SHOW LOW — The long cold, wet and windy winter and spring this year has most people longing for the heat of summer. For nature lovers, the wind and cool spring temperatures are not a deterrent to digging in the dirt and planting flowers and vegetables.
The White Mountain Community Garden (WMCG) members met Saturday, May 18, to start their planting and clean up and host a barbeque, as well as to get ready for their first annual Garden Expo 2019. The event will be this Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the garden off of 9th Place in Show Low next to the Navajo County complex.
The expo is an educational and fundraising event to bring awareness to the community about healthy, organic gardening and the impact the WMCG has had on various groups and organizations in the area. Seeds and seedlings will be available for sale.
There will be over 30 vendors, up to 10 speakers on various topics, a food truck and scheduled activities for kids. The vendors include information and giveaways and such topics as lasagna gardening, landscaping and maintenance, soil amendments, solar cooking, essential oils for health, monarch butterfly program, quality manure, soil testing, worms and worm castings, making medicinal teas, food preservation, and others.
The speakers will be in the main tent and cover information on gardening in a short gardening season, tree planting demonstration, how bees are beneficial, vermicomposting, lasagna gardening, herbal teas, and growing lavender.
For the kids a schedule of events includes rock painting, bee flower balm making, and an insect safari. Kids can also color, plant a bean, have a scavenger hunt, and other activities. There will be a goodie bag for each family, door prizes and many raffle items.
Alison Hephner of Arizona Department of Health Services in Navajo County helped start and plan this event. “The White Mountain Community Garden is ranked the number-one neighborhood garden in Arizona,” said Hephner in an interview. “It’s all because of the great volunteers we have here.”
The 1.5 acre WMCG started in 2010 with just five members and now has over 80. The non-profit organization not only grows and sells all kinds of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, but they donate a good portion to local organizations such as Meals on Wheels, and senior centers.
The Blue Vase Recovery Center is one of several volunteer organizations that help out. They send people over on Saturdays to help with yard work and maintenance. “They say it has really helped the volunteers with overcoming their addictions and they love doing it,” said WMCG President Mary Alice Vertz. “We really appreciate their help.”
For more information in the WMCG and the Garden Expo go to their website at wmcgarden.org.