• 77°

Oxford Community Garden growing support, interest

By Allen Brewer

news@oxfordeagle.com

The Oxford Community Garden has much to offer its members such as tranquility, charity and buckets full of fresh blueberries.

Roughly seven years old, the community garden offers residents a place to grow vegetables and connect to nature. Using a plot system, the garden supplies four sizes of plots for its individual owners to plant the crops or flowers they want.

The garden was founded in 2009 behind the old National Guard Armory, now known as the O.U.T. Bus Depot. The garden’s purpose was to build an attractive setting for people to be active in the community and learn more about gardening.

“Everyone here is very helpful,” said first-year gardener Conway Dobney.

The garden is supplied with free utilities, such as running water for watering, compost for fertilizing and tools for digging and weeding. It also is maintained by members of the Oxford Parks Commission, who mow grass around the garden’s edges.

“Personally, I love to garden because I can grow food that may be hard to come by in Oxford,” said Tiffany Bensen, head of the Committee Garden. “It hasn’t been except for the last couple of summers that I could find sun-gold orange cherry tomatoes at our farmers’ markets. So I grow my own.”

The garden also provides fresh produce for Oxford’s food pantry. The four to six plots reserved for the community are gardened and harvested by volunteer gardeners, and has an estimated average of 15 pounds of produce per week in the summer and fall.

The garden is also a good place to come to relax. Working on their plots, members forget about their troubles as they hoe around their plants. Some of the additional perks to being a member are free blueberries from one of the gardeners. 

“One of the main purposes of the garden is to provide plots where Oxford-area citizens can grow their own food or flowers, if they don’t have a garden plot available at home,” Jason Hoeksema, volunteer garden president, said. “We all pitch in together to maintain the common spaces and keep the whole thing running smoothly.”

To get involved

To join the garden there is a $10 membership fee, plus a fee that corresponds to the plot size selected. A 4-by-8 plot is $20, a 10-by-16 plot is $30 and a 16-by-16 plot is $35; Children’s plots, a 3-by-3 space, are free. Fees are used to pay for new tools and maintain the fence that protects the garden from hungry deer. 

Interested residents can go online to oxfordcga.org to find printable membership forms and further information on how to join.

“The garden provides a community where gardeners can meet each other, make friends, share information about gardening and enjoy time outside together in the fresh air,” Hoeksema said.