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OUR VIEW: Get digging! Community garden opens

Stephanie Stacy (center) of Garden's Gate Garden Center on Dayton Road in Ottawa with Mayor Bob Eschbach (left) and Commissioner Dan Aussem (right) in 2014 at the adjacent community garden where plots may be rented for the season. Stacy is the volunteer community garden coordinator.
Stephanie Stacy (center) of Garden's Gate Garden Center on Dayton Road in Ottawa with Mayor Bob Eschbach (left) and Commissioner Dan Aussem (right) in 2014 at the adjacent community garden where plots may be rented for the season. Stacy is the volunteer community garden coordinator.

THE ISSUE: Community garden plots ready to be rented

OUR VIEW: Project promotes beautification, camaraderie

Do you have green thumbs and a desire to help beautify Ottawa?

Is apartment life denying you the land to plant spring herbs or flowers?

Well, even if you have sub-par gardening skills but an interest in the hobby, Ottawa's community garden may be an opportunity for you to care for your own garden and learn from more experienced dirt diggers.

Organized by Ottawa is Blooming, the community garden launched several years ago and opened for the season April 1, and plots are now available at 621 E. Dayton Road.

"A community garden means many things to many people; a community garden to some may be a place to grow food and herbs, while others may choose to simply grow flowers, connect with nature, relieve stress or just enjoy being outdoors. Others may take part in the garden to be a part of the community and share their knowledge and love of gardening," according to the city's website at cityofottawa.org.

"The mission of the Ottawa Community Garden is to provide a space for community members to come together and garden while enhancing the environment and the quality of living Ottawa. As well as serve as a community-building and educational resource centered on dignity and respect for each other and the environment."

The process to obtain a plot is simple: Fill out an application and pay the rental fee. The application can be downloaded at the city's website. For Ottawa residents, the annual fee for a 10-by-10-foot plot is $20 and for a 10-by-20-foot plot $40. For nonresidents the fees are $25 and $50, respectively.

Grant and sponsored plots, as well as reduced fee/no-fee plots also are available. Go to cityofottawa.org for more information or contact the garden coordinators: Tami Huftel, city planner, 815-433-0161, ext. 240; Stephanie Stacy, ASHS-certified horticulturist, 815-530-9577; or email ottawacommunitygarden@yahoo.com.

The community garden is a great way to hone your gardening skills, meet new people and even learn and teach to fellow gardeners.

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