Community garden boosted by 70-plus plant donations

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Possibly 100 recycled tires now serve as plant pots in Macksville's thriving community garden downtown.

Now in its third year of production, the Macksville Community Garden on Main Street is looking good, with an abundance of plants now in various stages of growth.

"I just finished getting more than 70 additional plants in last week, thanks to a very much appreciated donation from a Great Bend nursery," said garden committe member Shelly Evans. "I got a call from Northview Nursery and Landscape asking if we wanted any free plants from their leftovers. I may have accidently grabbed way too many jalapenos, but I got a lot of great stuff."

Along with jalapenos, Evans said there would be plenty of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and rhubarb in the community garden for the picking. The garden project, sponsored by Macksville Pride, also got a boost from the Macksville High School agriculture program this year.

"They got a new teacher this year and the whole group came out earlier in spring and planted beans and cucumbers," Evans said. "This is what the whole project is about, different groups in the community working together to produce some great food. We particularly want to promote youth involvement."

Macksville area youth were majorly involved in setting up the garden area in 2019, when a lot was donated by a town resident and youth classes from the school helped move in more than 100 tires to use as container gardens. Additional classes helped paint the tire containers and more townspeople have donated money for plants over the years.

"There is a group of us that monitors the garden's needs for water and weeding and we put out group messages for help," Evans said. "We get more and more people to join in as the season goes on."

When harvest time arrives, pick and go has been on an honor system for the community garden produce. That has worked well, but this year Evans said the Pride Committee wanted to try a few new ideas they had read about working well in other community gardens.

"We will post on certain days that we are picking produce and what we are picking, and then people can just drive up and collect what they want," she said. "Sometimes it may be intimidating to just stop in and pick yourself, so we want to make it easier, especially for our older residents."

Evans said a new donation box has been installed under the community garden entrance sign that will be a safe receptacle for garden produce donations.

"We really don't price anything," Evans said. "We have found that we actually receive more by way of donations because people are always so generous. They really appreciate the chance to get fresh, homegrown vegetables."

Evans said information about the community gardens and fresh produce available there will be posted regularly on the Macksville Pride Facebook page.