Two years ago I was part of a group of people from my church and other organizations that helped launch the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden. One unique aspect of the garden is that it was a pumpkin patch for over 25 years where, and every fall, kids would make a ritual pilgrimage to get their pumpkins. Eight years ago, when the Argonne bridge was widened, the site was used a lay-down area for all the heavy machinery and construction material. The top soil was scraped off, the ground was compacted, and what was once an anchor point for neighorly connection was abandoned and used as a place for school buses to await their scheduled pick-ups and deliveries. It was known by everyone who has lived in the Spokane Valley for any length of time as the "Pumpkin Patch." It's right next to a busy road traveled by 30,000 cars a day so that's part of the reason everyone knows about its history.
One of the first decisions we made in planning the proposed community garden at that location was to name it the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden and, along with raised beds for people to grow what they wanted, we planned to bring back the pumpkins, and work together to grow them.
Last year's efforts at growing pumpkins were limited because of our late start, but this year we had some success. But then we had to figure out what to do with them. We settled on letting the kids from a nearby group home for children and teenagers to come and choose a pumpkin. Their house parents set a rule that they had to be able to carry their chosen pumpkin to the van, which made for some comical efforts by some of the kids to transport a pumpkin that weighed more than they did. (See the pictures)
It was a great morning and it was deeply satisfying to know that once again children from the neighborhood were strolling vine covered rows of pumpkins on the corner of Argonne and Maringo on the shores of the Spokane River. We are more of a community today because of it and I think that's what community gardens are all about.