Community Garden Program Takes Root with New Soil and Classes in Daybreak!
Having a "green thumb," or being a skilled gardener is an admired trait. However, until recently, Daybreak residents were apprehensive to dig in and give growing their own plants and vegetables a shot.
Five years ago, LiveDAYBREAK officials noticed that only 50% of the garden plots in the community were being used. To understand why residents weren't taking advantage of the plots, Daybreak conducted a survey which unearthed four reasons.
While many were concerned about the risk of vandalism to their gardens, as well as the cost of getting a garden started, the two biggest factors were poor soil conditions and inexperience with gardening.
Luckily, LiveDAYBREAK has sown the seeds to correct both of those issues and is reaping the harvest of increased garden plot usage.
The community is coming together just as hoped when the garden plots were first introduced to the Daybreak.
"One of the guiding principles of building a community like Daybreak was to create spaces where residents could gather, get to know one another, and become connected," said LiveDAYBREAK Master Gardener Jenny Koller. "The community gardens are unique because it allows the resident to not only have a personal gardening experience but also allows them to connect with their neighbors."
Getting the improved gardening program going took a two-fold approach.
First, the soil had to be upgraded. After learning of the resident's concerns with the hard, rocky soil that originally made up the plots, LiveDAYBREAK arranged for 20-plus bags of plantable soil to be delivered to the community. This last year, that number was bumped up to 25 bags – or 50,000 pounds - of rich, plant-friendly soil!
Thanks to the new soil, the plants have taken root in a safe haven and have started to grow and flourish.
Bringing in new earth was just one part of the solution; the other was providing residents with the know-how to bring home a healthy and delicious harvest.
To better educate Daybreak residents on best gardening practices, LiveDAYBREAK hired Master Gardener Jenny Koller. A graduate of Utah State University with a degree in Residential Landscape Design and a minor in horticulture, Jenny has been instrumental in taking Daybreak's garden plots to the next level.
In just a few years, Koller has taught hundreds of classes and educated thousands of residents in courses such as Lawn Maintenance, Potting, and even a Garden Plot series.
Residents love the experience Koller brings to the community and Jenny enjoys lending her expertise and seeing the excitement it builds in the community.
"I don't think we will ever understand the overall impact of the gardening program," Koller mused. "I've heard it repeatedly, a resident will come to my class, and make some changes in their home landscape, and another neighbor will notice and want the same results - the learning keeps going and going."
Now, many of the residents who were unsure of how to get started in the gardens, are proud and excited about their newfound passion thanks to both the new soil and the new classes.
“Attending the garden classes has been so helpful so I can have a refresher on what I should be doing. Jenny has so many helpful tips from watering efficiency, creating the ideal soil for plants to thrive, to ideas on what to plant in our area,” gushed Daybreak resident Ashley Hatch. “Last year was my first time using the garden plots and it was so nice to be able to prep them with the soil Daybreak brought in. It saved us time and money. Of course, I used the extra money to buy more plants!”
And thanks to the increase in green thumbs in Daybreak, officials don't wonder or worry about the empty garden plots; there aren't many of them. After selling 313 of 345 garden plots in 2022, more than 90% of the plots are now being used.
And the feeling of community keeps growing and growing.
"I love helping others find success in their own gardens," Koller explained. "It doesn't matter the size of the class, if there is one person who connects with the information and is inspired to go home and try something new, then the night has been a success. I've loved meeting countless residents and then running into them and hearing about their projects and successes."
Daybreak Parade of Gardens
LiveDAYBREAK is excited to announce the 2nd annual Daybreak Parade of Gardens as part of the Daybreak Garden Program. This event will be on July 30th, and we are actively looking for individuals looking to showcase their yards.
Additional Gardening Resources
- LiveDAYBREAK Gardening Page
- Community Garden Plots (HOA Page)
- Barefoot Garden Resources
- Garden Pot Series Class Handout
- USU Vegetable Planting Guide
- Lawn Maintenance & Watering Guide
READ MORE LIVEDAYBREAK STORIES HERE