By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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With the planting season upon Sequim, the gardens are accepting applications for spots on a first-come, first-served basis in the city's two gardens: the June Robinson Memorial Park at Spruce Street and Sunnyside Avenue, and the Fir Street Garden behind St. Luke's Episcopal Church, managed by Community Organic Gardens of Sequim, or COGS.
“We're not just a garden; we're a community that gardens together,” said Liz Harper, manager of the COGS garden.
This year marks the sixth growing season for COGS's Fir Street garden and the fourth for the city's plots at June Robinson Park.
“But we're really one big garden,” Harper said.
Food bank veggies
Both gardens have plots dedicated to growing produce for the Sequim Food Bank.
Volunteers are needed to do the basic work of tending to the food bank crops, pulling out invading weeds and picking crops to take over to the food bank at 144 W. Alder St.
“It's a lot of basic maintaining, like weeding and watering,” Ann Holgerson with the city said.
Last year, the city's plots grew lettuce, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach and 60 ears of corn that went to the food bank.
“That corn went over big,” Holgerson said.
Members of the Fir Street garden rotate time tending to the communal plots, like the area they grow for the food bank.
“You can grow a lot in that [10-foot-by-10-foot] plot,” Harper said.
A wide-ranging group
The COGS garden blossomed from a handful of gardening enthusiasts looking for an open spot into a popular rest stop and lunch spot, thanks to innumerable donations from the public, Harper said.
“We've just been overwhelmed with support from all over the community,” she said.
The group leases the garden spot from St. Luke's for $1 a year.
A wide range of gardeners is drawn to the city's gardens, with gardeners from 7 to 87 years old tending plots.
North Olympic Hot Wheelers, a group of people in wheelchairs, power chairs and scooters, has its own spot in the Fir Street plots.
“When we started the garden, we wanted to open it up to all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Harper said.
The gardens also get help with weed-pulling and maintenance from those sentenced by the court to community service.
The Clallam County sheriff's chain gang helps lay new rock for walkways each year.
The Fir Street Garden is looking for a gas-run yard-waste shredder to help mulch its waste into compost.
Individual plots cost $45 for the year. Plot fees include water, seeds and composting. Organic compost and fertilizer are available.
Also included in the fee is a series of gardening classes from guru Pam Larsen. Those who do not have plots can still take Larsen's classes for a fee.
The classes begin Saturday.
To reserve a spot, phone Harper at 360-683-7698.
To help tend to the city's plots, contact Sequim Volunteer Program Coordinator Linda Cherry at 360-582-2447 or LCherry@sequimwa.gov.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.