The Pacific Community Garden Group (PCGG) successfully completed its second year of learning how to grow safe, nontoxic produce despite hungry critters, death-defying Bermuda grass and one of the hottest summers on record, according to Susan Cunningham, organizer.

More than 20 gardeners planted nearly 40 raised beds in the spring for their own families and 10 beds for distribution to community agencies, Cunningham said.

“It was a great year for zucchini and tomatoes, many of which were donated to Agape Help House and The Tri-County Community Senior Center,” she said.

Major improvements in the garden included covering the walkways with protective layers including tree trimmings donated by Ameren’s tree trimming contractors.

“Thanks to garden member Beth Koebel, native flowers have been planted around the sign at the front of the garden,” Cunningham said.

Girl Scout Troop 3438 of Catawissa planted and harvested four garden plots and donated all of the produce from its efforts to community agencies. The Scouts and their leaders, Joe and Mici Steger, have been some of the most active members as far as leadership and getting the larger projects finished, Cunningham said.

“They are now planning a Scout project for Arnold’s Garden, the corner, treed lot next to the garden plots,” she said.

“Garden members owe thanks to the city of Pacific Public Works Department for mowing Arnold’s Garden which the neighborhood children enjoyed as a play yard all summer,” she added.

At a year-end meeting Nov. 27, members voted to assess an annual fee of $15 per individual or family plot in order to fund next year’s capital improvements to the garden.

Because of confusion over which of the garden plots were for private use of the families working them and which beds the group worked together for donating to community agencies, members decided a fence would be needed next year. A committee will bring ideas and cost estimates to a future meeting.

Anyone interested in gardening with PCGG next spring may contact Lloyd Klinedinst, 314-609-5571, or, for an application.

Applications also will be available at the library in Pacific in the spring.

“This has been a great way to learn from each other and share ideas about healthy gardening techniques,” Cunningham said. “We can use all the help we can get and hope to see some new faces in the spring.