Not far from the first tee at Talking Rock Ranch, and just north of Jake’s Corner Dog Park, grows a quiet, organic sanctuary that successfully established a labyrinth of solid roots in 2016, one that has touched the community and is poised to flourish even more in the year ahead.
That sanctuary, Talking Rock’s community garden, all but hobbled into 2016. Established three years earlier, it was in need of some TLC. So, a few folks stepped in, one of whom carried the title of “Master Gardener.” Without question, the experience and dedication proved fruitful.
The fall harvest at Talking Rock’s community garden yielded about 1,000 pounds of produce, from cucumbers to beets to corn and tomatoes. The produce grew in the 10 original, raised beds that are tended to by residents, and in a half-dozen 12×12 plots cushioned by straw bales, an addition to the garden this year that is supported by a cooperative of residents, the Talking Rock HOA and the University of Arizona.
“Plants were grown directly in the bales and made compost at the end of the season,” Peggy Stair, Master Gardener, said. “The bales and plots grew a huge variety of fruits and vegetables.”
The garden produced nearly 500 pounds of zucchini and other squash, 30 pounds of melon, plus herbs, eggplant, peppers and potatoes. The produce was distributed to community members straight from the garden or baked into healthy, sweet treats shared with Talking Rock families, employees and friends.
Beyond produce, a variety of flowers, including marigolds, delphiniums, gladiolus, sweet peas, crocosmia, sunflowers, lavender, dahlias, nasturtiums, campanellas and saliva, added color and fragrance to the garden.
“The bees and butterflies loved them,” Stair said.
If the bees and butterflies loved the flowers, they’ll adore the prospect of the new starter orchard going in at Talking Rock. Complementing the garden, the orchard will feature four apple trees, three peach trees, a plum tree, a nectarine tree and an apricot tree.
And, they’ll love having even more crops to pollinate. Asparagus, artichokes, strawberries and blueberries are already planted for future harvest. And, the garden will grow by three beds and five new gardeners in 2017.
Click on the gallery below for a look at the Community Garden.