The Macon County Community Garden began its second year last Saturday, and there is still room for a couple of gardeners to join.
The garden, located at the end of Siler Farm Road past the Macon County Library and the Macon campus of Southwestern Community College, still has two, 20 feet by 25 feet plots available, said Macon County Cooperative Extension director Alan Durden.
The garden started last year with 16 plots. The cooperative extension has increased that number to 24 plots for this season.
“We saw the need for more spots,” Durden said. “We are trying to make improvements each year.”
Participants pay $25 per year to offset costs. Crops grown in the community garden must either be donated or eaten by persons growing them; gardeners aren’t allowed to sell their produce at the farmers market. As part of the community aspect, gardeners are asked to consider donating 10 percent of their goods to Macon County CareNet. Durden said the garden fosters the community spirit, too.
“It’s a good thing to do,” Durden said. “Some people actually donate all of their goods. They are very happy to donate. People really like to feel they are helping others,” he said.
Durden said the community garden is a great way for new gardeners to get started.
It’s beneficial for new gardeners for several reasons: the ground is already prepared, the ground’s pH level is already adjusted, and there are folks there who do have experience and who are willing to help, he said.
Of course, experienced gardeners are welcome, too.
The garden is an option for people who live in an apartment, people whose yards aren’t good for gardening, or for those who don’t have the equipment necessary to till the ground, Durden said. And gardeners can visit their plots anytime they wish to tend to their plants.
“The garden lets them choose and make their own schedule,” he said.
The community garden “lets people garden without a lot of investment,” he added.
The cooperative extension tills the land before each season, and gardeners must provide their own seed, fertilizer and tools.
Durden said he is available to assist gardeners, and garden coordinator Claudette Dillard is often on site to help out.
Gardening is a big undertaking according to Durden.
“Planting is just the beginning,” he said. “Following through is important.”
Nearly anything can be grown in the community garden plots. Durden said it is too late to plant cool season crops, but that main season crops like tomatoes, beans, and squash, are good crops to grow.
For more information on joining the community garden, contact the extension office at (828)349-2046.