New community garden seeking seed money

Volunteers put in fencing around a community garden in Kingman’s Cecil Davis Park. (Courtesy)

Volunteers put in fencing around a community garden in Kingman’s Cecil Davis Park. (Courtesy)

KINGMAN - On a small plot of land next to Cecil Davis Park, a group of green thumbs is working to establish a community garden that would provide a place for people to grow flowers and vegetables and get in touch with the Earth.

They're hoping to see Dig It Kingman Community Gardens come to life in June, said Ron Tanner, master gardener and member of the group's education advisory board.

Volunteers have cleared the one-acre parcel at Lillie Avenue and Harrison Street, donated by Praise Chapel Church, and installed $3,000 in metered water irrigation. Now they're looking for irrigation supplies and gardening tools.

The group is having a benefit yard sale starting at 7 a.m. today at the garden.

Tanner invited people to come out to the yard sale and observe the progress that's been made at the garden. All proceeds from the yard sale will be used to buy remaining irrigation supplies.

"The main reason for this is to help bring the community together through a cooperative effort," he said. "The other thing is to give people a safe place to garden that they may not have access to. Another thing is to help feed the needy."

The garden will start with 20 beds measuring 6 feet by 25 feet. It will eventually have about 100 garden beds. Plots will be leased for the cost of watering and operating expenses, or about $60 a season.

"We'll see how everything goes," Tanner said. "The irrigation and fencing is in, the land is graded. Now we're putting the beds in with a water line to each bed. Then we'll basically be putting in the compost and planting."

Gardeners will be asked to participate in a co-op style of operation, each taking turns monitoring the gardens.

The idea of a community garden in Kingman has been kicked around for a few years, but this is the first time the garden has really "gotten off the ground," said Tanner.

He attended the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension centennial celebration last year in Rimrock and talked with the mayor of Payson, who started a community garden in his town.

Tanner went to various organizations in Kingman to drum up support for the garden, showing slide presentations to the Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Cerbat Garden Club, Parks and Recreation Department and Mohave County Retired Teachers Association.

He talked to Kingman Regional Medical Center, Cornerstone Mission and Canyon Community Church about participating as a nonprofit organization, but their lawyers were hesitant.

Praise Chapel Church donated the land and accepted the community garden under a section of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

Denise Neath, another master gardener on the education advisory board, hopes to see more gardens around Kingman. Several churches and private land owners have expressed interest in starting a community garden, she said.

The gardens are perfect for people who want to grow their own vegetables and flowers, but don't have the available land or tools.

"Some churches have asked for a plot to grow vegetables just for food banks," Neath said. "Just families, kids growing for the fair, elderly people in apartments. People in this area are low-income and will probably eat most of what they grow."