Payson’s Community Garden harvest included not only 3,000 pounds of food for local food banks, but also a cornucopia of good vibes.
“Visitors are always surprised by the community here,” said one gardener.
It’s that humble yet willing-to-lend-a-hand attitude that produced bushels of smiles and support during the harvest.
No one competes for the biggest squash — but veteran growers do get besieged for advice.
No one yells if a gardener comes back for a second wheelbarrow of free manure and soil, but they might offer to lend a hand if needed.
No one observes you’re going about it wrong, they just shrug and say they “hope that works out” or gives advice if requested.
And everyone joins in the battle of the bugs.
Maybe that’s what creates the bounty of community — bugs.
Garden board member Roger Kriemeyer has another idea about what creates the unique garden community — the inter-faith, inter-governmental relationships and a willingness to work together for the greater good.
“We donate food to the food banks. We involve a lot of churches and Boy Scouts,” he said. “We offer a place for community service for the probation department.”
The garden has workdays when gardeners work together to pull weeds and lay wood chips on common paths.
Many construction projects from a covered picnic area to a butterfly garden and plots for those with mobility issues dot the garden’s acreage.
And everyone relies on the dedicated “semi-professional staff,” as Kriemeyer calls them.
“We think they are master gardeners, even if that is a different certification,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
To top off the garden community’s bounteous feelings of well-being, the garden hosts dinners and an open house to celebrate the blessings of the garden and the gardeners.
Every year, the Payson Community Garden also has one last gift for Rim Country residents — the Punkin Patch.
Despite a concerted effort by squash bugs to kill every vine this year, the patches of pumpkins have plenty of round orange gourds ready to serve as jack-o’-lanterns.
The Punkin Patch is open the weekend of Oct. 11-12; Friday hours are 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.