FORT CAMPBELL, KY, UNITED STATES
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Gardening can have multiple benefits from helping the gardener become more self-sufficient to providing others a way to relax. Fort Campbell Fire and Emergency Services firefighters from Fire Station 1 have started a vegetable garden and are seeing those benefits firsthand.
Kirby Davis, civilian firefighter, has been called the “catalyst” behind the garden by his fellow firefighters, though the garden is a group effort.
“Everyone pitches in to help,” Davis said. “If there’s something that needs to be done, like weeding or picking a vegetable whoever notices it will do it.”
The garden started last spring as a way to make the fire station feel more like home, he said. It is important for the firefighters to feel comfortable at the station because they work 48-hour shifts.
“My shift is very family-oriented,” Davis said. “We try to have supper every night, and everyone knows each other’s families, so we’re like one big family.”
The garden has played a big role when it comes to the firefighters’ meals. Not only has this helped them eat healthier, but it also has helped them save money on food, he said.
Gardening is not unfamiliar territory for Davis, who has his own garden at home, but some of the other firefighters are new to garden work.
Daniel McCullough, civilian firefighter, is a beginner gardener, but has taken on the responsibility for maintaining the Fire Station 1 garden.
“In the morning once we’re done checking the equipment, putting our gear on the trucks and getting ready for the day, we’ll come out and check on the garden,” McCullough said. “The work is never too extensive.”
In the past year, the garden has produced abundantly, he said. The group plans to continue trying to grow new things in the garden and with the harvest.
“This year we planted two rows of corn and it would be cool to make some Elote [Mexican Street Corn] and some grilled corn,” McCullough said. “We also plan on making pickles this year.”
He intends to take his newfound gardening skills home to share with his Family.
“My wife and I just bought a new house and next year we plan on setting up a garden in the backyard,” McCullough said.
Nick Belair, civilian firefighter, also has taken gardening tips home to plant his own vegetables.
“I have a little garden back home that Kirby helped me make,” Belair said. “My son and I do a little gardening at home thanks to him.”
Belair, who also is new to gardening, said he is excited to expand the Fire Station 1 garden.
“We are looking forward to planting different vegetables,” he said. “There were some vegetables we weren’t able to grow due to bad weather earlier in the year, so we’ll plant them next year.”
During the next gardening season, the firefighters will use soil they made from compost.
“Kirby has some compost containers that his wife brought, and a lot of the food waste that would normally go into the trash goes into the containers,” Belair said.
The garden at Fire Station 1 has helped the firefighters become more self-sufficient while minimizing waste. Not all of the firefighters have a green thumb, but that isn’t necessary for starting a garden, Davis said.
“You have to give gardening a try,” he said. “The only way to learn is to put something into the dirt.”