Community gardens have successful growing season
By Linda Langelo
CSU Horticulture Program Associate
For this season, area gardens received funding from Anschutz Family Foundation for general operating, supplies and programming including outreach categories.
In Holyoke, our community children participated in " Plant A Row For the Hungry." The children were at different stages of knowledge and experience in the garden, but they had the opportunity to learn. They also performed an act of kindness.
Other acts of kindness were accomplished. We grew zinnias as we do every year because they are an easy to grow flower and bring so much color and joy. Flowers were taken over to the hospital for in-patients. Flowers were also taken up to Regent Park to share with the seniors.
We gave food to our elderly at the senior lunch program. We were able to give away 197 pounds to families including our seniors. The amount of other produce raised by other participants is not measured. Considering the drought, this is amazing number to be able to contribute to the community.
We were also able to put a better watering system in place for the first time. Ted Simmons from Ballyneal, who is the irrigation specialist, volunteered his precious time to install this labor and water-saving system.
In Akron, Colorado Master Gardener Jessica Filla was able to continue the community garden participation with Washington County Connections. At a garlic planting event, we were able to have Baby Bear Hug families as volunteers.
In Burlington, Colorado Master Gardeners, Lisa Brewer and Mitzi Nebhut were able to expand the raised beds, also put irrigation in place and assist a Hispanic family. Thanks once again to the Master Gardeners in Kit Carson for their articles and the ongoing farmers market in Burlington. This has increased interest. We have also connected with Prairie Family Center for some potential families for next season.
In Sedgwick, thanks to Joe Stan and the land donated by Jim Knonty, we were able to donate 148 pounds of food to the food bank. Extension has assisted the volunteers by helping to diagnose disease and insect problems, supply cultural information and seed for next year and a donation of garlic and onions for the food bank and some local resale. The local resale will help provide future seed.
Through generous funding from the Rocky Mountain Farmers' Union, we were able to develop a T-shirt for sale. The proceeds will go back into the community gardens.
Your participation in these community gardens is important. Sharing resources or as I like to say, "food abundance" and teaching people a skill helps better another's life. One very important aspect to consider is the volunteer work that participants are doing. There are some families who come into the garden to grow because they want additional growing space or to share an experience as a family.
Gardening teaches us life lessons. One of the lessons is accountability. The families or individuals who join the garden grow on their own plot what they consider will cover their own needs. Sometimes someone will come into the garden who is not a participant and pick produce that they did not work hard to get. It is inconsiderate of others who come into the garden and decide to pick or harvest their produce without asking. All the community gardens are not set-up with a community space. Although the garden is called a community garden, that means from the volunteers who are the participants. Perhaps we should say, community garden group. The gardens are willing to share, however, please call the Extension office if you are in need.
We have had community members ask if they could have produce from time to time. Do not disrespect the hard work of others. If you wish to join, we welcome you. It takes a community effort to make this happen. Extension and all the volunteers have worked to provide free seed, water utility, raised beds and supplies. Community volunteers have made sure that the gardens are prepped and ready in spring and cleaned in the fall. Join the force and make a better community.
For more information visit www.ext.colostate.edu.