VANDALIA – The city of Vandalia will again offer residents a chance to garden even if they don’t have a backyard.
The Vandalia Community Garden is located at Jeffers Park on Halcyon Drive near Interstate 75.
This year’s garden will feature 22 plots of 15 feet by 20 feet that are available to city residents on a first come, first served basis.
“Our Parks and Recreation Department is always looking for ways to better utilize park space and to respond to emerging community needs. We had heard suggestions we try this for a few years before we finally decided to give it a shot,” said Rich Hopkins, Vandalia communications manager
The first year, the garden offered eight plots, which were claimed quickly. More plots were added along with a water source in the second year.
The program is a low-cost offering for the city, Hopkins said.
“We did have some initial costs in bringing a water source to the park, but beyond that there is not much we need to do. We prepare the plots at the beginning of the year by tilling the dirt, and we check on it regularly through the course of the year, but that’s a part of our routine maintenance,” he said.
Most of the plots are reserved by individuals, although some list friends as “additional authorized gardeners,” said Micki Weber, a city parks and recreation assistant. Among those using a plot in the past was a Girl Scout troop, she said.
Most participants grow food, but some grow flowers.
The number of plots reserved declined slightly the past couple of years, Weber said. However, some of the returning gardeners will take a second plot when they are available, she said.
Registration packets are available at the Vandalia Recreation Center, 1111 Stonequarry Road. There is a $25 registration fee. The growing season is April 1 through Oct. 31.
“Ultimately, we believe the community gardens are a great option for folks who have more gardening ambition than they do garden space. The plots are fairly large and give people a creative and nurturing outlet for the spring and summer months,” Hopkins said.
There have been few problems at the gardens during the first six years, he said, noting “isolated incidents” of trampled plans or pilfered vegetables.
Anyone with questions about the Community Garden can contact Weber at (937) 415-2353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.