BARKHAMSTED — Back in June 2019, the town opened its first-ever community garden located right behind the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, located at 93 River Road.
The garden, which was dedicated to the late Khea Cook when it first opened, originally had 12 beds for planting.
Two years later, it has doubled in size to 24 beds.
In early March, garden organizer David Lewis put out a call on Facebook looking for new gardeners for the open beds.
Within a few days, the open beds were all reserved.
“I wish we were bigger because as soon as we build a new bed, it gets filled up,” Lewis said in an interview with The Winsted Phoenix. “But I think it gets filled up quickly because gardening is a wonderful thing to be able to do with what’s going on in the world right now, especially if you don’t have space at your own house. This garden helps people to be able to socialize outside with each other and it’s a great outdoor activity.”
Lewis said that each bed is 10 feet by four feet, which is filled with soil and compost.
He said that the garden has received full support from the community, with support from the church, fire departments, the town, and the town’s Economic Development Commission.
Water is provided through the garden’s 2,500-gallon tank, which is filled up by local area fire departments.
“We keep it filled with water so gardeners can always have it if they need it,” Lewis said. “But the part that I love is that I do on-site visits with each gardener to give them gardening tips. I can identify plants, weeds, and insects, along with monitoring any other potential pest invasion. I also keep a weekly garden log for them to help them with any needs they have.”
Lewis said that gardeners are growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables in the garden.
“But we try to stay away from perennials, including asparagus,” he said. “Because that could mean that the next year the gardeners would continue to grow it. And in case they don’t come back, it could cause some sort of issues. But with permission, they can grow something like garlic which is big this season.”
Lewis said that thanks to the participation of the community, he predicts that the community garden will continue to grow even further in the next few years.
“I think so many people being involved with this garden is great,” he said. “Being that Barkhamsted is a small town, everybody wants to help.”