For more than 20-years, the Clarke County Community Gardens has been a collaborative gardening project and a great resource focused on giving Clarke County residents gardening space of their own. With the Spring planting season in full swing, new members are encouraged to reach out to Master Gardeners, Deb Jaeger or Sue Wilder, Director of the Clarke County Community Gardens, for information on joining the group.

The Clarke County Community Gardens is located on a full acre of land owned by Clarke County Farm Bureau. The acre has been sub-divided into plots based on each member’s planting needs. In their first year they had a division of eight- 10’x20’ plots. By the spring of 2023, there were 28 plots available. While some members focus on flowers others utilize the space for full vegetable and fruit gardens for their families.

“This could be a hard year for serious gardeners, “said Jaeger. “With drought conditions and water conservation, gardening for my family will be challenging.”

When the water conservation ordinance from Osceola Water Works was announced in October of 2023, Deb and the Clarke County Community Garden members began discussion about how to sustain their program during a water shortage. While the group has fostered conservation and recycling efforts for a number of years, the scarcity of water in Osceola made even opening the planting season questionable. With a focus on reclaiming water from rain and the utilization of rain barrels and other options, the group is ready to open the annual season and look forward to sharing their space and their knowledge with a larger member community.

“We love a good gardening challenge,” said Wilder. “Drought-resistant plants are fun to work with – tomatoes, kale, peppers – they’re all very popular and flourish even in the driest of environments.”

One major benefit of joining the Clarke County Community Gardens program is the sharing of gardening expertise with each other. With Master Gardeners like Sue Wilder and others, crop and plot strategies can be worked out even in the face of drought. Over the next few weeks, plots will be assigned and open to members planting or transferring seeds from starters.

“We enjoy working together and sharing our knowledge of gardening,” said Jaeger. “We’ve seen some families really spread the love of gardening on from one generation to the next through this program.”

The organization is always looking for new members to join the group. If you have a love of gardening and would be interested, please contact the Clarke County Extension Office (641) 342-3316 for an application.

For more information you can also contact Clarke County Master Gardener’s Sue Wilder at 641-414-1878 or Deb Jaeger at (641) 344-3156.

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