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Community garden still growing

Along with the boxes of mac and cheese and cans of mystery meat, individuals visiting the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry oftentimes take home a bag of fresh vegetables grown nearby in the Brookhaven Community Garden.

About 30 families are participating in the garden — tilling, weeding, planting, picking — with the understanding that half of what they grow is donated to the food pantry.

The garden is located on the lot across the street from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. The lot is owned by the church, which allows the community gardeners to use a corner of it next to Bob’s Sandwich Shop. They have seven rows and four raised beds to plant and maintain.

Tomatoes and jalapenos have been productive this summer. So has the okra.

Organizer Pat Nelson said he collects a bushel of okra a day, three days a week.

Gardeners this week — in between a few heavy rains — are planting fall tomatoes. Nelson said about 50 plants will go in as soon as it’s dry enough.

They’ll also plant some cucumbers.

“We intended on planting some cucumbers in the spring,” he said. “We didn’t, so we’re trying to plant a bumper crop of cucumbers for the fall.”

He’s heard from several senior citizens who pick up their groceries from the food pantry. They appreciate the tomatoes and cucumbers and anything else fresh from the soil.

The first frost is expected mid-November and the garden will be dormant until the next spring, then they’ll start it all over again.

Nelson said the gardeners enjoy the fruits of their labor, but they also like to give the vegetables away.

“They’re like me, they just enjoy getting their hands dirty,” he said.

To adopt a row, visit Brookhaven Community Garden on Facebook or email brookhavencommunitygarden@gmail.com.