The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, a garden of love. It is a gift to our community from the God of Love, Jesus the Christ. The first “seeds” for our garden have come from members of the congregation and a designation from the congregation’s memorial funds. These seeds have brought us to the beginning of a journey that will last for many years. Guided by the Holy Spirit we will plow forth until row upon row of our work is accomplished and our community is better nourished. The Lord invites you all to be part of His work on earth strengthening and feeding His children. The garden is made possible by generous donations from the community, and grants from the ELCA Domestic Hunger Grants, the Alaska Food Policy Council through the Municipality of Anchorage, the Alaska Women's Giving Circle, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.

Food from the garden in 2019 was sent to Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry, the Tudor Road Gospel Rescue Mission, and to Bean's Cafe.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Does Santa Come to the Garden?

December is a busy time for us all. As the holidays approach there is much to do to prepare for the festivities of the end of the year. Moving closer to solstice means the days will soon be getting longer and the sun will once again warm our days and the nights will be shorter. It's the time of year when all gardeners begin to get itchy for the new season to start. The new season for our garden will really be the first. 2015 was the trial run and much more will happen in 2016. There is still no word on the grant application from the ELCA Hunger Team but that will come in due time.

If you are traveling this winter and can bring some items back to Alaska on your journeys for the garden, please let me know. I can order supplies and have them sent to you in the lower 48 and you could bring them back as baggage or in your baggage. Shipping cost for most items to Alaska are prohibitive as you know and any little assistance can help a lot. Please call me directly (my number is in the church directory) or call the church office and they will relay a message to me.

As you can see at the right of this publication I have put together a wish list for the garden. This will change from time-to-time as items are received. As you look down the list you will see items that are priced as little as $5. There are items on the list to fit all budgets. If you have a question about an item please contact me.

Mark you calendars for December 21. We will be having a recreational fire and a pot luck at Lutheran Church of Hope at 6 PM to celebrate the solstice. We will try to remove some of the stump material stacked up over the summer that will need to be hauled away if we can't burn it. We will also be having some seed tape making parties at the end of February and into March. Be sure to watch this space for more information.

May the love of God be with you all during this joyous season.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November in the Garden

It’s quite cold outside as most of you know. What could possibly be happening in the garden when it’s nearly 0 F? In truth there a many things happening in the garden. The stumps and roots that were pulled in October are drying out. Those that are left in the ground have begun the process of decay. I wish they would all finish that process this winter but, alas they will not. For the roots and stumps that are drying I am looking at have a fire on the winter solstice to celebrate the days beginning to get longer. (Yes, I know the first few are only seconds. But that’s longer just the same.)

Some people have asked, “Why do we need a 7 foot fence around the garden?. I have a picture here of the reason thanks to Phyllis Rude. The moose love gardens. They contain some of their favorite foods. I don’t object to feeding them after we have gotten everything we can from the garden. But I don’t want them in it before harvest. I have also talked with a bee keeper about putting a hive near the garden to ensure some cross pollination.

So even though the days are very short, the air temperature is very cold, and the ground is frozen there is still activity taking place.

Over the winter I will be looking at what to plant. Will order the necessary equipment and seeds and begin the process well before the snow is gone. A wheel barrow was donated last month as well as some smaller equipment. All is progressing quite well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Another Kind of Harvest

On October 31 Bonnie and I celebrated our 45th anniversary. On Friday evening we went to a movie and had a bite to eat while we were there. It was very pleasant. On Saturday, our actual anniversary, we kind of sat around at home and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters that came to the door. Sunday we were supposed to dine with some close friends at an early Thanksgiving dinner since both couples would be out of state for Thanksgiving.

We were late for dinner but as we pulled into the drive I commented on all of the cars that were parked on the street. Went into the house and all was pretty quiet for a dinner party but just thought everyone was running late. As we walked into the family room there were a host of people all saying surprise! Indeed we were surprised. Our daughters had changed the Thanksgiving dinner into a surprise anniversary party for Bonnie and I. It was a marvelous surprise. We had a wonderful time and thank all of our dear friends for honoring us with their time and their friendship.

So why is this entry on the Harvest of Hope Memorial Garden blog? Well, as part of the entertainment our daughters had a money dance for the bride and groom. That would be Bonnie and I. Money collected for Bonnie would be donated to the Listening Post. Bonnie volunteers there on a regular basis. Money collected for dancing with me would be donated to the Hope Memorial Garden. Thanks to my daughters and the generosity of our friends the garden collected $272.

