Community garden looking for gardeners

Elsie Burgess is looking forward to returning to her farm roots by gardening this spring.

A senior citizen living on limited income, 73-year-old Burgess can't grow much more than tomatoes outside her Long Street condominium. But if plans to put a community garden east of the Carson City Senior Center proceed, she'll be planting onions, carrots, beans and lettuce by the beginning of June.

"I think it would help save money during the summer because groceries are getting so expensive," she said. "It gives older people something to do, and they can get out and work in the yard if they have no yard to work in."

Tentative plans show a potential of 20, 4- by 14-foot garden plots available for local green thumbs by June if all goes according to plan, said JoAnne Skelly, Carson City/Storey County extension educator for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The project is a joint effort of the cooperative extension, the Carson City Senior Center and the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Bruce Scott, chairman of the Senior Center Governing Board, said the area is under power lines on the far east side of the 5-acre senior center parcel, and doesn't fit into expansion plans.

"It just sort of lent itself to a trial," Scott said of the property. "Hopefully, seniors, as well as everyone else in the community, will take use of this."

Skelly said community gardens are a common concept worldwide, especially in places where people live in apartments. She said growing food allows people, especially the elderly, a way to be independent and get good, nutritional food while being outdoors doing something healthy.

"Growing things is good for people's soul," Skelly said.

The Senior Center Governing and Advisory Boards approved the project, and the city's parks commissioners will be asked to support the project today.

"We've been kicking around the idea for a couple of years," said Scott Fahrenbruch, parks superintendent. "This is another recreation opportunity for people who haven't found their niche for recreation in Carson City."

The 10,000-square-foot site could probably host around 30 gardeners in its first year, Skelly said. A small fee, maybe $5 to $10, would be charged for utility cost, and gardeners will likely have to supply their own tools and seeds, she added.

Startup costs include an extension of water to the site, Skelly's time and time for parks officials to prepare the site. Fertilizer has been donated, and Skelly said she hopes to be able to get the rest of the estimated $500 start-up costs donated as well.

All she needs now is a few more interested gardeners. For information, call Skelly at 887-2252.


For more information about the Community Garden, call JoAnne Skelly, Carson City/Storey County Extension Educator for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, at 887-2252.


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