Gardening has offered area residents under COVID-19 quarantine a chance to get outside and do something productive.

The Community Garden in the Village of DeForest allows opportunities for those with a green thumb to continue doing what they do best during the pandemic.

“In a time where people are stressed, worried, cooped up, a healthy diet and fresh air is so important for someone’s overall well-being,” said Reese MacAskill, recreation supervisor for the village. “I’m so thankful that we are still able to provide this opportunity for people to grow nutritious foods for themselves and to provide an outlet for them to get out in nature.”

Established around 2013, the Community Garden is located in Liberty Land Park, with parking available off of Constitution Lane. They were opened May 1, after the application period closed on April 15. Garden plots are 20’-by-20’ and cost $25 for the season, which includes tilling and water. There is also a $50 deposit, which can be refunded at the end of the season.

MacAskill was surprised that there wasn’t a bigger rush to reserve plots this year.

“Honestly, I thought we would have had more interest this year, but it seems that we are at about the same amount of gardeners as last year,” said MacAskill.

MacAskill said there are still four conventional plots available.

It doesn’t appear that COVID-19 will have much of an effect on activities at the Community Garden this season.

“Some years we have done a meet-and-greet for the community gardeners; obviously, with everything going on with COVID-19 we will not be doing one this year,” said MacAskill. “Outside of the meet-and-greet, the community garden will not look much different and was not impacted greatly by COVID-19.”

Still, gardeners who participate will have to follow some new safety guidelines, although MacAskill doesn’t believe many things will change.

“Dane County Public Health has been a great source of providing materials on how to best offer safe public opportunities,” said MacAskill. “The guidelines provided weren’t much different than anything else – maintain social distancing, if you have a gardener at the plot right next to you start working on the other side of your plot to keep safe distance. We also will be providing additional cleaning supplies for gardeners and have recommended they bring their own gardening tools to limit any shared equipment.”

For equipment that is shared by users, like the water hose, they will need to clean it before and after use.

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