The plots thin: Lottery to award sections in Evergreen community garden

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By Sandy Barnes

“We’re going to have a garden!” exclaimed community garden coordinator Rachel Emmer while speaking to gardening hopefuls on Feb. 28.


With more than 100 gardeners gathered at Buchanan Recreation Center and far fewer available plots, the task of selecting the recipients was a bit of a challenge.

However, Emmer and her associates at Evergreen’s Alliance for Sustainability came up with a creative solution: a lottery.

After explaining what is involved in accepting a garden plot, Emmer circulated a glass jar that quickly filled with orange slips. And the drawing began. 

“I really wish we had enough plots for everyone in the room,” Margaret Rode said while explaining the process.

As the first 20 winners emerged, they began filling out paperwork, which included signing a waiver and gardener pledge and paying a fee for the plots.

Other garden-plot recipients will be selected through a mail-in lottery that is in progress.

Gardeners who receive plots on the one-third-acre site at Buchanan Park agree to care for their gardens on a consistent basis, use only organic products, and to personally water their plots. They also commit to weeding, maintaining common areas and giving 10 hours of service to the project. 

If a gardener finds he cannot maintain his plot, it will be reassigned, the pledge states.

While talking about the effort that has gone into the community garden project, Emmer expressed her gratitude to the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, which allocated the space for it and helped with the grant funding.

Working through the park district, EAS+Y received a $43,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant. EAS+Y also received $10,000 from the Home and Garden Show and was given a 50 percent discount on water taps by the Evergreen Metropolitan District, Emmer said.

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. 

A key component of the project is removing two old sheds on the property and replacing them with new buildings. The 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 garden area to keep out elk. 

EAS+Y members will offer advice to gardeners about what crops to plant and organic pest control. Also, gardeners will meet occasionally to discuss their efforts and give each other support.

“It’s a lot different from a backyard garden,” said Emmer. “You’re not going to be critiquing each other’s tomatoes.”


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