Friday, April 18, 2014

Building a Community Garden

For the past two years I have been facilitating a community health initiative with one of our goals opening a community garden this Spring. So for the past several months I have been immersed in developing a community garden plan, writing grant applications, identifying what amenities we want at the garden and marketing.  The past few weeks have been extremely hectic trying to get it off the ground (no pun intended). In fact, it has taken so much time that I have been diverted from a lot of my blogging work!  So my apologies to all the hosted parties that I have missed. I'm ready to get back on track with my blogging duties!

With $3,600 in grant funds from our the Polk County Health Department and United Way, we were able to move forward with our community garden.
Our garden is 111 ft. x 100 ft. and it has 42 plots with two sizes of plots 6x6 and 6x15. Twelve plots are considered "community giving" plots for FFA learning projects as well as a children's learn and plant section and a section where anyone in the and plant section and community grow a row for giving to our local food bank and senior meal site.  The rest of the plots are rental plots which will help us sustain the garden into the future. The first Monday of each month will be our "work party" where gardeners and the general public can join us as we keep the garden beautified, have food tastings, recipe sharing and fun activities for kids. The garden is located in one of our local parks in an undeveloped section of the park.

Today was especially gratifying as the four city staff, sixteen FFA students and four garden committee members prepared our community garden.  It seemed overwhelming when we started at 8:00 AM today but by 2:00 pm the garden was built. It was such an awesome process that I had to share it on the blog

Plotting out our strategies for the day

FFA students and their advisor building a 3-bin compost site

City Staff & Students plotted out the garden

20 cubic yards of compost spread on top of the plots and then tilled in

After tilling the soil was raked and smoothed

Soil Samples were taken from different areas of the garden for testing

Compost Bins finished

Garden plots completed, number and ready to open April 21st
Next steps

  • A 6 foot chain link fence will be built by a fencing company labor free
  • Signage for the garden
  • Picnic Bench
  • 10 foot tool shed to be built by a local Eagles Club
  • Outdoor kiosk installed to publish upcoming events and classes
Authored by +Terri Henkels 

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