The Community Gardens, which is next to Family First in Montague has space available for anyone interested in planting.
The garden property is donated by Jimmy O’Halloran and has been a mainstay in Montague for nearly a decade.
For the past three years, the gardens were run by a committee. However that group dissolved last fall and Mr O’Halloran took on the project himself when the Kingswood Centre requested a plot for its clients.
Mr O’Halloran then enlisted the help of Kevin King of King Enterprises to till a nearly 6,000 square-foot piece of land for the gardens.
Krystal Banks-Jamieson, program developer for the Kingswood Centre, said clients involved in the general projects division will tend to the garden once or twice a week. The group will plant onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers, and in the fall clients who work in the bakery and catering division will make and bottle pickles and salsa to sell.
"Everyone looks forward to our salsa and pickles every year, and in the past we have made them with vegetables purchased from the grocery store," Ms Banks-Jamieson said. "It’s great to have everyone involved from the start to the finish and have a garden.”
Ms Banks-Jamieson said the new gardening project is another way for the Kingswood Centre clients to get involved in the community.
"The garden is something they’re excited about," she said. "It’s nice for them to see something they worked hard for and to see a return."
Seven or eight other individuals have plots already spoken for. They include 80-year-old Francis MacMaster, a keen gardener and major supporter of the community gardens. While he missed last year’s planting, he’s gearing up for this season and will plant Tiny Tim tomatoes, parsnips, peas, beans and more.
Mr MacMaster has always been pleased with the quality of the soil and the crops. In the past, he’s yielded an impressive bounty of carrots, parsnips, tomatoes and more.
"In 2008 I had the largest tomatoes, they were really something. I hope this year will be just as good."
Mr O’Halloran said it was "a Godsend" the Kingswood Centre was looking for a plot. If interest continues he may get more land tilled. "It wasn’t the end. I had to keep it going," he said.
Mr O'Halloran thanked Carm Nolan of Brudenell and the rest of the former community gardens committee for their efforts in the past few years.
The plots are free of charge and for more information call Mr O’Halloran at 838-2074 or 838-3858.
Garden plots at the Montague Community Gardens are beginning to fill up for this year’s gardening season. The gardens are located beside Family First and are on land donated by Jimmy O’Halloran. A number of individuals including long-time gardener Francis MacMaster, far left, as well as clients of the Kingswood Centre in Montague, have already spoken for plots for but some are still available. From left are Frances MacMaster, Kingswood Centre client Dana MacLean, Jimmy O’Halloran, and Kingswood Centre clients Robert MacPhee, Urban Bradley and James Larter. David MacDonald photo