It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to grow a garden.
Nebraska Extension in Madison County grew a community garden this year, donating 1,385 pounds of produce to the Norfolk Rescue Mission and the Norfolk Food Pantry.
Wayne Ohnesong, Nebraska Extension educator, and Michelle Kroupa, Extension associate, spearheaded the project. The Growing Together Nebraska grant provided funding.
Inclement weather postponed planting, but they were able to build raised beds during the spring. One of the beds is in the shape of an N for Nebraska. The raised beds grew beets, strawberries, peppers, pole beans and cherry tomatoes.
The remainder of the garden was planted in late spring after the sod was tilled. Master Gardener Kurt Schrant provided seeds, labor and expertise throughout the growing season. Mulch was donated by Fischer Tree Central Inc.
A bumper crop of cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, watermelon and sweet potatoes was harvested from July to October. The initial goal to donate 1,000 pounds of produce was successfully surpassed.
The garden also has potential for educational workshops, such as how to prune fruit trees. Eight trees, as well as raspberries and blackberries, rhubarb and asparagus, line the perimeter of the garden.
Plans for expansion next year are already underway. Additional container gardens will be added between the building and the existing garden plot.