by Robert Greene Sands –
Lucas Wood stopped by the Gardens one day last month and said he wanted to help our efforts at Rose Haven Center of Healing and do his Eagle Scout project on a need of ours. We suggested building our raised garden beds and his interest was piqued. Explaining that we wanted to explore different designs and then build prototypes to assess efficiency, irrigation, and ease of access to those with special needs, Lucas found the potential project even more inviting.
Over a couple of meetings with Lucas at Rose Haven, our concepts for three different kinds of raised beds grew into designs. The beds would be 3 feet by 8 feet and 30 inches off the ground and would straddle the gravel drainage channel that tracks around the walkway of the Seed (our designation for the produce garden area, as from drone altitude and even ground level it is shaped like a seed – very appropriate for its use). The shape and height would easily allow garden access to wheelchairs. One bed would offer a foot depth over the whole bed, a second bed would be based on a V-shaped design and a third bed would be an empty shell to put a series of rubber “tubs” in. The first two would also contain an aerated PVC pipe that runs the length of the box on a thin layer of rock and connected to a single vertical PVC pipe in the middle of the bed. This horizontal pipe would end on either side outside of the box and allow excess water to drain out. This would allow the roots to be watered without eroding the top soil.
Lucas translated our design needs into a proposal to present to his Scout leadership for approval. Besides building the beds, Lucas would also have to put on a fundraiser to “raise” the cost of the wood and other items associated with each design, which is over $1300. Just this week, Lucas presented the proposal and it was accepted! We are obviously thrilled with getting our raised beds constructed and funded. But over the weeks that Lucas interacted with us as we hammered out the design and then worked through the resources needed, our goal of raised beds grew into a shared mission where all of us could begin to see benefit to the gardens beyond wood, screws and PVC pipe. Lucas would also construct the beds on site in our “building site” by the old red barn.
Lucas is now planning a spaghetti dinner to help raise funds for the materials, and even before the last noodle is slurped, his quest to purchase what is needed will begin. We are anticipating hosting Lucas while he builds the beds and look forward to the celebration when the beds are completed, honoring Lucas’s desire to make a meaningful difference in his community. But I have to tell you, quite frankly, the journey so far with Lucas has been worth the weight of finished boxes. Building community doesn’t begin or end with a raised bed; it is seeded and fertilized by shared goals and effort and lasts far beyond when the last nail is hammered in.
Lucas is indeed raising our beds.