Florence community gathers to prepare garden

Basil, okra, and tomatoes to share patch

Staff writer

Weeds of old were removed last week by residents who were preparing areas and setting up cattle panels to plant tomatoes, okra, basil, and corn at the Florence Community Garden.

Basil, okra, and tomatoes will be planted in the same patch because they complement each other and keep bugs away, Phoebe Janzen said. She and garden co-founder Janice Waner were fixing up the tomato garden in a new way to avoid it turning into a jungle like last year.

“We’re hoping the cattle panels make things easier and allow us to walk between the rows,” Janzen said.

They plan on growing the plants between panels making the plants more organized and tomatoes easier to pick.

Heather Diemer and her son Brighten were helping put up the panels. Diemer is a regular at the garden, doing anything from cleaning out beds to watering plants and planting onions.

She said she enjoys helping in the garden because it gets her and her kids out of the house.

“Even on days where it is 100 degrees out it is fun to come out here for an hour or so just to get out,” Diemer said. “We all have fun.”

The garden also promotes community involvement.

“I’ve met some people and made new friends,” she said. “It’s a great way to get the community involved.”

It also teaches her kids where their food comes from.

“So many don’t know where their food comes from, and it’s important to know,” she said.

Because of Diemer’s work with the garden she gets produce for free and in the future hopes to learn to can some of the produce she picks.

“That way I can have it all winter,” she said.

Diemer is one of seven or eight volunteers that help regularly with the garden, Janzen said. So far, there have been only a handful of community work days at the garden, but she expects that will pick up very soon.

Janzen said anyone is welcome to help with the garden. Several volunteers are from the surrounding areas.

“We have a lot of planting to do,” Janzen said.

Some 50 tomato plants bought from the Peabody-Burns High School greenhouse will be planted once the danger of frost passes, along with basil and okra.

Potatoes, onions, and spinach have already been planted, and strawberry patches are thriving.

A grant was received that will allow a privacy fence to be built around the garden shed and garden supplies to keep them out of sight.

 

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