JOHN DAY – Warm spring weather on April 23 made it the perfect opening day for the John Day Community Garden.

About 30 people showed up for a work party to prepare for the growing season at the garden, located off the Third Street Extension just east of the fairgrounds.

Some family members and friends worked together on garden areas, digging in and pulling out weeds which, happily, came out easily. Others worked on plots solo or helped with the community plot where potatoes were planted.

Hannah Ancel, chair of the community garden committee, said she was happy with the turn out and for the nice weather.

“We’re very excited to have about twice as many sign-ups for garden plots this year,” she said, adding, “We hope to have a fruitful season so that we can donate a significant amount of produce to the food pantries in the community.”

Ancel is a participant in the RARE (Resource Assistance for Rural Environments) AmeriCorps program, working out of the Grant County Economic Development office in John Day.

Other committee members include Shelley Banks (secretary), Amy Bult (treasurer), Sue Miller, John Laliberte, Nancy Nickel and Sherri Hunt.

Ancel shared rules and guidelines with the gardeners including watering only their own garden plot, turning off the water when they leave, not using pesticides, keeping weeds down and keeping pets out of the garden which is open from sunrise to sunset.

Be sure to keep the gates closed, she added. “We don’t want to feed the deer.”

She noted that the purpose of the garden is to give people a place to grow their own food, learn more about gardening and connect with others in the community. She also hopes the gardeners will share their bounty with their neighbors.

“Learn a lot, and have fun!” Ancel said.

Rental fees are $5 for a 5x5 garden plot, $20 for a 5x20 and free for those who would like to volunteer in the community plot. Scholarships are available.

For more information, call Bult at 503-871-4083.


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