making salsa out of all the peppers! Everything is completely organic and follows the square foot gardening system, mixing plants radnomly next to each other to maximize space and keep the soil rich.

Every resident brings a new skill set to the team, some are responsible for watering (cruicial for survival) and others are watching weeds and pulling old plants. My responsibilities mainly include picking up the containers and dead plants, which I do happily. I am always surprised by the residents with gardening expertise who come alive when they are sharing with me about their previous gardens, planting a row of new veggies, or explaining different ways to protect the colliflower from the sun. I learn so much every time.

I am so lucky to get to add this project to my job description. Thank you to the FJV team, especially Cassie, for keeping the garden going! See you next planting session! I am in charge of finding pumpkins to bring, we have a spot already picked out!