Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Easthampton’s community garden offering plots, free seeds

Residents considering getting a plot in the city’s now 4-year-old community garden can learn about the garden and also go home with pockets full of free seeds at the garden committee’s meeting Monday.

Committee member Laura Fisher said she hopes the seed giveaway at the Municipal Building at 6 p.m. will attract potential gardeners so they can ask questions or get gardening advice from committee member Rick Tufts, soon to be a certified master gardener. Current plot-holders can also take home seeds, she said.

“Basically I wrote to several organic and non-GMO heirloom seed companies and told them about the garden, how it’s a newer facet in the community and we wanted something to encourage new people to get involved,” she said. “They sent us an overwhelming amount of seeds.” Four companies sent about 700 packets of organic and heirloom seeds.

The garden, officially named the Ted Sparko Memorial Community Garden after Fisher’s late grandfather, is located on Park Hill Road and made up of 40 20-by-20-foot plots. Fisher and a small group of volunteers spearheaded the creation of the garden on the city-owned conservation land in 2010.

“It’s been four years of learning about both how to motivate and involve a community and how to tackle gardening issues that are unique to this location,” she said.

New this year will be a demonstration plot where Tufts will provide examples of sustainable organic gardening practices and offer workshops.

Applications for the 10 to 15 available plots are available at the city clerk’s office at 50 Payson Ave. or by emailing Fisher at easthamptongarden@gmail.com. Applications with the $20 plot fee are due by April 25 and a lottery will be held at a garden kick-off party on April 27. Any leftover plots will be available to gardeners who want to sow a second plot.

— REBECCA EVERETT

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