By the end of May, the garden already had 12 raised beds, compost and a compost tumbler, a pallet bench, three oversized tires for flowers and land for potatoes, corn, pumpkin and squash. Friday afternoon, volunteers dug into their raised beds once more as they continued to weed and plant produce.
In the last month, bees have also moved into the gardens, thanks to help from Desiree Johnson, Dave Johnson and Marshall Dias. The city of Ottumwa also donated 12 composters to the garden in an effort to recycle decomposing material into fertilizer and keep the weeds at bay.
"We mixed in a couple-year-old manure in the soil," said Ryan Rasmussen, of NRCS, who maintains one of the 12 gardens. "And we stuck lime in the bottom holes of the tomatoes. But we lost all our beans as soon as they came up because the rabbits mowed them down."
— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.