Lake Highlands Community Garden Grows Green

Everything one Dallas gardening community does, from the crops it grows to the ways it keeps them coming back, is truly green.

In the middle of Lake Highlands lies a piece of land surrounded by concrete, but ripe for cultivation. On any given day, you can see a community gardener tending to a plot.

"It's hard to believe that a year ago, this site was nothing but an abandoned field, and it was nothing but grass and weeds," said A.L. Nickerson, one of the organizers of the Lake Highlands community garden.

"Boy, have you checked the price of fresh produce lately?" community gardener J.J. Pair said. "Yeah, (it's) good to grow your own."

The garden was built by residents of Lake Highlands for anyone who wants to get a little closer to greener living.

"I would guess that we probably use less water in our garden for the 35 plots than a normal household would use in an entire year," Nickerson said.

One of things that makes the garden so environmentally friendly is a large green container that collects rainwater from a roof constructed by some of the gardeners. When there's enough rainwater inside the containter, it supplies the crops in the garden with plenty of water for them to grow.

Even the compost used on each plot is green in its own way.

"We put all of our waste products of our tomato plants and corn plants and things we've grown -- we put those in compost bins, and we're recycling those," Nickerson said.

So far, the earth-friendly approach is working. Every plot in the Lake Highlands garden is succesfully yielding crops.

"I've never seen so many cantoloupe, watermelon, okra -- we had okra trees out here," Nickerson said.

The owners of the man-made gardens are now planning to give back.

"We have one of our gardeners named Nancy Wilson that is going to coordinate our donations to local food banks so we can help some less fortunate people out," Nickerson said.

The organizers of the garden say with the help of the city of Dallas, they will expand to more than 100 plots within the next couple of years.

The Lake Highlands garden is located at 7901 Goforth Road.

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