Guest Editorial: Bringing community gardening to life

By SKIP?GORMAN

We have a local Community Garden — did you know that? It is located just “behind” (north of) City Hall. Because it is “out of sight” it is also “out of mind,” so not enough people have occasion to wander back there and check it out. It’s a small but well-planned garden, protected from hungry rabbits by a good fence and is currently in the middle of a furious growing cycle.

Vegetable gardens are wonderfully sincere. And sincerity sets the tone for just about everything generally associated with vegetable gardens. There’s just No Fooling Around. As a gardener everything you do is a life or death issue. Those who tend to be naturally half-hearted or capricious as a rule may not fare well at the business end of a hoe. It’s hard enough tuning in to the right planting time out here and selecting those veggies that aren’t too dismayed by our high desert environs to even try to flourish. The soil needs help, watering is an engineering problem and, like a good comedy routine, timing is everything.

I understand that Dr. Iresha Goonesinghe had the vision and energy to get the community garden started. Mayor Dan Clark was an enthusiastic facilitator and others have joined in since. On most mornings or evenings, someone is out there weeding, planting, fertilizing, adjusting water lines, thinning sprouts, tying up tomatoes and otherwise becoming one with the plot. A young mother may even have a little helper in tow. So how do you get involved? I am told that inquiries should be made via private messaging through www.Facebook.com/WeLoveRidgecrest.

Ours is a quirky little community. We lack the cement or focus or rhythm or whatever that mystical cohesive factor is that allows for us to become and remain monolithic in a key cultural sense. It has always been thus. I remember, though, the call of the volunteer firemen from atop the old USO Building. Its urgent staccato fog horn blasts late at night had the tendency to bring us together as a community. Perhaps it was our response to a common threat. I miss that sound, and someday I’ll help bring it back. The community garden has the same overall effect. It allows us to “sing together” without embarrassment or selfconsciousness using only the tuneful voice of mutual cooperation and focused industry.

This is why I cherish the concept of a vibrant community garden, and it is my hope that many others spring-up around town. I’m going to plant something special out there soon. It’s called “Supremus Derelinquo Ornithological Propugnaculum.” You won’t be able to miss it.

Story First Published: 2014-06-18