Deb Babcock: Participate in a community garden

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Deb Babcock

Deb Babcock's gardening column appears Thursdays in Steamboat Today.

Find more gardening columns here.

If you go

What: Vegetable Gardening Basics

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 20

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center

Cost: $25

Call: 879-0825 to reserve

Want to grow vegetables but don’t have the appropriate land, space or resources?

You’re in luck because an opportunity to use a plot of land within Steamboat Springs city limits to grow vegetables and learn about growing food locally is about to present itself to residents.

Many counties, cities and towns throughout the world offer community gardens to their residents. It’s a way to bring about a sense of community and a connection to the environment while neighbors get together and nurture plots of land to grow produce for personal use or for sharing with others. It also makes wonderful use of land that often has become neglected and unsightly.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Leadership Steamboat 2010 group is working with local master gardeners, through the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office, to design a Community ROOTS Garden for local residents on a plot of land along Oak Street, between Sixth and Seventh streets. Routt County owns the property and has made it available to the leadership group to develop individual garden plots that residents can reserve for the growing season. In addition, there will be a public gathering spot along Butcherknife Creek, and master gardeners will reserve one of the garden plots to provide educational seminars for the public.

Leadership Steamboat 2010 has applied for a grant with Livewell Colorado, a nonprofit group dedicated to providing Coloradans with opportunities to obtain healthy food and physical activity where they live, work, attend school and recreate. Any funds the group procures must be matched with local donations and/or volunteer hours in the gardens.

While some community gardens are managed as a collective, where all the neighbors work together on a single garden, the leadership group has chosen to divide its community garden into individual plots that local residents can reserve and manage themselves, or with friends and family, to produce vegetables for personal consumption.

There is a small fee to reserve a garden for the season. Those chosen for a small personal garden plot must agree to follow a short set of rules that includes respecting neighboring plots, maintaining their garden to a reasonable standard and volunteering hours to help maintain common areas. To reserve a garden, contact the Cooperative Extension Office at 970-879-0825 or visit http://rcextension.colostate.edu/Hort/communityroots.html for an application and other details. Those interested also can send an e-mail to shope@co.routt.co.us.

For those interested in learning more about gardening, the local master gardener group is pleased to present an encore of its popular seminar, Vegetable Gardening Basics. This seminar is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The cost is $25 and space is limited. Reserve a spot by calling the Extension Office at 970-879-0825.

Deb Babcock is a Colorado master gardener through the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office. For more information about community gardens or for answers to your gardening questions, call 879-0825.

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