Most everyone agrees there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh, homegrown produce. But, what if the thought of a backyard garden is harrowing? A group in one community came up with a perfect solution – and the interest is growing as fast as the plants.
This spring marks the second growing season for the Farmington Community Garden. Melanie Montgomery is with the group and says the garden is made up of a “group of residents who have come together to build a garden.”
There are 42 raised beds on the corner of Perrine Road and Boyce Street in Farmington. Each bed measures four feet by eight feet.
“People can rent them for $12 a year, which is really cheap,” Montgomery said. Up to three plots can be rented at a time. Montgomery said all the gardeners renewed from last year, with 20 members.
The community garden allows an opportunity for Farmington residents to grown their own produce who may otherwise not have the available land or, in their own opinion, the “green thumb” needed for a successful garden.
Carol Gamble, a member of the Twenty Five Gardeners Club, was at the garden on Tuesday and said being a member of the community garden is a true community – with each person giving advice and helping out those who claim a thumb of the brown variety when it comes to gardening.
Helping along with the garden success is an in-ground timed irrigation system for each individual plot – constructed and installed by the garden members with the money for the system raised during a pig roast in 2016.
“It was just the ground here,” she said. “We rented a trencher from Best Rentall and trenched it and fit every little piece together … that was a great accomplishment for the group.”
The irrigation system is a huge selling point for participating in the garden, Montgomery said, since that eliminates the need for participants to bring water into the garden for their beds.
She also acknowledged donations made by local businesses for the garden, keeping in cooperation with the term “community garden” as a way for those businesses to give back to the community and be a part of the garden as well.
“Even if they don’t have a plot, [those businesses] feel like they’re giving back to the garden,” she said.
Tall Timber Tree Service donated the mulch used around the outside of the beds, Matt Herbst donated top soil, CWE provided fertilizer/compost, Bauman Water Softeners donated the garden shed as well as offering to install a carbon filter. Montgomery said Plummer’s Hardware has been a great supporter from the very beginning, among a list of others.
Garden clubs also participate, with the clubs renting plot space or donating money and supplies for the garden.
“That’s been really good for well-established groups in the area to express an interest,” Montgomery said. “It gives a boost of confidence that they are there to help.”
Montgomery said they recently planted four varieties of blueberry shrubs and three varieties of raspberries along the outside of the garden, with plans for perennial herb and native pollinator friendly gardens.
She expressed her appreciation to the city of Farmington – noting the high-visibility area of the garden leads to getting the word out about the Farmington Community Garden.
And, there are plans to offer informational events in the future for the community.
“In the beginning, whenever we were discussing putting this together, we were wanting to have different education opportunities,” she said, noting the work of groups such as the Audubon Society, Beekeepers Association, Master Gardeners and the work of the University of Missouri Extension offices. “There is so much going on and I think, especially getting involved with a lot of novice gardeners … I think it would be a good opportunity to reach out to these groups and let people know these things are going on in the area.”
Montgomery said there are still a handful of plots available. Those interested in renting a plot can find an application form at the list of rules on the city of Farmington website at farmington-mo.gov/recreation/farmington-parks/community-garden/. Anyone interested can also email the garden at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Facebook under Farmington Community Garden.
And, just like the plants, she expects the interest to grow as well.
“I look for it to be full by the end of the year,” she said. “And, if not by the end of the year, then next year.”