When the Bainbridge Improvement Society (BIS) met last spring they decided to act on a suggestion given to them by Bainbridge Town Clerk Jason Hartman to create a community garden.
Using land that belongs to the town that is designated for a future park, four members of BIS took $100 and bought plants.
Madonna Elliott, Linda Hartman, John and Margaret Kessinger got the garden plot ready and began planting green beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage and cucumbers.
They came up with a list rules that needed to be followed and No Sail Splash Guard in Fincastle made a sign for them to post.
The rules include helping to maintain the garden by weeding a small area whenever you visit. Picking only what your family will consume. Not picking them for resale or canning. Hours are daily from dawn to dusk and group gardening is every Sunday from 4-5 p.m.
Everyone is welcome and the garden is open to all members of the community.
"The community garden has just been hugely successful," said Hartman. "People come and pick some sweet corn and spend 15 minutes weeding and go on their way."
Hartman says he gets more phone calls about the community garden than any other calls in his office.
"We decided we'd do it and prepare for failure, but it's been a great success," he added.
Next year the group plans to increase the size of the plot and hope to teach local 4-H members how to garden.
John Kessinger, who is a nine-year 4-Her himself, has been gardening all his life.
"I'd like to bring in some 4-Hers and teach them how to garden," he told the Banner Graphic.
Kessinger looked up information on community gardens at the beginning of the project and discovered there are over one million in the United States.
"It's a great idea. People really seem to like it. The only problem we've had has been with moles that messed up a few vegetables," he laughed.
According to the American Community Garden Organization the benefits of investing in gardens are numerous.
"Besides helping put food on the dinning room table, it also improves the lives of people in the garden by encouraging self-reliance and creating an opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy and education," says their Web site. "And, it provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections."
The garden is located just north of the North Putnam Community School Corporation building. Any 4-H members interested in gardening can contact Kessinger at 522-3636. People with questions about the community garden can also contact Hartman 522-6238.