ADRIAN — It’s that time of year again when many hands can make light work of gardening.
The sixth planting day at the Adrian Community Garden on George Street near ZZ’s Sports Bar and Grill and the Kiwanis Trail, where Water Street and College Avenue meet, will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 28. The public is invited to lend a helping hand anytime throughout the scheduled three hours.
Volunteers can be of any age. The more hands on deck, the merrier, said Adrian resident Christie Boxer, one of the main curators of the garden. Volunteers do not need to work at the garden for the entire three hours, and signing up is not necessary. People who want to help out are welcome to drop by the garden whenever.
“We will have supplies on site, but you are welcome to bring whatever you think might be useful,” Boxer said.
Organizers of the community garden will be in need of help planting various fruits and vegetable seeds as well as other crops, weeding, painting flower beds and flower boxes, and beautifying the existing garden space.
Two new flower boxes will be added to the garden this year, Boxer said, which will help expand the garden and the quantity and variety of plants, fruits and vegetables that can be grown.
The public can also bring plants and other vegetation they want to have planted, although Boxer said space might be limited.
A major supporter of the Adrian Community Garden, the Adrian Noon Rotary, which last year donated a weather-protected storage unit, donated a fruit tree for this year’s planting day. Boxer said the community garden will now have a total of four fruit trees thanks to the donation from the Noon Rotary.
Boxer, along with Christy Mesaros-Winckles of Adrian, started the garden in 2017 as a means to serve the community as a locally grown food source and as a place to lend a helping hand. It is also a location to simply relax with nature, Boxer said.
A variety of fruits and vegetables are growing in the community garden. There is a patch of perennial strawberries as well as cherry and Roma tomatoes, corn, squash, bell and hot peppers, kale, and lettuce along with a variety of flowers to beautify the area.
The garden is meant to be tended to by the community, hence the “Community Garden” portion of the name. The city of Adrian owns the land and it keeps the grounds maintained and supplies water and soil. The garden itself, however, is a yearly, community-run project. Much of the work done at the garden is completed by Boxer and her family, who she refers to as “stewards” of the community garden.
Planting days, meanwhile, are a way for the community to come together and “take pride in something,” Boxer said.
“This garden is an easy way for anybody to get involved,” she said. “Planting day is one day out of the year where people can visit the garden, weed the space and harvest the food grown here. There is really no end to the amount of engagement people can have.”
Once planting day is over, the community is invited to regularly stop out to the garden. If something needs to be watered, it can be watered, Boxer said. If something needs to be pruned or repaired, that can be done as well.
“The goal of this garden is for the community to take ownership in it,” Boxer said.
There wasn't a public planting day in 2020 because it was during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s planting day relied heavily on the efforts of the community because Boxer was recovering from having her appendix removed.
“I am doing much better this year,” she said. “I still look forward to the engagement from the community.”
There is definitely interest and community involvement.
Over the years, planting day volunteers have consisted of representatives from the Lenawee County Democratic Party, Brownie troops from Madison schools, and families from the Adrian area and Palmyra Township. Boxer said she is also hoping to make contact with the Michigan State University Extension office as another means to continuing the garden’s efforts.
With Boxer back up to full strength and the apprehensiveness of people to be around other people due to pandemic concerns less prevalent than in the past, she said it's time to grow the garden even more and show some real community teamwork.
“I think this is a ripe moment to capitalize on that community investment as a value that we all want to live by,” she said.
Boxer can be contacted by phone at 269-779-0184 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Adrian Community Garden can also be found on Facebook, where supporters and volunteers can be notified of future events as well as gardening tips.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Adrian Community Garden's annual planting day set for Saturday, May 28