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Gardening Local News

CRRC’s ‘Garden/Wildflower Guy’ Plans Community Garden

Joe Ed Lyles, better known as the garden/wildflower guy, is planning a community garden at Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake's (CRRC) Mabel Jones Recreation Center. Image courtesy of seewhatgrows.org.

Several years ago, it seemed like a good idea to use the land around Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake’s (CRRC) Mabel Jones Recreation Center to grow produce for the Food Pantry.

But after initial fanfare, the volunteer effort quickly fizzled. Maintaining the quarter-acre garden was too much for retired New Braunfels nursery landscaper Joe Ed Lyles and his small cadre of loyal volunteers, who nonetheless managed to grow over 800 pounds of vegetables per year.

Lyles, better known as the CRRC garden/wildflower guy, had another idea, this time to cultivate a community garden that would be grown by “Pantry Partners” from around Canyon Lake. Announced this week, this new venture is open to anyone who wants to work their own plots of land and donate any excess produce they grow to the Food Pantry.

Sixteen people signed up immediately, even though the program doesn’t officially kick off until March 14.

Lyles explains the rules: “The garden is at the rec center across from Tye Preston Memorial Library. You will grow vegetables for your own use with a portion donated to the food pantry. This will be for experienced gardeners as well as novices. For those who need it, I will be available to guide you through the process of having a successful garden. I also offer free consultations at your home should you wish to make a garden there. We are still working out the details, but if you are interested in more information, please contact me to get your name on the pantry partners lit. Make it a family affair.

“Believe me, with a garden people always have more than they can eat.”

Participants can grow anything but corn. Typical plants include tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, broccoli (winter), cabbage, green beans, bell peppers, okra and cauliflower. Growers are responsible for planting, weeding and watering their gardens. Water and organic fertilizer will be provided by CRRC.

“It will be their own little garden,” Lyles said.

A typical plot is between 60 to 100 square feet.

“You can do an awful lot in that,” he said. If enough gardeners sign up, the CRRC will dig more beds.

To sign up for a plot or for more information email jeldado@gmail.com.

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