Garden City’s community garden at St. Paul's is in full swing as residents take care of their newly planted flowers and vegetables. This is the second year the board of commissioners of cultural and recreational affairs, along with trustee John Watras, has opened up the garden to residents.
“It is being used by all generations and families,” said Kevin Ocker, chairman of the board of commissioners of cultural and recreational affairs. “This year we have some real outstanding gardens, mostly vegetables and some flowers also.”
Ocker and Watras, along with Lori Kampe, who is in charge of communication between the recreation department and the gardeners, help coordinate the program. The original suggestion came from Watras, who started the first community garden last year.
According to Ocker, this year the garden has increased in size with the addition of five new plots.
Residents interested in becoming “farmers” in the garden can claim their spots in one of two ways. “Each spring we have a sign up time and then if we are not oversubscribed for the 25 plots we assign the plots,” Ocker told Patch. “If we are oversubscribed we hold a lottery.”
According to Ocker, the garden is prepared by rototilling and covering it with a black fiber mulch that gardeners can then plant through. “It keeps maintenance to a real minimum,” he said, adding that the garden is completely irrigated.
Residents tend to their gardens and many even make it a fun family outing, growing their own assortment of vegetables to enjoy all summer long.
Community gardener Dail Stampfel enjoys spending time with family at the garden. “I can't tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this community garden. All of the recreation department's efforts (preparing the soil, providing the weed blocker and water) have been really incredible. They have made it so easy. I have had so much fun with my kids planting and watering and now we are finally starting to enjoy some veggies. I will be up to my ears in tomatoes soon,” Stampfel said.
“Community gardens are a great opportunity for family fun and promote an awareness and education of planting that is handed down from one generation to another,” said Ocker. “Not to mention the nutritional value of the fruits of everyone’s labor!”
The garden is located opposite the senior center at 108 Rockaway Avenue.