Gardening is the great multitasker: Not only does it count as exercise, burning up to 200 calories per half-hour, but research shows this hobby is the perfect stress-reducer and mood booster. All this and fresh veggies!
Penn-Cumberland Garden Club members manage the day-to-day operation of a remarkable garden hub that has begun its ninth season this year. These gardens are an important part of the community providing garden plots for families to grow their own vegetables in a protected, pesticide-free environment. 129 organic garden plots are planted and harvested by local gardeners and over 1000 pounds of vegetables were donated to New Hope Ministries from the gardens last summer. All of the garden plots are occupied and vacancies are filled from a wait list of applicants.
The gardens were established in 2011 by a grant from Castle-Harland, Inc., then parent company of Ames True Temper, Inc. employing over 700 people. Duane Greenly, then CEO of Ames and his wife, Sue had the vision and foresight to plan these gardens, including a storage shed with a supply of garden tools and a free supply of water with hoses and reels located to reach all plots. The perimeter is fenced to offer security and peace of mind. Gardeners include retirees, apartment dwellers and those who don’t have space to garden at home.
Ames formed a partnership with Penn-Cumberland Garden Club to be the stewards of the gardens. The Community Garden Committee made up of 10 Penn-Cumberland members and 6 community gardeners who work together to maintain the integrity of the gardens, assign plots and keep records. The committee also maintains the flower beds and pollinator gardens around the garden plots, arranges for speakers to help gardeners learn how to be successful and survey the gardens each week to ensure the plots are kept in good shape.
Each garden season, these gardens come to life with food crops and colorful flowers that beautify a former industrial lot and help to provide food for the families of the gardeners that work to nurture and grow these unique garden plots.
This is a great project for Penn-Cumberland Garden Club to help serve our communities, to spread the seeds of goodwill and to grow the love of gardening in Central Pennsylvania. If you are interested in a garden plot, you may request an application from