Lakehills community garden spreads wellness

by Carolyn B. Edwards
Bandera Community Courier

Kathy Bates, the Wesley Nurse for the Lakehills community, started a community garden eight years ago. As a Wesley Nurse, “my job is to promote health and wellness in the community.

The garden was my first big outreach program.”

The garden project has continued to grow, with an average of 15-20 people participating every year.

The garden, located on the property of the Lakehills United Methodist Church, got its initial start with donations and grants, especially a grant from the Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Bates’ employer.

The participants do all of the work on their garden plots, buy their own plants, seeds, tools and supplies.

One Saturday a month a workday is held to allow all of the gardeners to meet and work together. “The camaraderie is important and I have programs on water conservation, food preservation, companion planting,” said Bates. She often calls in experts to present programs or do demonstrations.

As a Wesley Nurse, Bates said she aims to keep people well and out of the hospital, so the educational side of the community garden includes getting information about diabetes, heart health, obesity and more.

“Gardening is good exercise,” said Bates.

The garden plots are 4 feet by 16 feet in raised beds. “We use the best soil and compost. Everything is organic and we’re careful with water.” In fact the garden has a 1,500 gallon rainwater catchment tank as well as two 55-gallon catchment barrels.

Participants garden year around. “Actually we usually have a really good winter garden. Things seem to grow better and it’s more fun to garden when it’s not so hot,” Bates said.

In keeping with the spiritual side of the church garden, the Lakehills plot includes an area that includes plants mentioned in the Bible. So far they have a pomegranate, Jerusalem sage, sorrel, roses and an olive tree. Each is marked with a stone plaque that identifies the plant and notes a Bible verse that mentions the plant.

For more information about the garden project, contact the Lakehills United Methodist Church at 830-751-2404.

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