Bananas, Bees, Worms, and Weeds

With the help of our Michigan friends, we completed a healthy list of projects for “Lakeshore Gardens” last week. We mulched the bananas at the Rebuild Lakeshore Bunk House, assembled and painted the bee hives, built a rabbit fence around the vegetable garden, double dug the raised beds, laid wood chips in the walking paths, sifted a years worth of worm castings, propagated longevity spinach, planted Mexican sunflowers, and began constructing a new chicken run.

My good friend pastor Bryan Schindel of Cross and Resurrection Church, Ypsilanti, MI, has made numerous mission trips over the years to Lakeshore. This year he made it a family trip, along with two other home school families in their church. What a treat it was to work with these energetic kids and their parrents. We had a great time of work and fellowship.

On Saturday, Brian Beech of Pass Isles Honey Company, gave us a talk on the fascinating world of beekepping. We learned some of the basics of how to care for these amazing creatures as well as some of their benefits, including honey and the pollination of our garden. The kids were full of questions and enjoyed the hands on experience of assembling the boxes and frames. We look forward to colonizing these hives in the spring.

I was also able to teach the kids about another fascinating creature that benefits the garden; the humble worm. I’ve been raising red wigglers for years. Worm bins take most of our kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, apple cores, wilted lettuce, etc and the worms transform it into beautiful black worm castings. Separating the good stuff from the yet to be consumed material requires sifting through a homemade screen. Some of the kids enjoyed it so much they spent nearly 2 hours, producing enough to fill three 5 gallon buckets that will go into the this years garden as rich, organic, homemade fertilizer.

The big idea behind “Lakeshore Gardens” is to promote gardening in our community, especially for food production. I need to make a full post here on the blog about the ministry vision, but I shared it with our Michigan friends and they caught it. I can’t thank them enough for pushing the project to the next level. This gives me hope that the endeavor will take root and bear fruit for the glory of God. To keep up with future progress, you can like our Facebook page, “Lakeshore Gardens.”

Growing Your Own Food

Today we hosted a “Grow Your Own Food” event at the Mercy House. Christian Stephenson, Mississippi State University Hancock County Extension Service agent, gave the main talk. He covered inexpensive ways to create good soil, save money by planting seeds, selecting financially beneficial crops, and other topics related to starting a garden. He answered a host of questions from overcoming tomato blossom end rot, to plant spacing, his favorite tomato varieties, and other things. We also heard from Jennifer O’Banner on the nutritional benefits of eating fresh vegetables from your own garden. Everyone in attendance received a free cook book. I gave a short introductory talk on some of the reasons why I want to promote more gardening in our comunity. I think it was a good event and we hope to do more of these kinds of things in the future.

Fruit Trees at The Mercy House

Seven new fruit trees grace the Mercy House property. Today I put in the ground an Owari Satsuma, an Improved Meyer Lemon, a Blood Orange, a Celeste Fig, two Brown Turkey figs my Dad propagated from his tree, and an unknown fig variety I propagated from a cutting off a fig tree in a nearby vacant property. Lord willing, we will eventually harvest fresh fruit, right here off our own property, to share with the community.

The Mercy House, of Lakeshore Baptist Church, in Hancock County MS operates as a benevolence distribution ministry providing food, clothing, and household items to those in need. I pray that this project will also serve as a catalyst and encouragement for future planting endeavors for the glory of God.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis1:29)