Grand opening for Pasco’s first public community garden planned Saturday

Tri-City HeraldJune 22, 2014 

Pasco community garden

Pasco's first community garden is located in the Northeast corner of Kurtzman Park just south of Virgie Robinson Elementary School.

MATT GADE — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

People can get a look at Pasco’s first public community garden this week.

The city will have a grand opening for the garden at Kurtzman Park, 331 S. Wehe Ave., at 9 a.m. June 28.

Mayor Matt Watkins will speak about the family activity of gardening, said Rick Terway, Pasco’s administrative and community services director.

A local Boy Scout troop built the frames for the 30 raised beds for flowers and vegetables. The Pasco Lowe’s Home Improvement store donated lumber and a shed and helped put up a fence around the garden.

“It’s been a really great team effort,” Terway said.

The beds are maintained by 30 families, most of them living in the neighboring BNR Affordable Housing apartments. They are mentored by Master Gardeners, who help out with 24 of the 36 community gardens in Benton and Franklin counties.

The Master Gardeners provide the users with seeds or transplants left over from plant sales, said Bill Dixon, president for the Master Gardener Foundation for Benton and Franklin Counties. They also do workshops for the families when they plant in the spring and sometimes again in the mid-summer, when a second crop is being planted.

Construction on the project was completed in mid-May, and it was planted soon after.

The new garden in Pasco is off to a good start, but issues come up any time people are learning how to garden, Dixon said.

The garden at Kurtzman Park, which is free to users, is now full, Dixon said.

“The city is going to wait and see before building additional ones, but so far it looks pretty successful,” he said.

“When you plant in the spring in this area, it is a challenge,” he said. “Sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it’s hot.”

Each gardener is given a key to unlock the gate. Dixon said the fence is in place to keep animals and passersby from getting in. The garden has been valuable for residents of the apartments, said manager Adelita Alvarado, who oversees the garden. The apartment complex used to have its own garden, but had to give it up when the land it was planted on was sold.

“A lot of the families are very excited to have gardens out there,” she said. “They get something to do. They get to grow their own fruit. They show their children how to do things other than run around.”

Most of the community gardens in the area are small and private, associated with groups such as churches and schools. Richland has three public community gardens, while Kennewick has one.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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