Washington School Neighbors Community Gardens
WSN spearheads two community gardens in downtown Holland. The gardens are located a short distance off Pine Avenue on 9th Street and 10th Street. Partnerships with Hope Church and First United Methodist Church have made these spaces available for any interested neighbors. Please continue reading and learn how you can grow with us!
Community gardens offer the space, tools, and community support for neighbors to grow their own food. Here’s how it works: you contact the WSN board (use the contact form on this website) to express your interest in a garden plot. A garden plot is a 4ft by 8ft raised bed where you’ll grow your vegetables in. The garden plots at WSN are raised beds made with lumber and numbered. You’ll be assigned a plot at either the 10th Street or the 9th Street garden and the bed will have a number. There are 26 plots available, first come first serve. You are then responsible for amending your soil, planting whatever (well, it needs to be legal) it is you want to grow, watering, weeding, harvesting and cleaning up the space in the fall. Important note, please respect other folks’ plots and only take food from the plot you are growing in. You’ll have access to the shared tool shed at the 10th Street garden, and both sites have hoses available for watering your garden. To defray some of the costs of maintaining the garden equipment and raised beds, there is a suggested donation of $20 which you can make out to Washington School Neighbors, 77 West 11th Street, Holland, MI 49423 by May 1st of the given year. It’s as straightforward as that.
What you sow into the gardens you will reap. Gardeners are encouraged to support one another, sharing knowledge and building community. We understand people join the community garden for a number of great reasons, such as being able to eat the freshest green beans, teaching young children the joys of gardening, or growing flowers that can be cut and given to loved ones. Whatever reason compels you, we simply ask you maintain your leased space and demonstrate respect and care for this communal property.
For returning gardeners:
Please clean your garden plot out at the end of the season even if you plan to be using the same space next year. If you wish to garden the following year you may keep your current plot but you must register with WSN by January 31 of the given growing year for your plot to be reserved.
For new gardeners:
Even though you are gardening at WSN community gardens for the first time we realize you may have plenty of gardening knowledge. However, if you are an aspiring gardener and afraid you lack a green thumb, don’t be intimidated, step out in faith. Below we’ve listed a few key instructions that will go a long way in growing successfully.
- Add some compost to your bed at the beginning of the season. Fertilizers can be helpful too but finished compost (it can be bought in bags for convenience) is the easiest way to start your garden on the right foot. You can over fertilize but you can’t over compost.
- These crops can be put directly in the garden as seeds: radishes, carrots, greens, beets, beans, and peas. You’ll want to wait till around May 1st for most of these, but you can keep seeding these all the way into early August.
- These crops do better when purchased and transplanted into your garden as young plants: tomatoes, peppers, basil, squash, cucumbers. Anytime between May 20 and June 15 is good for these transplants to go into your garden. Too early and the frost will get them, too late and they won’t mature in time for a good yield.
- Water the plants a whole lot in the beginning and then regularly throughout the summer. By regularly, think of an inch of water per week. Using a hose with a wand you’ll want to take about 10-15 minutes drenching your soil. It’s good to poke your finger in and make sure the soil is wet all the way down.
- Stay on top of the weeds. Weeds are competing with your plants for nutrients. Get rid of the competition.
- Visit your plot a couple times a week to harvest the crops when they are perfectly ripe.