No land for a garden? Rent a Bear Creek plot

STEPHANIE EARLS Updated: March 16, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: March 16, 2013

Just because your digs don’t have a patch of dirt in which to dig doesn’t mean you can’t indulge your green thumb — and your love of homegrown veggies.

Rent a full- or half-size plot at Bear Creek Garden, a nonprofit community organic vegetable garden inside Bear Creek Park at 21st and Rio Grande streets in Colorado Springs.

“People tend to assume we’re full, but we’re not,” said Bear Creek Garden board member Karen Stith. “We’re perfect for people who really want to garden at home but don’t have the space.”

Rental for the full-size (20-by-40-foot) plot is $120 and $75 for the half-size plot for the season, which runs April through mid-October. Rent includes spring tilling and water.

Bear Creek Garden is strictly organic, and no chemicals or sprays are allowed. The association brings in goats regularly to nosh on weeds and keep the area clear, said Char Nymann, president of the Bear Creek Garden Association.

The garden provides an excellent environment to grow a range of fresh produce, including tomatoes, lettuces, corn and peppers, Nymann said.

“I know that I have grown just about everything that I could ever use, can, freeze or store,” she said.

Renters benefit from the knowledge of fellow expert gardeners, many of whom have maintained plots at Bear Creek for years.

“The knowledge comes from experience,” said Nymann, who has gardened at Bear Creek for 35 years. “You can keep your same plot from year to year.”

In addition to tending their own plots, gardeners agree to do four hours of volunteer work, which might include general maintenance or caring for one of the eight plots devoted to growing produce for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and local charities such as Care and Share and Marion House Soup Kitchen.

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