Community garden takes root in LuverneLUVERNE — An idea that grew out of a meeting with members of the Rock County Composters group has spurred a new kind of growth in Luverne — plots of tomato, chive, onion and an assortment of other vegetable plants.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — An idea that grew out of a meeting with members of the Rock County Composters group has spurred a new kind of growth in Luverne — plots of tomato, chive, onion and an assortment of other vegetable plants.
The community garden features 16, 10- by 10-foot plots, all of which were spoken for in short order prior to the start of this year’s growing season. Ted LaFrance, Luverne’s economic development director, said there’s already talk about expanding the plot next year to meet demand.
“There used to be (a community garden) a number of years ago and it petered out due to a lack of interest,” said LaFrance, who has been the LEDA director for less than a year. “Some community members wanted to bring it back to life.”
LaFrance, who is interested in more “community-based development” projects, agreed to coordinate the project for the composting group, and the garden was ready for planting during the first week of May.
Vicky Henderson and her husband Roger are among those who have a plot in the community garden. They are also the two who spearheaded the Rock County Composters group in August 2009 as a way to educate people about the benefits of composting.
“I just have a 3- by 3-foot space on the side of my house,” said Vicky of her garden plot.
When the opportunity arose to get a plot in the community garden, she jumped at the chance.
“I had been looking for another location,” she said. “I like gardening — not on a big scale. It’s an opportunity to rub elbows with other people who also have an interest in gardening.”
The community garden is located on the south side of Redbird Field, on the east edge of Luverne.
“It’s city-owned property and it’s not in a high traffic area,” said LaFrance. “It used to be farmland, and the soil is good down there.”
The city’s public works department installed the fencing and a hydrant is located nearby for gardeners to access. A per-plot rental fee covers water usage and the cost of fencing.
“Most of the materials we used were recycled except the fence,” said LaFrance. “It was inexpensive and a great example of community-based development.”
LaFrance said he has a diverse group of people renting the plots this year, from beginning gardeners to some certified master gardeners who are testing different types of organic-based mulch and weed control.
“We don’t have any restrictions on what can be planted in the garden,” he added. “The garden will be tilled up every year.”
As for the Hendersons, they have planted squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, tomatoes and radishes on their 10- by 10-foot plot.