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Wow, it’s been HOT out at the garden. I’ve been having to wait until late in the evening to get out there, but then the bugs come out to play too. I guess I need to wake up earlier!

The plots are looking great! The tomatoes and peppers especially are loving this heat, and the beans seem to be doing better too. Weeding and watering are the names of the game right now.

A few reminders:

  1. If you’re out at the garden and use the water from the drums, make sure you refill them per these instructions. Thank you!
  2. Speaking of water, we are still raising funds for a rain collection system. Please contact me if you are interested in donating materials, funds or your time for this project!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

I love this verse. It reminds me that Christ came so that we can have this full life – both here on earth in this life and in the next. In fact, I think it hurts Him to see His creation not living life to the full here on earth, which makes me contemplate where I’m lacking individually and where we are lacking as a community of believers in exemplifying this “life to the full” to all that we meet.

This week, the IndyStar published a Letter to the Editor that particularly resonated with me. According to a recent Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) report, nearly 3,000 children in Marion County public schools qualify for services for the homeless every day. This isn’t news to us in the Grace community – Jay Height from Shepherd Community Center has been telling us long before this economic crisis began that 80 percent of the children in Shepherd’s neighborhood have two meals a day only when they are in school. I’ve been obsessing this week about what happens to all of those children when they aren’t in school.

While the statistics aren’t as readily available for Hamilton County communities, it is apparent that the need has increased dramatically over the last year by the response that Third Phase, a Grace Frontline Ministry and the largest food pantry in Hamilton County, has received in that time. The food that is collected through the Hamilton County Food Pantry Drive is delivered on Saturday, and it is often all distributed to families in need as soon as the food pantry opens for the week. In fact, Third Phase has been forced to limit the amount of food that each families receives because of the huge increase in demand. The poor in Hamilton County often fly under-the-radar, which is even more concerning because of the lack of resources and services available to low-income families living in the Indianapolis suburbs.

All of this to say that these struggling families could use some help in living the full life that Christ came to deliver them into. Christ uses US to bring His Kingdom here on earth. He tells us that He came so that we may have life and have it to the full. I think, in helping others to meet their basic needs, not only are we helping them to live life to the full, but we have the opportunity to truly experience the life that Christ dreams for us in selflessly giving of ourselves.

The Grace Garden is a beautiful picture of what the Kingdom looks like: we provide real food for families in need, we provide good work for our volunteers, and we provide a model of creation care for the community at large.

Join us out at the Garden as we try to live the full life that Christ came to bring us – or get in the game by helping out with the many local outreach opportunities that Grace offers right here in our own backyard!

The garden is looking great! All of this rain is making the plants very happy. Unfortunately, it’s making the weeds happy too. If you have old newspapers or grass clippings laying around, we would love to take those off your hands, as both make a great mulch for the vegetables, which would help retain moisture and keep the weeds at bay.

One of our plots has some standing water in the walkways. Does anyone have some ideas as to how to deal with standing water? The plot members have attempted to drain the affected areas and fill those areas in with mulch, but, with all of this rain, it is a difficult task. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

The chickens are a huge hit, especially with the kids, so be sure to play with them a bit before they have to go home in a few weeks. We’ll all be sad to see them go!

If you aren’t signed up for this year’s Grace Garden CSA, we could still use your help in many ways – check the Needs page above for more information. The Grace Garden needs your time, talent and treasure!

On Thursday, July 2, Earth House will screen the award-winning film, The Garden at 7:30pm as part of the Earth House Food Independence Day websized-independenceCelebration.

The Garden follows the story of a 14-acre community farm located in South Central Los Angeles. The film screening will be a great opportunity to learn more about community gardening and meet fellow gardeners. Check out this post and the links above for more information.

Hope to see you there!

Fortunately, our problem thus far with watering the garden has been too much rain, not enough. However, as summer progresses, we’ll be wishing for more rainy days. We are still hoping to build a rain collection system out at the garden; in the meantime, Jodi, one of our plot leaders, filled up one of the large drums with water (on her own – thank you, Jodi!) and devised a system for keeping it full. If you use any of the water out at the garden, please follow the procedure detailed below for refilling our water supply. If we stay on top of it and each do our part, we’ll be sure to have enough water all summer long!

Water instructions:IMG_0512

1.  There are several large five gallon water jugs behind the first water drum. These should be filled at all times to keep them from blowing away and to keep reserves for the garden. Use either the water drum or these jugs to fill up your watering cans and…water your heart out!

2.  After you’re finished watering your plants, it is easiest to transport the empty five gallon water jugs in your car. If the water in the drum looks low, go ahead and empty some of the remaining full jugs into the water drum (this is a two-man job, so only do so if you have another person around to help). Don’t forget to grab the wrench that is stored in the plastic bag on the front end of the water drum and the white hose that should be sitting in front of the water drum:

IMG_0513

3. Load up the water jugs and pull up in front of the north entrance on the church:

 IMG_0516

 4.  The spigot is located just to the right of the North Entrance doors. IMG_0518You will need to attach the hose to the nozzle, and then use the wrench to turn the valve on – it just takes a quarter crank to the right. It is easiest to unload all of your empty jugs, take off the lids, and line them up next to the spigot before turning the water on. Then you just use the hose to fill up each jug. Once you’re finished, turn off the water, unscrew the hose, and take your full water jugs, the wrench and the hose back out to the garden. **Don’t forget to put the wrench back in the plastic bag and put the white hose back where you found it. 

TIP: “Pop” the lids off of the jugs, so that we can keep reusing them.

Also, these directions are also posted on the water drum (in the plastic bag with the wrench), so don’t be worried if you’re afraid you’ll forget all these steps once you get out there!

Thanks for all of your help out at the garden – it looks great!!

HAPPY WATERING!

Great news – this year’s Grace Garden CSA membership is full! The plots have mostly been planted (I’ll try to post pictures tonight), and it is really looking like a garden out there. Be sure and check it out next time you’re at church.

If you are interested in helping out, but missed or were unable to sign up for this year’s CSA, check out the Needs page above for more volunteer opportunities. If you have any extra seedlings  or seeds at your home garden that you are willing to donate, please let us know.

Thanks to all of the plot leaders, volunteers, shareholders and sponsors for all of their time, help and resources!

A friend at Grace with chickens asked if we would be willing to let her chickens stay at the Grace Garden while she and her family are out of town for the next few weeks. Of course, this sounded like a great idea!

Be sure and say hi to the chickens the next time you’re out at the garden – there is an instruction sheet posted on the coop door with all of the information you might need. Have fun!

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