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City Desk

Community Gardens

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by Diane Larson

 

In cities and urban areas all over there has been an increasing shift toward community gardening. To work and cultivate the earth so that you can grow your own vegetables, fruit or flowers can be rewarding in many ways.

Statistics from 2013 showed that “35% of all households in America, or 42 Million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden,” says The National Gardening Association (TNGA), a 17% increase from 2008 to 2013.

 

In that same time frame, the largest increase was among younger households, up 63% to 13 million, according to TNGA. “More young people, particularly millennials (ages 18-34), are the fastest growing population segment of food gardeners,” says TNGA.

 

Reasons for this change include easy access to fresh, nutritious food, the sense of achievement that comes from growing your own food, healthy outdoor exercise gained from gardening to name only a few.

 

Environmental reasons come into play as well, such as simply improving the local environment; many neighborhood and community plots are created on pieces of previously unused and uncared for land.

 

According to the American Community Gardening Association, a community garden is “urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot, or can be many individual plots.” These gardens bring the people from the community together as they work for a common goal. These gardens instill better neighbor interactions, community pride and help reclaim land.

 

In Butte, we have the Park Street Community Garden (PSCG), located on West Park Street next to the Hummingbird Café. According to their Facebook page, “PSCG is a place where adults and children alike can meet neighbors, beautify their neighborhood, and learn about the importance of growing produce locally.”

 

In the PSCG there are nineteen single plots that can be rented and two volunteer plots. The two volunteer plots are cared for by volunteers and the food cultivated from them goes directly to the Butte Food Bank.

 

The Butte-Silver Bow Public Library offers several ways to help with the gardening. One of those ways is the Seed Library.

 

How the Seed Library works is that each season, if you have an up-to-date library card, you can check out up to ten packets of seeds. The idea behind this is, at the end of the growing season, bring back seeds that you have harvested from what you grew that can be placed in the seed library. It is important that the seeds are from items that have a success rate in this area. The point of the seed library is to build up a collection of seeds from vegetables and flowers that grow well locally.

 

If you cannot bring saved or harvested seeds from what you grew, you can donate a purchased package of seeds. The requirements of purchased donated seeds are, they have to be non-GMO, open-pollinated, and non-hybrid.

 

Another help to the local gardener provided by the BSBPL is a Gardening Series of talks provided at no charge. Throughout the summer and into fall the library will hold several talks in their Gardening Series that will take place on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. On the 24th of May, Sadie Barrett will give a talk on Garden Design which is the process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting.

 

June’s talk will be MSU’s Extension Horticulturist Toby Day. Day will talk about Seed Saving, a must need topic if interested in the Seed Library.

 

Other topics include, Kellee Anderson, talks about proper Tree Trimming in July. Ruth Jones will discuss Bee Excellent Apiary in August. In September Sadie Barrett will be back with Seed Saving and how to store root vegetables.

 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,” Audrey Hepburn said.

 

If anyone is interested in taking care of the volunteer plots for the food bank you can contact Sarah Karbassi at Butte-Silver Bow Public Library at 406-723-3361 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, contact Sarah if interested in renting a plot to grow your own vegetables or flowers.


 

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