By Sam Jack
Residents with green thumbs might want to consider taking advantage of local community gardens this year. Both Cheney and Goddard offer gardens, and four-by-eight-foot plots rent out for only $10 a year.
The Cheney Community Garden, located at Cheney United Methodist Church, got started several years ago, when Garden Plain resident Sean Kelley applied for and received a grant to buy supplies.
The grant allowed Kelley to purchase 30 raised beds for the garden – but only six of those have been assembled so far.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of interest in it, to be honest with you,” Kelley said. “I’ve got materials to build another 24 plots if interest is shown. We’ve all been scratching our heads how, in a rural agricultural community like Cheney, we’re having so much trouble drawing interest.”
The Cheney Community Garden is fitted with water hoses, and a shed contains free-to-use tools. Kelley suggested people interested in the garden contact Cheney UMC; he has stepped away from running the garden in the years since he won the grant and got it started.
“It’s first come, first served. You can grow a lot of green beans in a four-by-eight garden box. Just go down to the church office and tell them you want it,” Kelley said.
The Senior Community Garden of Goddard, located near the intersection of 199th Street West and 23rd Street South, across from Goddard High School, is more active. Seniors aged 50 and older are currently using 13 out of 18 plots, leaving five for new gardeners to take on.
“We charge $10 a year, and at the end of the year, if they clean their beds out and clean everything up, why, we give them their $10 back,” said David Curtis, who started the garden alongside his wife Phyllis. “It’s basically free. The city ran water over to it, and they don’t charge us for it. Just bring your seeds and put out a couple tomato plants or pepper plants.”
One year, Curtis managed to grow 14 cantaloupes on a single vine, he said. It does not take too much effort to get a lot of produce.
Like the Cheney garden, the Senior Community Garden includes a shed for storage, and it is surrounded by a fence that keeps animals out.
Gardening together is a good way to become friends, according to Curtis.
“Maybe once or twice a year, we have a little get-together down there with everybody. We’ve got a fire pit, and we have a potluck picnic and just sit around chewing the fat,” he said.
Those interested in the Senior Community Garden of Goddard should call Curtis at 316-794-2726.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the April 19 print edition of The Times-Sentinel. To see stories like this sooner and to get all your community news, subscribe to The Times-Sentinel. Call 316-540-0500 today to start home delivery next week.