‘Come Grow With Us’ pumpkins ready to roll

Church campaign faced many firsts this summer

 

By BETH ALTENA

 

Fred Adgate, member of North Kent Presbyterian Church, 6175 Kuttshill Drive in Rockford, said he and his church congregation learned a lot this summer. The church began a new “Come Grow With Us” campaign and turned the property surrounding the church into a giant garden where they hoped to grow giant pumpkins in a U-pick pumpkin patch.

Record-heat and drought didn’t help the pumpkins although volunteers of the church watered diligently. Turns out the grass from the former lawn was also pretty persistent. Regardless, there are hundreds of prime pumpkins ripe—literally—for the picking. Proceeds go in part to charities and a local Boy Scout chapter.

Adgate said the pumpkins are in the 10 and 15 pound range on the larger sizes, and sales will take place Saturdays and Sundays while supplies last. The Come Grow With Us campaign is in its first year and Adgate said he believes each season will see better and better results.

Despite this odd summer’s challenges, the campaign had its desired effect as members of the church watched their new garden grow and neighbors enjoyed the show as well. Earlier this spring the ample green lawn of the church was plowed under and a variety of garden seeds were put in the soil. This Saturday, October 13 the church will have a booth at the Rockford Farm Market from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the public is invited to stop by and hear about the project and buy pumpkins.

“We are really excited about the farmer’s market and having a presence for our church there,” said Adgate, who many may know through his job at Independent Bank. He said weekend sales will go to the Boy Scouts who will staff the U-Pick garden from 3:30 until dark on Sundays. Saturday’s sales at the church will be from 11 a.m. to dark on October 13, 20 and 27.

It has been a fun undertaking, Adgate said, and there was plenty of feedback from neighbors, church members and visitors to the patch. “They were thrilled to see the plants growing,” Adgate described. “It was a big deal for us to get that buzz going in the community.”

Improvements for next year will include, hopefully, better weather. Adgate said a drip watering system will also be installed. Adgate said he was a little surprised at how persistent the grass of the former lawn of NKPC was and believes each year the soil will become richer and more suitable for gardening. “This year we were testing the soil, pardon the pun,” he joked. Another possible improvement—Governor Snyder was invited to this year’s garden, but was unable to show. Maybe next year he’ll make the trip.

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