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    Photo by Mickie Winters

    Master gardener Jessica Pendergrass, the interim executive director of Louisville Grows, surveys a plot of land called the People’s Garden, which was the first of 15 Louisville Grows community gardens and “food forests.” This one, on 44th Street in the Shawnee neighborhood, is lined with apple trees and offers space for local residents to grow everything from tomatoes and peppers to intricate landscaping succulents. (Louisville Grows also plants trees throughout the city and operates the Healthy House community space in the Portland neighborhood.) The Shawnee property also includes a peach orchard open to the public, a one-acre market with food boxes for residents and 6,000 square feet of greenhouse space. “We lease what is about five acres from Metro Parks for a dollar a year,” says Pendergrass, who farmed and gardened with her family in rural Kentucky as a kid. Since the lease began in 2011, this garden has been responsible for 3,000 pounds of produce.

    A garden of this size requires a couple of 50-foot, heavy-duty rubber hoses. Although GE installed an irrigation system in the greenhouse, the Louisville Grows crew still relies on a trusty garden hose for watering in some conditions. “It depends on the humidity and sun,” Pendergrass says. “Sometimes the plants dry out quickly in the super-hot months and we rely on hand-watering.” In that situation, the team will hook hoses to a four-headed spigot, fit each hose with a spraying wand and walk up and down the aisles to shower the growing plants.

    This originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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