Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 4, 2014

Manager shares love of gardening

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — With the growing season in full swing for all but a few stragglers, there is no doubt gardening is still a big deal. Whether one enjoys working in the dirt or biting into home grown produce.

When it comes to motivation for Valley Farmers Market manager Sheila Dews, it’s an activity that was necessary to be able to eat healthy when she was growing up. It’s also out of compassion for those who may be struggling to do the same.

“When I was a child, if you didn’t grow, you didn’t eat,” said Dews. “You can’t just take things for granted.”

Despite the difficulties that might arise from having a garden, Dews prides herself as being able to grow pretty much anything. She also loves to bring plants that look ill back to good health.

 “If it’s living, breathing, I can fix it,” said Dews.

With the non-rainy spells during the summer, Dews stresses to water even when the ground gets a little dry and check the soil daily. She pointed how it comes down to paying special attention to the overall health. It is the same from the small plot to a full sized farm.

 “Somebody worked real hard to grow that,” said Dews. “This is where all the things you eat come from.”

Dews also passed on knowledge of plant care to her daughters when they were growing up by letting them each care for something. She is also eager to pass on advice to others who stop by to buy things from tomato to pepper plants.

 “I love plants, I love working outdoors,” said Dews. “I love to watch living things grow.”

Gardening is also another way Dews feels she can give back to the community. She encouraged her employers at the Garvin County Community Living Center to help her put in a raised bed next to the market.

 She had the idea after local residents came by seeking garden fresh produce without having to overbuy.

“My thought process for that raised bed is for the elderly,” said Dews. “I have ladies who come in who don’t want a whole lot.”

 Dews noted that many of these visitors do not want to purchase by the pound. They would ask if they could buy something like one tomato or a few of another vegetable. With this bed now in place, they can come buy and get what they need right off the plant.

 “Some of these ladies can’t eat a whole pound of something without it going to waste,” said Dews.

“There’s fresh lettuce, there’s one or two squash if they need that. I thought if I could grow some things they could go and pick it fresh off the vine.”

 The market is located along South Walnut Street and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.