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Interest growing for new community garden in Russell

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

RUSSELL -- Would-be gardeners can test their green thumbs in a new community garden.

The garden is a master gardener project organized through the Russell County Research and Extension office, said John Stannard, county Extension agent.

One of the area's master gardeners, Kent Lapham, had an interest in a community garden, and a landowner in northwest Russell agreed to let them plant it, he said.

However, volunteers don't have to be master gardeners. Anyone interested in gardening is welcome to participate.

The plot was plowed and tilled by a volunteer, and Cub Scouts planted onions and potatoes, Stannard said.

Other vegetables, along with tomatoes and peppers from the Kansas State University greenhouse, will be planted as the season progresses. Stannard said his office will send reports about the tomatoes and peppers to K-State.

Volunteers receive first share of the produce, and the remainder will go to the food pantry.

Stannard said he's hoping the community garden sparks interest in the master gardener project.

"We need more master gardeners. We need more community members plugged into the project."

The master gardener project is an educational group.

Other community projects include Outdoor Wildlife Learning, or OWLS, at Bickerdyke Elementary School, and master gardeners are going to operate a farmers market this summer.