Originally Published: May 23, 2014 6:01 a.m.
Desire for the taste of fresh tomatoes prompted Christina and Jack Allen of Prescott Valley to try their hand at growing their own.
And, this wish for home-grown tomatoes sent them to the Prescott Valley Community Garden where they signed up for their own plots to see if they had green thumbs.
That was four years ago, and since then, the gardening novices have taken home corn, bell peppers, a variety of chili peppers, garlic, onions, okra, green beans, a variety of squash and, of course, tomatoes.
Others who participate in the garden grow such produce as cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, all kinds of herbs and even raspberries - the list would be almost endless for what does well in this area's climate.
The Prescott Valley Community Garden is located on land at the corner of Lake Valley and Florentine roads behind Albertsons.
Each plot measures 4 by 16 feet. Gardeners can rent two for $75 a season or one for $40. The planting season typically begins around Mother's Day in May, even though some start watering their plots before then. The season usually ends around November, depending on weather, and the fee includes paying for water. Of the fee, $25 is refunded at the end of the season. Basic gardening tools, such as shovels, are on hand at the garden, but many gardeners bring along their own.
Other than dining on home-grown produce, the Allens said another feature of the community garden is the amount of vegetables donated to area food banks.
In the past couple of years, the garden provided more than 10,000 pounds of produce to food banks, and other aspect of these products is that they are organic, since gardeners use no pesticides on their plants.
The Allens said they have learned all they know about growing their vegetables at the garden, which frequently presents experts to talk to its members about certain aspects of home gardening.
Beyond their vegetables and learning, the Allens also enjoy the camaraderie that builds with fellow gardeners.
"It's enjoyable to see the fruits of our labor and the fresh vegetables," Jack said.
"We also enjoy the sense of community and helping our community by donating food," Christina said. Jack added that the community garden gives all those involved the chance to meet new people, build new relationships and take part in a fun activity, besides providing an educational component.
"We didn't really know anything" about gardening, Jack said. "Everything we know about gardening we learned it there."
Plenty of plots are still available for people who want to join the garden group. For information, call Robin Fox at 899-2652.
Well-known advocate for the less fortunate in the Prescott-area communities, Ron Barnes, launched the idea of community gardens, primarily to help the Hungry Kids pprgram that packs meals for school children to take home for the weekends. So, Fox said, he approached the Fains about any possible property they might have available, and they offered the 2.5 acres of land for the Prescott Valley Community Garden. The agreement is that the garden would have to relocate, should the Fains have a party interested in buy the property.
Complete information about the garden is available by calling Fox, emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the garden's wwebsite at www.pvcommunitygarden.org.