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What exciting times in the Victory Garden!  On the verge of becoming a defunct project, due to the generosity of two local businesses and the resourcefulness of the Hall County Master Gardener Victory Garden team, the Garden is now absolutely thriving and is strutting it’s stuff, happily growing vegetables to donate to local charitable organizations!  In March, the team lost the water supply, which was graciously provided by Dr. Bill Helms, a dentist living next door to the Garden.  He had allowed the team to use his water spigot at no cost, supplying the underground irrigation system keeping the Garden lush, green and healthy.  Sadly, Dr. Helms passed away, and the water has been turned off.

So what’s a garden without water?  Dead, that’s what.  The only option facing the team was hand watering with hoses, but the closest spigot was about 300 yards away, crossing over two lawns.  Stringing the hoses out every time the Garden needed watering presented several impractical challenges.  The water pressure was lousy, the hoses could not be left out due to lawn mowing, and dragging those hoses out every time  was a lot of heavy, hot work, promising to get worse as the summer progressed and the Garden’s watering demands increased with the rising summer temperatures.

It was becoming apparent to the team that the Garden would soon be a thing of the past. 

Then – the team discovered that the Garden has had a functional water meter right there under everyone’s noses for the four years that we’ve been working the Victory Garden!  Water service was turned on, and the only thing left was to get a plumber to install the pipes and other plumbing necessities from the meter to the irrigation system!  How expensive could that be?  Don Linke, a Victory Garden team member met with Scott Roberts, owner of Roberts Plumbing, and we found out exactly how expensive that would be.  $1000. The almost defunct but potentially newly salvaged Garden just got back on thin ice. 

As Don and Scott continued talking, Scott became more impressed with the purpose of the Garden and realized that this was Roberts Plumbing’s opportunity to donate to the Gainesville community.  Scott promised that if our team would dig the 40 foot long, 12 inch deep and four inch wide trench, he would donate his labor.  Scott also suggested that his parts supplier, Gainesville Winnelson might just be inclined to donate the parts.  Later that same day, we had our answer!  The thousand dollar job would cost the History Center exactly nothing! 

So Victory Garden teammates Toby Blackwell, Bill McMahan, Jill Momper, Lori Knuteson and Don Linke dug the trench. On Friday, June 5, Scott Roberts with Roberts Plumbing and Trey Morgan with Gainesville Winnelson installed and tested the plumbing system, and we had water!

This worthwhile project got the attention of The Gainesville Times who sent a reporter to cover the installation.   Both suppliers expressed their enthusiasm in participating in this project.  “We are happy to help,” said Trey Morgan of Gainesville Winnelson Company.  History Center Director Glen Kyle told the gentlemen that they weren’t just donating labor and parts, they were donating vegetables to the community and education for children about where food really comes from, and exposing them to healthy eating options.

Last year the Master Gardeners grew and donated 350 pounds of produce to three Gainesville area organizations.  This year the goal is 500 pounds.  We’re already up to 100 pounds, and we’re just getting started, so we’ll keep you posted! 

“We are appreciative of everyone who thinks of us, but there’s something extra special about receiving things fresh from the garden,” Brandee Thomas, managing director of My Sister’s Place. “We try to teach our residents about making healthy food choices, no matter what their budget.”



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