The money will be put toward seed starting equipment and seeds for the coming year. I had just started researching the equipment that would be required and the total came to just over $200 for the trays, six and four packs, and the label sticks. Haven’t even begun to look at the cost of seed and soil that will be necessary. We are off to a good start for next springs planting.

I have also been researching rototillers. If you have any suggestions, knowledge, or expertise in the area help is always appreciated. Prices for a good rear tine tiller start at about $850 and go up from there. Contributions are also welcome any time.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

One Giant Step Forward

First of all I wish to send a huge thank you to Rick Oldford. Until a month ago I didn’t know he owned a backhoe. When I found out I asked if I might be able to use it for a few days to pull the stumps and loosen things up in the garden. (It’s the not quite yet a garden but getting closer.) He not only let me use is for a few days, he actually ran it and got the job completed for me. I was there “helping” as best as I could. I did operate it for about an hour on Thursday morning. He called and said he wasn’t busy and wanted to know if I could use some help. He came over to church and proceeded to complete the job.

There is still much to be done. The stumps need to be hauled away or burned, maybe some of both. Roots need to be pulled. The land needs to be leveled but I had no idea things would be this far along in October. It looks like a mess out there but things will be much easier to deal with in April because of the work done by Rick. If you happen to know him be sure to thank him on my behalf for all of his work.

Once again in points out that all we have to do is ask and the Lord will provide for our every need.

Thanks again to Rick Oldford.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yes, The Garden is Still Working

I have been very neglectful of writing since our trip to Wisconsin and the United Kingdom. Our harvest this year was rather meager. We got a very late start. Planting 4th of July weekend is not conducive to a bountiful harvest. However were were able to provide a small amount of lettuce, broccoli, kale, and radishes to the food pantry. I will be much better about writing over the winter.

The rest of the trees were removed the first part of September. October 9 and 10 will be stump removal days for at least a portion of the garden. I have been able to secure a backhoe for a very reasonable cost. Hope to get most of them removed so we can begin work in April, weather permitting. There is much to do to get things ready for planting in late May.

There will be planning the layout. Planning the initial crops. Making seed tape. Seed tape making will hopefully be scheduled at church so many can participate. Seed tape will make planting in the spring to much faster. Will need to purchase seed starting materials. Will have to find volunteers to start seeds in their homes for transplants in May. We will need to purchase topsoil for the raised beds and gravel for between the beds.

The long nights of the winter will be prime time for planning and designing. I look forward to the tasks and working with you to bring the garden to life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Brush is hauled

Monday was a day of brush hauling. I was able to get a double snow machine trailer from a friend and we used it to haul brush that had accumulated at the garden site. Special thanks to Rod Voshell for his help on Monday shagging brush. We made three trips to the wood lot and got all of the accumulated limbs and branches off the premises. This will give us more room for cutting and stacking for the rest of the week.

Will be cutting and hauling again on Thursday, July 23. If you have time drop by and lend a hand.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Variety of Gifts, but the Same Garden

Right now there are 5 boxes with growing vegetables, but next year the hope is that a half-acre behind LCOH will be cleared of trees, garden beds will be built, and the soil prepared for seeds. Several people have been working hard and getting their hands dirty cutting down trees and hauling brush to clear the garden area. With each load of brush hauled away the space where the garden will grow in 2016 and beyond becomes more visible.

This fall when the garden plots are put to bed, gardening will continue in the form of planning and preparing for the next season. Gardening never really stops. It just moves into a new season with new and different tasks. One task will be making a master plan for the garden plot itself. Another task will be deciding what to plant, where to plant, and when to plant. Other tasks will be reaching out into the community to tell the story of this garden and to invite others to be collaborative partners.

The vision behind the Harvest of Hope garden is that it will become a community collaborative effort shaped by anyone interested in fighting hunger in our community. We hope Lutherans from other communities will be our partners; we hope neighbors from Turnagain and Spenard will be our partners; we hope mobile food pantry shoppers will be our partners. The Holy Spirit is nudging this garden vision along, but it will take all kinds of people's time, talents, and gifts to build it.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about how the body of Christ is comprised of many members and only functions as a whole because each member has different gifts. The same could be said for the Harvest of Hope memorial garden. For this ministry to thrive there are a variety of gifts needed: some sowers, some waterers, some planners, some builders, some leaders, some organizers.

