Library digs community garden program

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, October 31, 2018
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Work in the Dirt

WORK IN THE DIRT – Participants in the Decatur Public Library’s community garden program – from left, Tabatha and mom Francis Prindle, the Rudea family and Jessica Williams – work in the garden Saturday morning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Libraries have long been known for planting the seeds of knowledge.

Now, the Decatur Public Library is planting actual seeds in its community garden.

DPL Youth Services Manager Dawn Wilbert said she got the idea for the project after attending a conference and seeing the success of another library that had started a community garden.

Working with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Wilbert began monthly classes in June with seven participating families.

“We talk about the soil, composting, how to plant, and we look at the list of plants we might want,” Wilbert said. “We talk about a good place to plant. And then each week I made a recipe with vegetables and fruit so they could sample things maybe they weren’t used to eating and how it could be used in a recipe.”

Local businesses such as Lowe’s donated some of the supplies like dirt and seeds.

The participants built wooden raised beds and then planted the garden behind the library in late August. They were also given small tubs filled with dirt and compost along with seeds to help them start their own gardens at home.

The participants take turns coming out and tending to the community garden.

Thanks to their hard work, and a welcome rainy fall, the garden is now in full bloom.

“We just want to let families know it’s not that hard to have fresh fruits and vegetables at home,” Wilbert said.

The fall garden includes cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, radishes, carrots, beets, rosemary, basil, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard and tomatoes.

About 7 pounds of produce have been harvested.

Wilbert is already looking forward to the next class starting in January, and possibly expanding the garden even more.

While the program is targeted to low income families, anyone is welcome to participate, Wilbert said.

If interested in participating in the next community garden class, call the library at 940-393-0290.

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