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Community garden project sprouting with opportunities

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By Sandy Barnes

The long-awaited community garden planned at Buchanan Park is now available to gardeners interested in acquiring a plot.

Those who would like to sign up for a space in the garden and find out what’s involved in the process can attend the kickoff meeting Feb. 28 at the Buchanan Recreation Center. “We’ll tell people about the garden. … We’re looking forward to helping people learn,” said Margaret Rode of the community garden committee of Evergreen’s Alliance for Sustainability. “This is going to be an organic garden.”

During the meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., gardeners will have the opportunity to sign up for a full or half plot at the one-third-acre site. 

“This is not just another hoopla,” said Rode. “We’ll actually be educating the public on how to acquire a plot … and doing the plot registration and selection.”

Rode said that with all the interest in the community garden, it was difficult to come up with an equitable plan for awarding the plots.

“We don’t know how many people will show up,” said Rode. “Our plan is to count heads and tell people about the garden.”

 “If we have more people than plots, we will have a lottery,” she added. 

Among other things, attendees will learn about the commitments they need to make. Gardeners will be required to give 10 hours a season to the community property, in addition to the time they will spend tending their individual plots. 

“There will be a lot of fun work for numbers of gardeners,” Rode said.

Also, those who register for a plot will need to bring payment to the meeting. A full plot has a  $150 fee, and a half plot $75. 

The community garden will have an irrigation system. However, gardeners will have to water their own plots, said Rode.

EAS+Y members have gotten a head start on enriching the soil for the community garden with a compost pile they have created with local materials, including grape waste from Creekside Cellars. 

Rode estimates that gardeners can begin planting the second week of May. EAS+Y members will be available to give advice on vegetables and other plants that grow well in Evergreen. Even with a shorter growing season, there are many things that can be grown successfully here, she said.

“We have people that grow ‘the holy grail’ — red tomatoes,” she said.

The idea for the community garden has grown from a concept presented to the Evergreen Park and Recreation District a few years ago to its approval and funding.

Working with the park district board, EAS+Y received a Greater Outdoors Colorado grant and $10,000 from the Colorado Home and Garden Show to begin the project.

In addition to the grant funds, the organization has received in-kind community support, said Rachel Emmer, EAS+Y’s interim executive director.

The garden is located in Buchanan Park. Raised and traditional beds for growing vegetables and other plants will be available for residents.

A key component of the project is removing two old sheds on the property and replacing them with new buildings. A tool shed will be built, along with a facility for gardening workshops.

The initial stage of the garden project also includes placing an 8-foot fence around the area to keep out elk. 

“We’re so excited because it’s been so much work,” said Rode.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.