The Seymour High School FFA and the Seymour Chamber of Commerce plan to celebrate the beginning of the gardening season this Saturday.
The two organizations are partnering to offer a community garden at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School this year, and a kickoff event has been planned.
This is the second year for the project, which allows local residents or service groups to rent garden plots for the season to grow flowers or vegetables for themselves, to donate to local food pantries or to sell at the farmers market.
From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, people can find out more about the community garden, sign up for a garden plot, get started on planting with help from volunteers or receive gardening tips and advice from professionals.
The cost is $10 for a 10-foot-by-20-foot plot or $20 for a 20-by-20-foot one. Plots will be marked and ready for planting.
Barb Cummings, a member of the chamber’s environmental committee, said community gardens have been popular in other cities, including Bloomington and Columbus.
“We thought it was something we could bring to our citizens that would utilize nature and the environment and promote eating healthy, sustainable food,” she said.
The idea was to provide the opportunity for gardening to people who might not have the room to grow a garden at their home, she added.
“It’s really for anyone who wants a garden space that doesn’t have one already,” she said, “people in apartments, people who don’t want to use their own yards.”
She also said the garden is perfect for grandparents to teach their grandchildren about gardening, classes at local schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and youth groups.
“It’s a great way to see what fun gardening can be for you and your family,” Cummings said.
During Saturday’s event, Seymour FFA students will have plants for sale they have grown from seeds in the school’s greenhouse.
The garden also is being used to provide agriculture students a hands-on opportunity to learn how to plan and create a garden, plant and manage it, and harvest and sell produce, said FFA sponsor and agriculture teacher Jeanna Eppley.
There will be an opportunity for plant growers to swap plants during the event. Light refreshments will be available.
Richard Beckort, Purdue Extension educator and a Master Gardener, will be on site to answer gardening questions.
There are about 60 small plots in the garden. Only around one-third have been rented, Cummings said.
“I don’t think we’ll be filling them all this year, but if we do, we have space available at Freeman Field too, so this won’t be the end,” she said.
Gardeners must obey some rules to keep the garden available to the public.
Any plantings should be annuals so they don’t come back every year, and no pesticides or herbicides can be used because the garden is on school property, Cummings said.
The garden was officially set to open April 18, but wet and cool conditions have kept planters away, she added.
Plots can be reserved by calling the chamber office at 812-522-3681 or at the kickoff event Saturday at Brown Elementary School at 550 Miller Lane.
What: Seymour Community Garden kickoff event
Where: Margaret R. Brown Elementary School, 550 Miller Lane in Seymour
When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday with a rain date of May 9
Cost: $10 for a single plot or $20 for a double
For more information or to reserve a garden plot, call the chamber at 812-522-3681.
Gardening will be allowed until Oct. 24, and plots are accessible from dawn until dusk every day.