News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 14, 2010

Community gardeners break ground

TERRE HAUTE — Temperatures drizzled about the 40s Saturday afternoon as dozens of volunteers readied their garden plots for cool weather vegetables.

Terre Haute’s Community Garden opened up the grounds at 219 N. 11th St. Saturday afternoon for a “cool season” open house, the first of its kind since the project first launched.

“This is our third year and we’ve gotten stronger each year,” said Stephanie Krull, groundskeeper at Indiana State University  and one of the afternoon’s organizers. The land, donated by ISU, has attracted numerous repeat gardeners and it was at their request that an additional crop be added to the traditional summer run.

Patti Weaver, a master gardener and co-organizer of Saturday’s open house, said cool season crops include beats, lettuce, cabbage and radishes.

“At home, I already have my onions and radishes planted,” she said, hands dirty from digging about the plots.

The Community Garden provides plots in which residents or organizations can grow vegetables and plants. The plots are free, but participants are expected to maintain their plants and donate a portion to the Catholic Charities Food Bank.

“We have 80 plots so far,” Weaver said. “There are already 53 people signed up,” she said about 2:30 p.m., adding, “Not everyone will show today because it’s yucky and rainy.”

The garden’s spring planting will kick off April 24 for warm weather crops, and both organizers expect a strong turnout.

“We think we’re in there now,” Krull said of the repeat participants. “We’re here to stay. Of course we want to encourage people to come out because we have more land.”

Sister Dorothy Rasche of the Sisters of Providence was busy planting onion bulbs, lettuce, cauliflower and collards that afternoon. “Oh, since I was a child,” she said of her gardening tenure. “I grew up in Jasper. What else was there to do?”

In addition to donating her produce to charity and friends, Rasche said she freezes a lot of vegetables. She’ll also be planting a summer crop as well. “All the good stuff,” she said, rattling off her planned plantings of tomatoes, beans, squash, zucchini and cucumbers.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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