Meeker residents grow their own vegetables

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If you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, and you like tending to flowers and vegetables, you might want to become part of the Meeker Community Garden.

Plots are being reserved now.

The garden is co-sponsored by the Rio Blanco County Cooperative Extension Office and the Eastern Rio Blanco County Metropolitan Recreation and Park District. Johnnie Barton from the Recreation District said the garden is divided into plots. This year, the program is inviting senior citizens to participate.

"In the past, it was just for kids who wanted to learn how to grow a garden," Barton said. "This year, we decided to invite seniors around town who might want to garden but don't have the space or are unable to till up a plot in their own yard."

This is the sixth year for the community garden. It is on the south side of the recreation department's garage.

"It really was not the best spot, so we built raised beds, which are working out for us pretty well," he said.

Barton said the project was started with a grant from the Fairfield Trust. The city and the county donated the land. The extension office and the Rec District run the project.

Participants plant and weed their plots. Barton takes care of the watering and fertilizing.

"Some crops, like corn, need to pollinate, so in the corn field everyone gets a row," he said.

He said five people have signed up for plots so far.

"It is a little early for plants like tomatoes because of frost. Now peas and spinach are fine," he said.

The gardeners keep their produce and are encouraged to enter it in the fair.

"We've had as many as 26 kids with 85 entries in the fair," Barton said.

Barton said the garden also is used as a teaching tool for preschoolers in the fall when 50 or so pumpkins are placed with the corn stalks as decor.

"It is a great experience for them and all of us," Barton said, "Hopefully, they know how to grow food when they are adults."

If you need more information, call Jennifer Anderson at the Cooperative Extension Office at 878-4093 or Johnnie Barton at the Rec District at 878-5761.

Do you have some Meeker news? To reach Lois Wymore, call 970-824-7031.

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