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Spring into planting with some county community gardens

With spring arriving in only a few short weeks, many local retailers are beginning to set up their gardening displays with seeds, supplies and books about gardening. I can't help but take a big whiff of the lovely aroma of peat moss and topsoil and get excited about the warm weather approaching. Growing up in a rural environment, I was spoiled with lots of land on which to grow and harvest all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Now, living in a more suburban area, I miss the roadside stands and neighbors bringing by wheelbarrows filled with tomatoes and zucchini.

Many local residents do not have enough space or adequate conditions to be able to grow their own food. This is where the concept of community gardens can benefit residents in our area, as well as bring about a wonderful sense of community and the sense of bonding with nature that growing your own food can give you. Gardening is also a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise.

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A community garden is a piece of land that is tended by a group of different people. These gardens can be on public or private property and can either be sectioned off or be one large plot of land on which members of the community come together and grow fruits, vegetables or herbs. Some of these garden spaces are available for rent per month, but many of them are available for you to utilize free of charge.

In our area, there are several community gardens open for planting this season.

In Owings Mills, at Northwest Regional Park, at the corner of Lions Mill Road and Deer Park Road, there is a community garden open for planting with no fee. Each person will be able to cultivate his or her own crop in a 4-foot by 5-foot boxed planter with allocated plots.

In Reisterstown, at Hannah More Park, there is a community garden behind Hannah More School. This garden contains 24 plots, each available for $10 a year. You can start your planting March 15 and continue cultivating until October.

Covenant of Grace Church at 820 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown has a community garden called Gardens of Grace. At this garden, community members can grow in an 8-foot by 8-foot plot at the cost of $20 per season.

In Cockeysville, there is a large community garden with 40 to 50 20-foot by 30-foot plots at County Home Park on Gibbons Boulevard. Each person can use up to two plots at $18 per year per plot. These plots will be tilled for planting on April 15.

For more information about how to become a part of one of these local community gardens or for a larger list of gardens in the Baltimore County region, you can visit http://extension.umd.edu/growit/community-gardens/baltimore-county-community-gardens.

Be sure to get in touch with some of these garden representatives, though, because space is limited.

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At these wonderful gardens, you will not only have the opportunity to grow your own fresh, local food, but you will also get a chance to spend time outdoors, and may likely get to know some of your neighbors. Next time you are strolling past the garden section at your local store, take in a deep whiff of the soil aroma, pick up a garden book and some seeds, and start planning.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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