Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. July 2014
Panorama’s community garden, also known as the Pea Patch, is in full glory at this time of year. Covering a couple of acres, with more than 100 individual garden plots, the Pea Patch supplies gardeners and residents with an abundance of vegetables, fruits and flowers.
The most widely grown crop is probably raspberries. They are the quintessential Northwest fruit and grow prolifically in the garden. There are other fruits, too, such as Asian pears, apples, plums, blueberries and blackberries. We like our vegetables, however, and we raise just about anything you can imagine that will tolerate our summer conditions. In other words, crops such as peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes may or may not do well, depending on how much heat and sun they get. Most others do uncommonly well–we try to pick the zucchini before they become the size of baseball bats!
On Fridays, gardeners bring excess produce to Friday Share, and residents who set their sights on particular items begin to line up at 9:30. Doors open at 10, and by 10:15 most everyone has left with a bag of whatever has appealed to them, including bouquets of gorgeous gladiolus, roses, and dahlias. Leftovers are taken to the Thurston County Food Bank.
Come late August, there will be freshly picked corn from the community corn plots, which is in high demand by our patrons. Our corn is oh, so sweet!! Financial donations at Friday Share are accepted, which help us cover machinery and grounds maintenance costs. The Pea Patch also receives funds from the Resident Council to meet part of our expenses.
Many gardeners have been gardening all their adult lives, and it is an integral part of their daily routines, contributing to mental and physical well-being. We also benefit from the social aspects of a community garden, exchanging ideas about soil preparation, watering techniques, and composting. We are a congenial group, and twice a year we hold all-member potluck meetings, which give us an opportunity to meet new gardeners and renew friendships. We often have a waiting list for garden plots because while gardening becomes more difficult with age, many people find it very hard to give up such a pleasurable activity. Even if you can no longer bend to weed or plant, however, we invite all who would like to find a moment of peace and beauty to come across Golf Club Road for a visit. And on Fridays, you can eat some raspberries, too!