These water pipes with faucets are located at the City of Liberal’s Community Garden at the corner of Clay and Pine Street in south Liberal. The plots are available in 30-feet by 30-feet sections and can be rented for $15 for the season. L&T photo/Jessica Crawford
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
Every spring for nearly three decades, locals have come to the corner of Clay and Pine Street to tend to rented 30-feet by 30-feet plots of tilled land provided by the City of Liberal. The Community Garden is available for anyone who enjoys planting their own crops, but may not have adequate space to do so.
Ronna Stump of the Parks and Recreation Department said the process of renting a plot of land for gardening is very easy. It is so easy, in fact, that water is provided, she said.
“You just come up to the Recreation Center – you have to come up,” she said. “We have a map and you can see which square you want your plot at. It is a 30 by 30 and it is $15. We also furnish the water. You just have to bring your garden hoses and all of the stuff to work your plot.”
However, water, Stump said, is all that is provided – it is completely up to the renters to tend to their plots themselves.
Every year, Stump said, the participation is very high. As a matter of fact, she said, she has always been able to rent out each plot.
“I always have had them filled,” she said. “I send out letters and tell people they can come get their plot that they had last year, up to a certain date – which this year was March 14. After that, it is open to everyone. I have nine plots left right now.”
Occassionally, she said, someone will fail to tend to their plot. If that happens, she only asks the renter to let the Parks and Recreation Department know so the plot can be rented to someone else.
“Sometimes you might get someone that will just let it go, but they are supposed to let us know if they can’t take care of it,” she said. “That way, we can go ahead and rent it to someone else, instead of just letting it go.”
Planting begins for renters on April 1, Stump said. This gives city staff plenty of time to prepare the ground for gardening.
“They can’t start planting until April 1,” she said. “Our guys go out and till it up for us. April 1 is usually when we can get the water turned on.”
In the fall, the land is tilled up again after gardeners have completed their projects. Again, she said, city staff prepares the land for the winter months.
“In October we close it down,” she said. “We ask renters to please try to clean up their area. The city comes in and mows it all down and tills it up again for the winter.”
Stump said the Community Garden has been a great option for people throughout the city for several different reasons.
“If you don’t have a yard, if you live in an apartment or if you have a group that may want to do a garden, it is a good opportunity,” she said. “Or it just may be an individual who doesn’t want to tear their yard up. It is just a good idea in some cases.”
There are 37 plots available each year, Stump said, and every year each plot is taken advantage of. Stump asks anyone interested in renting any of the nine remaining plots to call the Parks and Recreation Department at 626-0133.