Thumbs up for the communal garden's green thumbs
Row upon row of vegetables and herbs are beginning to bloom on two vacant lots in downtown Grand Forks. "We went from green grass to things sprouting in 10 days," said Caylan Larson, coordinator of the Amazing Grains Cooperative Garden. Larson sa...
Row upon row of vegetables and herbs are beginning to bloom on two vacant lots in downtown Grand Forks.
"We went from green grass to things sprouting in 10 days," said Caylan Larson, coordinator of the Amazing Grains Cooperative Garden.
Larson said an outbreak of seed corn maggots meant some crops had to be replanted, but there was little weed pressure under the 10,000 square feet of soil.
"The crops are about a week behind, but everything's went so well," Larson said. "It will be interesting to see how we manage frost damage to the squash and pumpkin crops."
Compost is being used to build soil fertility. The harvest will also include salad greens, spinach, arugula, radishes, beets, carrots, peas, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, melons, basil and edible flowers.
The goal is to raise the awareness of locally grown food. Larson said the garden at 405 South Fourth St. in Grand Forks has become a popular eye-catching attraction. City leaders who gave the cooperative approval for the garden in May are giving it thumbs up.
"People drive down the alley in the evening just to get a look," Larson said. "(City council president) Hal Gershman said it looked fantastic, and he's helping us look for other lots to rent."
There are six rented plots, and the communal garden has been tended by 40 volunteers in the last four weeks. Anyone can work the garden and trade volunteer hours for food, Larson said.
"We're going to have a booth this year at the Farmers Market, where we will issue vouchers for people to pick their own food," said Larson, who also plans to have a daily farmstand at Amazing Grains, where he was just promoted to produce manager.
"That way, if they miss the Farmers Market on the weekend, they can stop on their way to the lake and pick up fresh veggies," he said.
Amazing Grains will also offer harvest dinners for about $5 beginning in August.
"We'll send what we can't use to the Great Plains Food Bank," Larson said.
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .