Planting the seed for gardeningCity hopes to grow on garden program in coming years
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
When the city of Rosemount decided to offer garden plots this spring, staff didn't know what to expect. They didn't know whether people would be interested or if the weather would cooperate.
Turns out people were interested and the weather eventually would give them a break. In fact, 14 families have garden plots on the city-owned land east of Akron Avenue.
"I think it's a real good use for the property," said parks supervisor Tom Schuster.
The land where the plots are located will eventually be home to an athletic complex. Residents voted down a referendum in 2008 to pay for the complex and city has prioritized other athletic field projects for which they have found partnerships in the last few years.
Currently the city leases most of the 57 acres, which was donated to the city by Flint Hills Resources, to an area farmer who grows corn. Schuster said parks staff had been instructed to identify a place to put some garden plots. After looking at the city's property it decided the Akron Avenue land would be the preferred spot for some garden plots.
Schuster said the farmer who leases the land tilled the plots and then city staff marked off 24 plots. In May the city started advertising the 20 x 30 plots. Originally 46 people expressed interest but only 14 actually took plots. The cost is $35.
The wet spring weather put off tilling so gardeners weren't able to get into their plots until late May. But out where Akron Avenue turns to dirt, the evidence of family gardens is starting take root.
Gardeners have planted beans, tomatoes, peppers and other produce. The gardeners are free to plant any annual crop they deem fit. Schuster said they ask that vine prone plants be planted towards the middle so they aren't creeping into their neighbor's plots. He added that they ask gardeners to refrain from using pesticides.
"We just ask everyone to be good neighbors," said Schuster.
Gardeners have to bring their own water and tools for their plots. While it can be arduous Schuster said the city doesn't have a good way to supply water at this time.
Although some weeds have popped up in the set up, Schuster said he's glad the city is offering the plots and hopes they can build on it next year.
"This is our first year and we hope it turns out to be a real successful program," said Schuster.
Going forward Schuster said the parks department will advertise the plots earlier to draw more interest. Additionally, Schuster said the plots will be tilled in the fall so they will be more workable in the spring.
There are still several plots available for residents. For more information call the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Department at 651-322-6000.