Dig in: Reserve your community garden plot now to grow fresh produce for yourself, neighbors in need

BUCKHANNON – Calling all green thumbs or wannabe green thumbs: The Buckhannon Community Gardens have plots available for veteran and new gardeners alike.

The head of the gardens Shirley Tinney said each gardener gets to plant whatever they like in two beds, but one crop always goes to the Upshur Parish House.

“It’s really important to give back to your community because a lot of people in our community are in need, and we get the experience of teaching younger kids how to garden and to take care of themselves when they grow up, because their life might be a little bit harder when they’re a little older,” Tinney said. “We want to teach our children how to take care of things, and to give back to their community.”

Buck Edwards – a Create Buckhannon member, community volunteer and experienced gardener – helped build the garden and said it brings the community together, while also fulfilling the function of giving people a place to grow fresh food.  

“We let people sign up to plant a raised bed and then part of the deal was, we didn’t charge them anything, but they had the plant a second bed, and everything that was in that second bed was donated to the Parish House,” Edwards said. “You had one bed for yourself and one bed for the Parish House, so we killed two birds with one stone, to help support the Parish House and people got to have fresh produce for themselves.”

Tinney said if a gardener is interested in joining the community garden, they may contact her directly on Facebook or message the Buckhannon Community Garden Facebook page.

“I think it’s a good experience for everybody,” Tinney said. “It’s a good outlet for anxiety and stress, and that’s another reason that I started doing it. It’s just good to get outside and get your hands in the dirt and know you’re doing something for other people, not just for yourself.”

Edwards said a lot of the participants at the garden are inexperienced, but they can always ask the veteran gardeners questions and get tips.

“Most of them are inexperienced, and a few who are experienced just didn’t have the space at home to do a garden,” Edwards said. “We’ve also designed the beds where we have some double beds down there that are taller, so folks don’t have to bend over quite as much and the older you get, the harder that gets.”

He said Create Buckhannon built the garden, but they had several partners that helped along the way.

“A lot of people have participated, and a lot of people have gone there and learned how to garden and then built their own garden at their homes,” Edwards said. “We’re looking to continually improve on it. Lowe’s has been a great partner with us; they’ve donated material to build the beds, the city has provided the soil for the beds, Southern States has provided plants for gardeners and some individuals have donated tools.”

To find the Buckhannon Community Gardens, head down Sedgewick Street toward West Virginia Wesleyan College, turn right onto Latham Street, and halfway down that block is an alley by an old one-room schoolhouse on your left; turn there. The gardens are near the old Central School.

For more information about how to get your hands dirty and your crops sprouting, contact Tinney at 304-940-3672 or email her at sjtinney66@icloud.com. Keep up to date on gardening tips and more by liking and following Buckhannon Community Gardens on Facebook.

A little inexperienced in the realm of gardening? Check back to My Buckhannon in the next week or so for a follow-up on story on tips and tricks for first-time produce growers.

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