Huntington’s community garden breaks ground on a new season

Steve Schwartz, of Bippus, guides his Belgians “Babe” and “Bell” as they plow the Helping Hands Community Garden on Wednesday, April 10. The garden is located near Huntington North High School and is a joint venture between the school and volunteers. Photo by Andre B. Laird.

Huntington's community garden is ready to begin a new season.

A ceremonial groundbreaking utilizing a horse-drawn plow was held April 10 at the garden, located at Jefferson Street and U.S.-24 near the Huntington North High School gym.

Community members are invited to get involved by attending a "tilling party" at the garden on Wednesday, April 17, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those who have a tiller are invited to bring it along.

HNHS students have grown starter plants in the high school greenhouse and have already begun planting, organizer Stan Bippus says. Huntington University students plan to install an irrigation system, lay plastic and plant seedlings on April 20.

Produce from the garden is available free to needy families, the elderly and veterans. Last year, Bippus says, 176 different families are known to have received produce from the garden. The actual number is probably higher, he says, because the garden is open to anyone who wants to harvest some of the vegetables.

Purdue Extension offers information on preparing and preserving different vegetables.

The project is dependent on volunteers and participating families to maintain the garden throughout the summer and to harvest the produce.

Organizers are in need of a variety of items, or cash donations to purchase the items, including welded steel panels, an irrigation system, pesticides and herbicides, tiller, storage shed, row stakes and potato seeds.

Anyone willing to make a donation is asked to contact Bippus at 224-6635.

This year's garden will include cucumber, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, eggplant, okra, turnips, potatoes, onions, zucchini, radishes, lettuce, beets, kale, green beans, peas, bell peppers, chili peppers and tomatoes.

The garden is a partnership of local volunteers, Purdue Extension and Huntington North High School. Assistance has also been received from Kmart, Juergens Do-It Center, Walmart, Beacon Credit Union, Orscheln Farm and Home, Nelsons' Farms, Crop Production Services, Tom Clounie Landscaping, the city of Huntington, an area Amish crew and Hinshaw Farms.