Manpower needed at community garden

It’s time for folks to step up to the rows. The Colville Community Garden (CCG) is in dire need of some volunteers to assist with planting preparation and maintenance. Whether it’s weeding, fer¬tilizing (organically, that is), watering, hauling soil, etc., and whether people rent a plot or not, assistance is much desired. “We would really appreciate the help,” says Mike Kisman, Manager of the garden, “You don’t have to be a gardener yourself. Whether you rent a plot or not, we’re in serious need of people who are wiling to contribute their time.” Since it was established a little over three years ago, the Colville Community Garden (CCG) has grown beyond a patch of dirt into a project that brings both individuals and organizations together to benefit not just themselves, but the community at large. Currently, there are only a handful of volunteers, including Kisman and Ross Perkins, who work on the garden consistently throughout the year. This means preparing the garden to be planted in the spring, maintaining it during the growing season, and putting the lots to bed for the winter. Unfortunately, the garden lost former co-manager Holly Thomas last year when she moved to Spokane, according to Kisman.What can be done “She did a lot for us, and it’s been hard to fill her shoes,” says Kisman. At 76-years-old, though he hardly looks it, Kisman, a retired engineer, dedicates four hours a day to the community garden spring through fall. He admits that it’s become harder to do some of the labor and he would appreciate more volunteerism. “Unfortunately, we had to close the two plots designated for the Colville Food bank because we couldn’t get enough people to come work on them and maintain them,” Kisman says. “We really didn’t want to, but it does come down to manpower, and we just don’t have enough.” Located just east of Colville High School off Highway 20, the garden resides on one acre of land and consists of 86 plots ranging from small 6x4 raised beds through 20x20 parcels, all of which are available for rent. Plot rental is from $10 to $40, and for those on a tight budget, some plots have been pre-paid by donation. Kisman estimates that a little over 1,000 pounds of food was grown and harvested from the community garden last year. “The soil here is good and it’s a beautiful place to be in the spring and summer time,” says Kisman. “I think we have an obligation to keep it that way.” For those who just want to have a look around and relax, there’s a picnic area and the gates are open to anyone who wants to come in. St. Paul Lutheran Church donated the CCG to the Colville community as a place for people without garden space to grow their own produce. Six-foot fencing, water supplies, and a perennial garden and general hangout area, maintained by the Colville Area Gardening Friends, was installed in 2009 by community donors. Clubs, businesses and charitable organizations can also join in and rent plots as well. Parkview Senior Living rents several plots. There is also a children’s play area in the garden so youngsters will have something to occupy their time while parents tend to their plots. “I think it’s important to know how to grow your own food,” says Kisman. “I think there has been more interest in the garden because of hard economic times…people want to know what’s in their food. It’s good to have these skills (gardening).” With that everyone-can-do-it attitude, the public is invited to attend the CCG meetings every first Tuesday of the month. Meetings take place at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Colville at 7 p.m. The board is currently looking for a volunteer vice president and public relations chair. For more information, call Kisman at 684-6443, or go to