'A lot of good, black dirt' awaits at community garden

April 5, 2014

Are your digs too small - or simply not ideal - for a garden?

Consider growing your vegetables away from home in the Charmaine Nymann Community Garden, a nonprofit organic community garden located at Bear Creek Regional Park at 21st and Rio Grande streets.

With a history dating to the early 20th century and food-growing efforts at what was then one of the area's last, functioning poor farms, the soil in the community garden is some of the more nutrient-rich on the Front Range, said John Poyzer, treasurer of Bear Creek Garden Association.

"Many people who lived there, the able-bodied ones farmed and gardened that area. In some years, the crops that were grown and harvested actually returned some money to the county," said Poyzer, whose group manages and runs the community garden. "Over the years, it was amended on a regular basis. That's one of the reasons why it's so good. It's got a lot of good, black dirt."

The open location of the 2-acre, fenced garden also affords a maximum of direct sunlight, he said.

"The factors that are needed to have successful crops are all here, and they're all here today," he said.

Full plots are 20 feet by 40 feet. and rent for $120 for the season. Half-plots are especially popular among first-time gardeners and rent for $75 for the season, which lasts from late April to mid-October.

First-timers also pay a $25 fee that's refundable if they leave a clean plot in the fall. Rent covers spring tilling and watering throughout the season.

In addition to caring for their own plots, seasonal gardeners agree to contribute four hours of work on one of eight volunteer plots devoted to growing produce for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and charities such as Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.

To rent a plot, call Bear Creek Garden Association at 634-4433 or 576-2664.

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