There are roles for those who want to get their hands dirty and there are roles for those don't. There is need for those who can weed and water. There is need for those who can create the vision and invite others to be a part of it. There is need for those who can pray and watch things grow. This is the time when we are planting not only the first seeds of beets, lettuce, and carrots, but we are also planting seeds of ideas and hopes for the garden; the more variety, the greater and richer the harvest will be!

Who do you know that might be interested in sharing their gifts in the garden?  
How might you share your gifts in the garden? 
Who might you tell about the garden?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Working the Past Week

Everything seems to go more slowly than you had hoped. On Wednesday, July 15 we got quite a few
trees knocked down. The branches were stripped and piled up. The logs were cut into manageable lengths and stacked. Wanted to get back and get some other work done but it just was not in the cards this past week.

On Saturday, July 18 the bottom fell out of one of the boxes. The box that had all of the squash in it is now empty. The contents are
lying on the ground. Hopefully I will be able to recover at least some of them on Monday. I picked up and cut the materials to repair that box and some to reinforce the others. Hopefully that will be enough and I get to them before they collapse as well.

I will be borrowing a trailer from a friend to see if we can get more of the limbs to the woodlot this week. The trailer is a double snow machine rig so should hold a lot more than the rear of my pickup. I will probably leave it on site for a couple of days if you want to go and load up some branches. There is still plenty of work to be done. If you are so inclined give me a call any day this week I will probably be working in the garden that doesn't look much like a garden yet.

May God's peace and grace be with you all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It's a Real Squash

We have our first crop in the making. When I looked at the plants on Sunday after church there was actually a squash set on one of the plants. It's an eight ball zucchini. So unless it get eaten by some critter we will have at least one thing to harvest for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA). All of the rest of the seeds we planted on July 5 have germinated. We have radishes, lettuce, carrots, and beets pushing through the soil. Our first harvest is just around the corner.

I did get our first bid back on clearing the land behind the church. The bid was for $32,000. Seems a little much to me. The garden cannot sustain that kind of expense. So come September I will be renting some equipment to see how much we can might be able to do ourselves. Essentially this means the garden will take longer to develop fully. Won't be able to evaluate the extent of the set back until we can assess how much work we will be able to accomplish before the ground freezes up. There is another bid out but I don't think there will be enough difference to make it affordable.

If you know of anyone having access to a dozer please let me know. Especially if they would be interested pushing around some debris as a donation to the garden.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunday Planting Success

The planting "party" we had on Sunday, July 5 was a rousing success. We even have plants coming up from the seeds that were planted. Our first radishes have sprouted. They should have their first true
leaves by Friday or Saturday. Be sure to go and check out the progress. The carrots usually take about two weeks to germinate and the beets from 10 - 14 days so look for them next week. With a little luck we should have lettuce up by Sunday the 12th.

The squash plants have many blossoms and I actually saw bees flying around the blooms on Wednesday when I was at church. All-in-all things are progressing quite well.

Melissa will be submitting the ELCA Hunger Grant on Friday and hopefully we will have another source of funds for moving things forward.

There are now two companies working on estimates for clearing the space for the garden. Hope to have some preliminary numbers sometime on Thursday, July 9.

We will have a tree cutting party one day next week. Even if you can't cut trees there will be things that you can do. If you have a truck and can haul brush and limbs to the wood lot be sure to be there. Watch this space, the weekly news, the website, and the bulletin for up coming opportunities.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting Started

The seed that started the garden at Lutheran Church of Hope was Alaska Synod of the ELCA Assembly in Wasilla, Alaska in April of 2015. The emphasis of the Assembly was essentially feeding the hungry throughout the state and the world. As the Assembly moved forward I attended many sessions on food, gardening, and feeding the hungry. For many years one of the things that was talked about at Lutheran Church of Hope (LCOH) was planting a garden behind the church to help feed those in need in Anchorage. I felt the call of the Lord and decided to undertake this project.

We now have five elevated boxes constructed, three have been filled with soil, and those three have been planted. There are still two to fill and be planted. Hope to get this accomplished this weekend with the help of the congregation.