Community garden kicking off season

If the rain holds off, local residents have the chance to do a little planting this weekend with the kickoff for Seymour’s community garden.

A special event to mark the beginning of gardening season will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The garden is located in a fenced-in area to the south of Margaret R. Brown Elementary School at 550 Miller Lane.

During that time, Seymour High School FFA will have vegetable plants, seeds and flowers available for people to purchase and plant, and students will be available to help people get their gardens started.

A rainout date is scheduled for May 6.

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“If it is just cloudy with light rain, we will do it, but if it is storming or heavy rain, we will not be able to work in the garden and will have to postpone,” said Jeanna Eppley, Seymour High School agriculture teacher and FFA adviser.

This marks the fourth year for the community garden, which is a joint venture between Seymour FFA and the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce.

The garden serves as an opportunity for people to plant, grow and harvest produce and flowers for themselves, share with family and friends, sell at the local farmers market or donate to local food pantries.

The idea is to provide the opportunity for gardening to people who might not have the room to grow a garden, especially those who live in apartments, Eppley said.

FFA students also use the garden as an outdoor classroom to learn more about creating and maintaining a garden and as a fundraiser by selling what they grow. They have been successful at planting and harvesting a variety of produce, including kale, half a dozen varieties of tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and corn.

Individual garden plots will be available for residents to rent during the event. Costs are $10 for a small 10-foot-by-20-foot space and $20 for a 20-foot-by-20-foot plot. All plots already have been marked off by volunteers from Cummins Inc. Seymour Engine Plant, and Seymour FFA landscaping students have mulched paths around the plots for people to walk.

There are a total of 60 plots in the garden, and last year was the first time all plots were used.

There are plenty of plots still available, said Monica Boyer, a member of the chamber’s environmental committee.

“I think it’s becoming more popular as more people find out about it,” Boyer said.

The first official day of planting was April 15 for those people who reserved a plot early. Gardeners can access their plots from dawn until dusk through Oct. 29.

Gardeners are expected to maintain their plots by watering and weeding. Seymour Community School Corp. has provided water to the garden.

The use of herbicides, insecticides and black plastic mulch is prohibited. Pets are not allowed in the garden. Plots must be cleaned out by the renter at the end of the season. Other rules will be explained upon registration.

Boyer said besides providing healthy food options for residents, the community garden brings people together.

“It makes the community look good that we have this available and that there is involvement and interaction from citizens,” she said.

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What: Seymour community garden kickoff

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, with a rainout date of May 6

Where: The garden is located in a fenced-in area to the south of Margaret R. Brown Elementary School at 550 Miller Lane