UFM to open community garden

By Paul Harris

University For Man will open a new community garden site at Collins Lane in the Spring. The site will feature 10 acres, one of which will be immediately open to the public for planting flowers, fruits and vegetables. The vegetable plots are open to perennial fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and asparagus as well as seasonal items.

Two of those 10 acres will be dedicated to a well that will provide water to the site, according to Ron Downey, vice president of the Manhattan Community Garden. That well is likely to be in place by February, Downey said. Another two acres are expected to be used for a portable storage unit for equipment and a parking lot. A walking trail is also going to be added.

The acre available for vegetables and flowers will be divided into 72 plots, each 25 feet by 25 feet. The precise number has not been determined, but around 18 of those 72 plots, according to Downey, will be mandated for organic farming. Downey added that another acre, depending on funding and demand, could also open in the future.

The gardens will be open to any Riley County resident. Annual fees and a deposit will be based on income, not number of plots. There will be a lower fee and deposit for lower-income families. Gardeners will be restricted to two total plots.

Currently, workers are working to clear the land of trees and general coverage. Downey does not expect there to be any problems.

UFM also operates a garden at Rile Lane available to Manhattan residents and has more than 100 plots, but Downey said the garden is losing plots. Because of the loss, Downey expects gardeners to move from Riley Lane to Collins Lane.

Signup dates for new gardeners are: Jan. 21, 9 a.m.; Feb. 1 7 p.m.; and Feb. 11 9 a.m., all at UFM, 1221 Thurston.

If there are any plots left, people can sign up for those spots later in the spring.

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