In 2018 Plant a Row Community Garden contributed 3300 lbs of food to local food pantries.
Where can you find gardeners experimenting with different methods for planting and raising vegetables? Where can you find rutabagas and collards sharing a row, or sweet potatoes planted in between corn and okra rows? The answer to both questions is the Plant-a-Row (PAR) Vegetable Garden created and maintained by the Douglas County Master Gardeners. The current location, adjacent to the Health Center on Selman Avenue, has been in use fourteen years. Even when the 4-6 Master Gardeners are not in the garden, members of the community can learn from the garden. At the entry to the garden closest to the Health Center is a garden plot showing the location of vegetables within the garden and information on planting each of the vegetables. Each year, as new vegetables are planted, a plant marker is added giving information about the vegetable, as well as past year’s production. All vegetables from the garden are donated to five local charities. The garden contains vegetables year-round, and Master Gardeners work two mornings per week, on Tuesday and Friday. The cost of producing vegetables here is approximately $1,200 annually, and the funds for the garden are provided by the Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale. Eight beds on the left side are 51 feet long and 42” wide, with one additional bed at 40 feet and another at 30 feet. The right side of the garden contains eight beds 61 feet long and 42” wide. Along the back of the garden are eight beds 22 feet long and 42” wide. Dependent upon the crop, multiple rows are planted in each garden bed. For example, only two rows of okra are planted in a 42” space, but three rows of cabbage or potatoes are planted in the same space. The space between the beds is covered in hardwood mulch. Once the mulch has decomposed, the soil is added to the beds and the mulch is renewed. Production varies from year to year, with 2017 beds producing 4,600 lbs. of vegetables, but 2018 beds only produced 3,300 lbs. of vegetables. Weather and insects have a lot to do with garden production. The garden has a large shed and a large compost bin. In addition, there is also a bee hive in the corner of the garden and a few apple and pear trees outside the garden. Feel free to visit the garden and ask questions of garden managers, Paul Beggs and Marjorie Stansel!