From Our Gardeners

Several years ago I was diagnosed with two auto-immune diseases.  I had a choice of going on medication for the rest of my life or healing myself nutritionally and with lifestyle changes.  Our community garden has been an integral part of that healing process.  Not only by growing my own organic food and medicinal herbs but connecting mind, body and spirit to nature and a community of amazing like-minded people.  I’m truly blessed to be a part of our garden community.”     

Jana H.          

“I just moved my family back to Sanford and we love it. We are just down the street from the garden so we go by there almost every evening during our walk to check on the progress at our plot. Even my 19-year old son thinks it’s cool. My husband and I enjoy the project and being able to dig back into the community like this, share seeds and stories, meet new neighbors,  and reconnect with old friends. It’s a beautiful place alongside the park, and is loaded with potential. It’s great being back home again. “                                                    

Ginger H.

“I joined the garden approximately 3 years ago. I love planting my own produce and it gives me great joy to watch it grow. From the garden to the table how wonderful.”                                     

Willie T.

Borage Lemonade

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Serves 4

3 or 4 young Borage leaves
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups cold water
raw honey, to taste
4 Borage flowers, to garnish

Put the leaves, juice, water and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain into glasses and garnish with Borage flowers.
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One gardener had a plant growing in her garden that she wasn’t familiar with.  Many gardeners were curious about this beautiful medicinal herb and it caused quite the buzz!
Once prolific in the kitchen gardens of our ancestors, Borage is now so rare that the average person may not be familiar with it.
Borage is a medicinal herb with edible leaves and flowers. It is also known as a starflower or bee bush as its beautiful blue flowers attract pollinators.  It’s great companion plant to tomatoes, strawberries and squash, repelling many garden pests, especially the dreaded tomato hornworm.
With a taste comparable to that of cucumber, borage has various culinary uses. The leaves can be juiced, used in salads or soups, or dried for use in teas.  And the flowers are edible and full of nutritive properties.
Here are some of the benefits of Borage:
The highest known plant source of gamma-linolenic acid (an Omega 6 fatty acid, also known as GLA).
For women: Borage is packed with healthy nutrients like calcium and iron, nutrients many women are deficient in. It works well to ease the depression and mood swings often associated with menopause and menstrual cycles making it a nice alternative to over-the-counter and prescription medications. It’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids that have been found to have positive effect against breast tumor growth and it’s also used to promote milk production for lactating mothers.
For Men: Borage is used in the treatment of prostate gland inflammation such as prostatitis.
For Everyone:
·Because of the cooling property of borage, it is used to treat fever, bronchitis, colds and flu.
·Promotes digestion and helps to relieve stomach aches such as gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
·Rich in essential fatty acids that help to relieve pain associated with arthritis.
·Used to treat hangovers             

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 Jana  H.    

“Gardening is a rewarding hobby that brings a sense of pride and happiness to one’s self. Many gardeners including myself will also say gardening is very relaxing and is therapeutic.
Think about starting out with a pack of seeds or some baby plants that you learn to take care of that grow into beautiful plants that you flowers, fruits or vegetables. Watching your plants grow over the course of weeks and months will make you feel good. Seeing that your labor and patience pays off is a great feeling because you made it happen. Spending time in your garden whether it’s quiet in silence or with music coming from wind chimes do bring make gardening an enjoyable activity.
These relaxing quiet times naturally bring a sense of calming serenity into your life that becomes an escape from the day to day grind most of us are used to. This serenity is a great way to naturally unwind and relieve stress and anxiety in a positive and self-rewarding manner.
I have always had a green thumb going back to when I was a child helping my mom garden. Sometimes she had problems getting some plants to grow well I asked her if I could help and that is when I discovered I was pretty good at gardening. Many years later I decided I wanted to get back into gardening myself and wound up making many mistakes along the way. I turned to researching and reading about the plants I wanted to grow and applied what I learned into building my own fruit & vegetable garden.
In Central Florida it can be difficult to successfully grow fruits and vegetables outdoors because of squirrels, birds and other animals that tend to destroy plants. I tried tricks I heard about to keep squirrels and birds away from my plants and nothing worked. This is when I decided to enclose my garden in chicken wire so animals would be physically restricted from access my garden.
I found a community garden in Sanford Florida and discovered it is a great environment for keeping my reborn hobby alive and well.  With some planning and hard work I am growing many different plants that I enjoy eating.
I didn’t have enough ground space to grow everything I wanted and this is when I decided to grow some fruits vertically so I would free up space to accommodate my other plants.  Instead of growing just 5 or 6 strawberry plants in the ground my vertical planters enables me to grow over 50 strawberry plants.
What I have growing in an 8 ft x 4 ft space would not be possible without growing vertically, I am growing the following plants in this limited space. Blueberries, Raspberries and blackberries. Strawberries.  An assortment of different pepper plants ranging from mild to hot.
Tomatoes. Peas. Onions. Squash. Thyme. Oregano. Rosemary. Basil.  Sage. Mint. ”                                                                                       

Chris O.

“I garden in order to promote natural and healthy living.  I’ve loved vegetables since I was a young girl.I garden due to my love for vegetables and my belief that everyone would eat vegetables if they knew how to season and prepare them correctly.  I believe that everyone wants to have a healthier lifestyle can start with the food they eat.  I think it’s better to spend time creating healthy, vegetable-laden meals then to spend time loosing weight and getting back on track to a healthy life. ”
Some of the plants I have grown in our community garden.
Vegetables:                     
Plants/Roots:                   Fruits:

Jute leaves                        Lemon grass                     Pineapples
Callaloo leaves                 Casana                              Papayas
Spinach                              Mint
Collar greens                    Thyme
Chives                                Borage
Green onions                    Sage
Bitter Leaves                    Sugar Cane
Gnato (sorrel leaves)      Garlic

                                                                                      

Angela P.

“Destiny connected me to the Sanford Community Garden, with a little help from Facebook. A random post showed up in my newsfeed about the garden and spots available. I sent a message quickly saying I wanted a spot. I was so sure I wanted to garden there, even before i saw the place. Soon after I signed the up for the garden plot, my dirt therapy began. My therapy begins by riding my bike to the garden. Working from home, keeps me isolated from the community, now I had a reason to get out beyond my bubble, the garden. Living in downtown Sanford, the bike ride to the garden is short and beautiful. Cleaning the plot and amending the soil was the mindless work I needed. Work hard and see beautiful results. I’ve planted grape tomatoes, sweet peppers, red bell peppers, dill, basil and rosemary plants. I’ve also planted cucumber, green onion and okra seeds. The best part of the garden is not seeing my plot grow – it has been the new people in the community I have met.  I m ay have or may not have success with the plants and seeds but I have loved what the dirty therapy has done for my heart. ”       

Waynette T.