If you have ever wanted to grow your own food but didn’t have space or resources to do so, the St. Joseph the Worker Church Community Garden may be just the place for you.
Located across the street from the St. Joseph the Worker Church in East Patchogue, the garden began in the late 1970s and has since expanded and changed. In its beginnings, the garden was more similar to a small farm, where parish priests and community members grew food.
Today, the community garden is filled with garden beds where individuals tend to and grow their own food, as well as community beds.
“All you have to do is take care of your area and the pathway around it and you will be assigned as many beds as you have individually to take care of in the community garden,” said Patrice Dlhopolsky, a gardener who has been with the program for over five years.
“We want the garden to be pleasing to the eye as well as functional,” said Betty Gundlach, the current leader of the community garden, as to why gardeners must also take care of a community area as well as their own.
In addition to the traditional garden beds, there are a few raised garden beds that handicapped individuals or gardeners who cannot bend over as easily can utilize. The garden is also completely organic and has been since its inception.
And if you’re nervous that you don’t have the knowledge to take on your own garden bed, be assured that there are other gardeners who know the ropes and are willing to lend a helping hand.
“We know enough to be able to advise people,” Dlhopolsky said, “to help them figure out what they can plant and what probably wouldn’t grow.”
Just a selection of the food that has been grown includes asparagus, onions, garlic, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, carrots and even watermelon.
“The first year I planted watermelon out here, I had one that was so big I had to have somebody help me get it into a wheelbarrow,” Dlhopolsky said with a laugh.