By GAIL PARSONS
In its second year, Abilene’s Community Garden is flourishing with fresh vegetables. Lush green leaves cover ripe melon, eggplant, zucchini, squash and a whole lot more.
Dickinson County Extension Agent Chelsi Myer said all 16 plots on the 140-foot by 100-foot garden have been taken by area gardeners, including one that she is trying to tend.
“The one plot that is struggling the most, is mine,” she said.
But it may be hard to identify it because overall the plots are doing really well and flourishing under ideal weather conditions, add a bit of TLC that comes from the gardener and fellow gardeners and the plants grow strong.
Robin Black, and Scott and Donna Reynolds, whose plots are producing an abundance of fresh vegetables, said gardeners tend to help each other out. When someone goes on vacation they can rest assured knowing that someone will tend to their watering. And beginning gardeners will always have someone they can turn to for a little advice.
With her experience, Myer said she has thought about starting some form of mentoring program.
“As someone who grew up not gardening, I am learning from scratch,” she said explaining that she started her plot partly because of her job. “I do a lot of nutrition and cooking. I wanted to back up and learn from experience.”
Her own yard, however, is not conducive to gardening, which is a common reason for gardeners to rent the $25 plots. Other gardeners, like the Reynolds, have a healthy garden at home, but love gardening and donate most of what comes out of their Community Garden plot.
“We just love to be outside, and try different varieties (of vegetable plants),” Donna said. “It’s a real healthy lifestyle.”
This is her and Scott’s first year to participate in the Community Garden, they learned about it from Robin who was on the ground level last year when it started, and has seen a great improvement over the success of the crops.
“Last year we didn’t’ have as many gardeners with productive plots,” she said. “The great thing is to see the difference between last year and this year.”
The land itself, which is next to the Skate Park at Eisenhower Park, has rich soil.
“This part of Abilene used to be truck farmers, they grew berries, fruit, vegetable – it’s good land,” Robin said.
Some plants will grow better than others. “Greens don’t tend to sprout as readily as the weeds,” Scott said. His secret to a successful garden is “consistency and a little luck.”