There is just something wonderful about growing your own produce. From seed to harvest and all the fun in between, there is nothing quite like enjoying all the fruits, or veggies, of your labors.
If getting those fingers into the dirt is something you have wanted to do, but just do not have the space for a garden, then why not join in the fun of the Community Garden.
Cut Bank’s Community Garden is a large space located right behind Anna Jeffries Elementary School, where each gardener has his or her own plot, either a 10 foot by 20 foot space or you can go a little bigger and have a 20 foot by 20 foot space. The smaller space is $15 and the larger plot is $20.
To reserve your space, contact the Conservation District at 873-4292 or stop by to fill out the application. Plots are available starting May 12 through the end of October.
There are 30 plots in the garden space, with 25 of them being “really good plots, where the ground has been worked and is ready for planting,” said Rachel Kipp, Community Garden Manager. “The remaining five would be good plots too, but they just need a little more work.”
The price for the plots includes water, provided by the City of Cut Bank. There is an automatic sprinkling system that runs at 5:30 a.m. and there is also additional watering available, should you want to water other times as well. There are gardening tools available for everyone to use, all of which are located in the garden’s shed and there are seeds for gardeners to choose from to get them started. And if that is not enough, there are two rototillers for gardeners to work the soil a bit more to their liking.
“The price is incredible for all that a gardener will receive,” Kipp stated. “We lowered the price for the plots from last year, hoping to entice more gardeners to join in the fun of growing your own vegetables.”
Kipp added, “We really want to encourage families to get involved in the Community Garden. I think it is important for kids to know where some of the food they eat comes from and to literally, have a hand in getting it to the table. It is also fun for them to get their hands in the dirt.”
The Community Garden was started in 2011 and had a couple good years with lots of gardeners and lots of changes happening at the site. “But the last year was not so good, so we decided to lower the price of the plots this year and hope that will draw a few more people back to gardening,” Kipp said.
Last year was tough to keep as close of an eye on the space as Kipp would have liked. “We didn’t have as many gardeners to help watch over the space, like we normally do and we, as a family, have lots of things going on all summer. So this year, I was able to find just the right person to help with the management duties of the garden.”
Kim Stoltz will be the new lady overseeing the “day-to-day activities of the garden,” Kipp said. “She works at the Conservation District and has a lot of wonderful gardening knowledge, so she is the perfect fit to manage the Community Garden.”
Stoltz just recently started working at the Glacier County Conservation District as the Administrator there and is excited to take on another role in the community, this time with the Community Garden.
“Gardening provides a way to connect to the earth. There are so many lessons to learn as we cultivate and care for the soil and the plants we grow,” Stoltz said. “Some of the benefits of gardening include helping remove stress from our lives and improving our over all physical health. I could go on and on, but I encourage everyone to join us in planting a garden and if you have children, get them involved too. It really is fun.”
She added, “The Community Garden goes beyond just an opportunity to grow your own food, it is also a way to connect with a community.”
“Once the weather gets a bit better, we will get out to the site and plot all the spaces and do the first round of rototilling,” Kipp said. “Then starting May 12, gardeners who have signed up for a space, can start working the soil even more and get their spaces ready for planting.”
While it might be a little early to do much planting, Kipp said if the weather turns nice, it would be okay to get the soil ready and then perhaps plant some root veggies in the ground in another few weeks.
“We don’t have a date lined up yet, but we are hoping to hold a garden orientation night for gardeners to pick their plots, run the tillers and listen to a Master Gardener, Connie Olson, talk about the benefits of gardening with compost,” Kipp said. “We will run an ad in the newspaper with the date and information or you can contact Kim at the Conservation District office to get more information.”