By Matt Wagenhauser
OSWEGO, NY — The Oswego Community now has two fully functioning community gardens.
In 2012, the idea to create a community garden in Oswego was introduced.
Since then, the garden was developed on East Schuyler Street, including 60 occupied private plots as well as eight community plots.
A private plot is assigned to anyone who signs up. The plot is exclusive to them and they can grow anything they want and can organize it any way they want.
Some gardeners organized their gardens using square-foot gardening, breaking their gardens up into square-foot boxes and planting specific plants in each box.
Others utilized vertical gardening to maximize their space.
A community plot is a larger plot in which the plants that are grown are open for anyone to pick.
The excess food that these plots produce is donated to the town food bank.
Each plot was constructed by volunteers using recycled lumber.
Once completed, the vacant plots were quickly filled and the gardeners got to work on setting up their plots exactly how they wanted them.
The garden is equipped with hoses that span the length of the property and a shed stocked with everything you would need to run a successful plot including gardening tools, soil, and extra hoses.
The success of the East Side Gardens is evident in the amount of occupied plots and in the production of each plot.
During the growing season, gardeners grew various vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, chili peppers, pumpkins, bell peppers and many more.
The East Side Gardens were successful enough to inspire two SUNY Oswego student to
spearhead a movement for a West Side Gardens to be made.
Thanks to a generous donation of land from NRG and its environmental safety manager, Jim Walsh, the West Side Community Gardens were born in 2014.
Located behind Raby’s Ace Home Center, the gardens now have 10 private plots and two community plots.
Like the East Side Garden, the West Side Garden has a hose and soil to maintain each plot with.
However, what the West Side Gardens offers over the East Side Gardens is the immense amount of land to set up numerous plots.
Tom Collett, a volunteer who surveyed the garden, believes there is enough room to build 30 more plots for next growing season, allowing for more gardeners to join in the experience.
Gardeners have grown tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers and many other vegetables.
The plots are very organized, with each having a specific layout for the crops.
With the addition of a shed and tools, more lumber for plots and more soil, the donated land can be used to its capacity and the West Side Gardens will flourish.
On October 29, the Community Gardens will host a Harvest Pot Luck Dinner at the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St.
For those who want to learn more about the gardens and how they can sign up for one, this dinner is the perfect way to do it.
Come and swap stories with last year’s gardeners and learn all you need to know about the gardens.
For more information on Oswego’s Community Gardens, please contact Andy Nelson at either (315) 402-8048 or 315) 343-9277.