Partnership plans contest for gardens

Published 6:54 pm Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kay Cherry, left, and Carol Warren show off peppers cultivated in the Holland community garden.

Kay Cherry, left, and Carol Warren show off peppers cultivated in the Holland community garden.

Spring is just around the corner, and so is the prime season for starting your new backyard garden.

The Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community aims to help with that through grant funding it received from Green Mountain Coffee.

“We’re excited about it,” said Regina Brayboy, the partnership’s executive director.

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The partnership is holding a contest to select about 17 to 20 people to win starter garden kits, as well as technical assistance and support to give the projects good roots.

“It’s all about eating healthy, combating obesity,” said Bobbie Chapman, administrative assistance for the partnership.

The winning gardeners will receive assistance in building, planning and planting their gardens. Each person can choose either a raised box garden, a container garden or an in-ground garden.

A part-time garden coordinator who will be hired soon will help all of the gardeners.

The gardeners also must agree to maintain the garden at least seven months each year for the next two calendar years and agree to garden by partnership rules, which include doing so organically.

“We want our gardens to be organic,” Brayboy said.

She said the gardens would be an excellent family project and would help children — and maybe some adults, too — learn where their food comes from.

Chapman said classes on cooking and canning vegetables are planned, “so the people know what to do with the food they grow,” she said.

The partnership’s community gardens initiative started in 2009 with only four gardens. It now includes eight community gardens and eight school gardens, as well as some preschool gardens.

“It’s just mushroomed,” she said. “The gardens are really growing. There has been a lot of interest in the gardens.”

Garden applications are due Feb. 28. For more information or to get a garden application, call 539-1525 or visit