Historic garden offers more than fruits and vegetables

Q: Taking a different route home I passed a lot with the Historic Mableton Community Garden sign posted at the front. Is that where the garden is? Can you tell me about it?

A: Yes, the garden is located behind the sign at 5178 Floyd Road, across from the Mable House, in Mableton.

Renee Booker, garden co-coordinator for the past three years, now oversees the HMCG.

Historically speaking, she says, “think about the land, the area, before Floyd Road. This land is actually part of former Governor Roy Barnes’ family’s and is leased to us.”

It began around 2006 and “is operated by Mableton Improvement Coalition volunteers,” according to the sign at the garden’s entrance.

Booker started gardening in 2008 when the economy took a dive. She ran into Terri Carter, a friend and master gardener. Carter invited her to the garden and told her, “that if nothing else she could grow a salad,” said Booker.

“Mind you, I had absolutely no interest in gardening, but began with the smallest plot growing tomatoes, potatoes and herbs. I just crammed everything into it. Keep at it long enough, you’ll get better at it,” she said.

There are 37-38 plots in the garden. New members may join at any time, subject to availability. The land, plot, water and a few tools are provided. Rental costs begin at $35 for the smallest plot (4 feet x 8 feet) .

There is one “donation” plot where the food is given to food banks and shelters. A second plot is in the works. Booker has partnered with the Good Seed company for the plot this year.

“The garden is organic. Preferred and as a rule use no pesticides,” Booker stated.

There is usually a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and a beehive. You plant what you like.

This year she wants to transform the garden. “I want to make it a more teachable garden,” Booker explained.

She wants to bring in more families, children and veterans. “We want to teach how to eat and sustain themselves.

“Digging in the soil is good for depression, PTSD and just being outside in nature itself and growing things does something to the endorphins in the body. Psychologically it’s helpful as well,” Booker added.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Sandy Rodgers was prepping her plots for spring planting. “There is nothing like putting your hands in God’s earth and growing your own food.” Rodgers said. “There is no comparison.”

“We have all walks of life, members/volunteers, young and old out here. It’s called a community garden for a reason. It’s about fellowship and coming together, meeting your neighbor,” said Booker.

Besides the food, HMCG provides a sense of peace, education and collaboration.

For more information, visit www.mableton.org or email hmcg@mableton.org


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