The tops of lettuce and green peppers are peeking out through soil in the community gardens throughout Washington County, just waiting for the right combination of time, sunshine and water to grow to their full potential and be ready for eating.
According to Nancy Jenkins, the garden coordinator for the Washington County Harvest of Hope community gardens, there are a total of four gardens that have been established through the program.
Jenkins said they are located in Barlow, New Matamoras, near Food 4 Less in Marietta and at Sandhill United Methodist Church in Reno. She said there have been gardens in all of those locations in the past.
SHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Marietta resident Vonda Cassady looks over her plot in the Washington County Harvest of Hope community garden near the Food 4 Less in Marietta Monday. There is still one plot in that garden that has not been claimed.
"I've got a 10 (foot) by 10 (foot) plot available at the one behind Food 4 Less (but)all the plots are taken in the other gardens," she said. "Down behind Food 4 Less we've got 21 garden plots and the Unitarian (Universalist) Church (in Marietta) has several raised bed garden plots there."
Previously, there was also a garden on the west side of Marietta but it has been overtaken by crabgrass, Jenkins said. With treatment, it may be available next year, she said.
Washington County Harvest of Hope aims to distribute food to pantries in Wood and Washington Counties through food rescue and recovery and the community gardens.
To learn more
Washington County Harvest of Hope community gardens:
The gardens are located in Barlow, New Matamoras, near Food 4 Less in Marietta and at Sandhill United Methodist Church in Reno.
One 10-foot-by-10-foot plot in the garden near Food 4 Less has not been claimed. Call garden coordinator Nancy Jenkins at 516-1520 to claim the plot.
Gardeners are given seeds, plants, water and gardening tools.
Produce is shared with local food pantries and gardeners also keep produce for themselves.
Jenkins noted that gardeners are given seeds and plants and they can plant whatever they want in their plots. Gardeners are also provided with water and gardening tools, she said.
"They share with the food pantry or anyone they know could use some fresh vegetables plus they eat out of their plots, too," she said.
Marietta resident Vonda Cassady is among those who has a plot in the community garden near Food 4 Less. She said she has had a garden through the program for three or four years.
Cassady has planted a variety of things in her garden, including garlic, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, sugar baby watermelons and beans.
She said she enjoys having a plot in the garden each year.
"You donate some of the food to the food pantry which helps other people and you're helping yourself," Cassady said. "I like the people and you learn a lot of things."
Jenkins said she hopes to hold a market at the garden near Food 4 Less from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday mornings once the produce starts coming on.
"It's by donations if they want to donate," she said.
Jenkins added that some of the gardens could be enlarged next year since the program is so popular.
"If we can get enough people interested, yes, we will be expanding it," she said.