Garden club donates to community garden

Barbara Obst (left), treasurer of the McFarland Garden Club, and Ray Sherman (right), president of the garden club, present Katie Gletty-Syoen (center) with a check for $200 to go toward the community garden. The check was presented last Friday at the community garden meeting at the United Church of Christ. 

After months of planning, the McFarland Community Garden will have its opening day this Saturday, on Anthony Street.

Katie Gletty-Syoen, who spearheaded the community garden effort, said once the initial discussions started last August, more and more people have came on board with the project.

“Now we have a fabulous committee of folks who are really committed to the project and brought so much to it,” Gletty-Syoen said. “I’m very pleased with how it’s gone. I think it’s going to be a really fabulous project.”

Gletty-Syoen initially planned 22 full plots for the first season, but the large amount of applications received called for more plots. Plots are sold as full plots and half plots. There will be 34 full plots this season, all of which have been reserved.

The cost to rent a plot is based on a sliding scale, which considers the number of people in a household, monthly income and annual income; the costs range from $5 to $65 per season.

After attending several village board meetings to get the details ironed out Gletty-Syoen is ready to see her vision become a reality.

“I’ve been thinking about this so intensely for the last few months and to see it come into reality will be really moving,” Gletty-Syoen said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Each plot includes tilled and amended soil prepared in advance, water and use of communal garden tools. Gletty-Syoen said the plots were plowed and tilled earlier in the week to provide good ground for opening day.

Gletty-Syoen said gardeners can be creative as possible with their selection of flowers and vegetables.

People are allowed to grow almost anything they like in their plots but there are a few restrictions. Plants that quickly spread or become invasive are not allowed. This includes mint, raspberries, catnip and comfrey. No perennials will be grown in the first year.

Because of high demand for rhubarb and asparagus the community garden plans to establish a plot just for growing the vegetables.

The garden will also include a 4-H youth playground and a pumpkin patch, to be used as a fundraiser in the fall. Gletty –Syoen said her goal is to have two adaptive gardens, for those with physical limitations, put in by the end of the growing season.

The initial land use and lease agreements cover three growing seasons, ending on Dec. 31, 2015. At that point the village will evaluate the agreement and possibly extend it for up to another five years.

Those who garden the first season will need to reapply annually but if their application is accepted they will be able to access their previous plot.

The garden is located on land donated by the United Church of Christ, and Friends of McFarland Parks will manage and oversee the community garden.

Horns of Plenty

In conjunction with the garden groundbreaking, Scott Gletty-Syoen, a musician for over 20 years, has organized a fundraiser concert for the community garden.

The fundraiser is called Horns of Plenty and will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Spartan Bowl. The concert will feature 12 area musicians, performing a variety of music including classic rock, funk, soul and alternative

Scott Gletty-Syoen, who was recently sworn in to his first term as village trustee, said the event was partially inspired by a campaign fundraiser he put together last February.

After the success of that event, he came up with the idea to schedule more shows in the future, but as fundraisers for local charities.

The group has added new songs since the last performance and Scott said the group has “expanded the most dangerous horn section in McFarland with a saxophone.”

Anyone and everyone is invited to attend the event. The event is free to attend, with a $10 suggested donation.

Katie Gletty-Syoen said she was informed by the High School that students will have time to build a community storage shed before the end of the school year. Funds from the concert will go toward materials for the project.

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