Red Deer community garden plots now available

Seeds might not go into the ground for another month, but Wednesday is a big day for anyone wanting to secure one of the city’s garden plots for 2013.

Candace Svederus and her husband Dave Svederus uncover potatoes they've grown on their plot in the community garden in Red Deer.

Candace Svederus and her husband Dave Svederus uncover potatoes they've grown on their plot in the community garden in Red Deer.

Seeds might not go into the ground for another month, but Wednesday is a big day for anyone wanting to secure one of the city’s garden plots for 2013.

Wednesday is the first day plots are available to the general public, and they are typically snapped up about as fast as dill weed can invade a garden, says Cheryl Adams of the city’s Parks Department.

“The majority of what I have remaining right now will go (today); that’s been my experience,” said Adams.

There are 61 large plots (120 square metre) and 35 medium plots (60 square metres) available on a first-come basis, said Adams. The majority of the 228 city-managed plots have already been spoken for by those who had the opportunity to renew their commitment from last year.

There are three gardening sites: Red Deer College Gardens (100 College Blvd.); Piper Creek Gardens (1709 40th Ave.); and Parkside Gardens (5320 67th St.). While the latter garden features 36 new medium-sized plots this year, this is the last year for the college site, as that land will be developed in the future.

The hope is to find a new location for 2014 to replace the college site, with the city committing $20,000 for a relocation.

Would-be gardeners can register for a city plot at the Alto Reste Cemetery, 3.6 km from 30th Avenue on Hwy 11 East. Fees are $39 for a large plot and $25 for a medium plot.

The anticipated planting date has been set back due to cold weather. Tentatively, the date is set for May 25, said Adams.

Gardening opportunities abound beyond the city-managed plots as well, with five community gardens located in Red Deer.

One such garden is the Growing Together Gardens located at Unity Baptist Church in Normandeau, where 22 of 33 raised plots are still available. The plots are four-by-10 feet and are free and open to anyone.

The church will host a dinner and gardening workshop on April 30 at 6 p.m. for anyone who has signed up for a plot. The event costs $6 per person; a video on square foot gardening will be shown.

To sign up for a plot and/or to RSVP for the event, call Christine at 403-597-8645.

Living Stones Church in the city’s southeast has most of its 12 beds still available for residents of Southbrook, Anders or Inglewood. The six-by-12-foot beds are free of charge and can be spoken for by calling 403-347-7311.

Sunnybrook United Church has nine garden plots available for free on its property. Those interested can call 403-347-6073 to inquire.

The Lancaster neighbourhood has a community garden with eight beds located at the corner of 30th Avenue and Lancaster Drive for residents of Vanier Woods, Lancaster, and Deer Park, although the plots there have been spoken for already.

Victory Church in Oriole Park also has gardening space, although there are no beds still available for use this year.

And in Springbrook, a community garden project is in its second year. The project has three parts: a youth program, a community plot where food is grown to later be donated to the Red Deer Food Bank, and plots open to individual gardeners.

When fully developed, the site will have 112 plots available, with plans for a picnic area and fruit trees as well. Large plots (10-by-20 feet) can be had for $25; 100-square-foot plots are available for $15.

The Springbrook garden is always looking for donations and volunteers to help with its community plot. To sign up for a plot or to help out, contact Adrian at 403-350-9533.

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