Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Garden takes root in Troy

| September 13, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Some folks in Troy are attempting to reintroduce the word "community" back into the community.

What better way than with a community garden.

"We all have plots and it's bringing people together," said Troy's Roger Larsen, one of the garden's three founders.

Now in its fourth year, the garden has grown from five plots to 11. It's located on a 10,000-square-foot, fenced-in lot at Kootenai Avenue and Fourth Street. Property owner Connie Boyd, whose business, Medicine Tree Primary Care, shares the property, donated the use of her land and water for the garden.

"Connie has been so kind about it," said Becca Martin, who every year has participated in the community garden. "I was carrying leaves with my hands and she said, 'Becca, I've got a wheelbarrow.'"

Larsen came up with the idea for the garden because he had one at his former home in Portland, Ore. Steve Bowen, whose family owns Gambles Store in Troy, and Roxie Rubier helped Larsen get it started and find a location.

"We were looking for plots and a friend talked to Connie," Larsen said.

Volunteers cleaned up the lot, which has been used for horses.

"It had been vacant for 10 years and was a pile of weeds," Larsen said.

Gardeners do not need to pay rent, just abide by two rules.

"Everything has to be organic and legal," Larsen said. "It's very simple."

Putting in the garden involved volunteers and donations. Steve Garrett used his tractor to plow up the garden at no charge. Someone donated a rototiller, and someone donated a grill for cookouts. Another person provided a picnic table. Cecil McDougall donated one of his storage units near the garden for tools.

Bowen, who doesn't have a plot in the garden because he has a garden at home, gives his time to mowing, weeding and running the rototiller.

Becca Martin and her husband, Ralph, appreciate the garden.

"We have cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, beans and spaghetti squash," Becca Martin said. "Of course, my husband has to have his potatoes and onions."

The Martins choose to drive the 7 miles to Troy from their home on Bull Lake Road because the soil in the community garden is better than their soil at home. Also it's easier for Ralph Martin to get around in his wheelchair.

"He's gets out there, digs and weeds, and gets it all ready," Becca Martin said. "I think it's good therapy."

"And, it's better to work with people," she continued. "We have so much fun. I met somebody new, and she told me all of these natural remedies to keep ants away and how to have tomatoes be sweeter."

People head for the garden at all hours. Becca Martin's favorite time is the morning.

"I usually have my breakfast munching through the tomatoes, my beans and broccoli," she said. "Sometimes I just go down, get my mocha and sit in the garden to start my day."

Rubier also likes the idea of the garden bringing people together.

"We've had some new faces every year," she said. "It's fun to share ideas about gardening and sometimes we share recipes."