In the summer of 2015 several church members
and staff from Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian
Church formed a committee to explore the development of the church’s vacant 1+ acre, weed covered lot into an area that could be used and enjoyed by both the church and the surrounding community. From the initial meeting, this group decided a community garden should be included in the new SOTH Field. Besides providing a food source, gardening would provide common ground for the church members to relate one-on-one with the neighborhood. The following spring with the help of the landscape architecture design firm, meetings were held with the surrounding community members for their input into what features the neighborhood would like to have developed on that lot. Including a community garden was definitely a feature favored by those
attending the meetings.
The planning, approval and construction phases of the SOTH Field development consumed the next
three years, but finally in fall of 2019 SOTH Field was completed and ready for use. Last year’s growing season was an experimental year for the community garden. Five 3’ x 8’ galvanized metal livestock tanks were purchased for the individual garden “plots.” It was an experimental year in that we didn’t know 1) if plants would thrive in those containers, and 2) and exactly how to set-up the
containers—how many drainage holes would be needed, how deep a rock layer should be at the bottom of the tank, what type of soil or compost would be best, should there be clearance between the bottom of the tanks and the ground. The experiment was a resounding success! Despite the very hot dry summer, most plants thrived in the tanks. Ten additional tanks have been purchased and will be set-up for this growing season so additional gardeners can join us in what has been a very rewarding experience.