Green thumbing it: Community gardens in Billings

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    It was a wild and wooly winter here in Billings and, I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for it to be over. Sure signs that spring is on the way are the volume of seed catalogs in the avid gardener’s mailbox and the impending date to sign up for a plot at Amend Park Community Garden and the new Songbird Community Garden. Did you know that in a plot as small as 10-feet by 10-feet you can produce 5 to 10 pounds of strawberries in Billings? Ah, all is right with the world.

    Amend Community Garden

    If you’re new to Billings and love to garden but lack the space, you’ll enjoy Amend Community Garden, open for gardeners from May through October. Opened in 2014, it is Billings’ first city-owned garden. It encompasses one acre and is divided up into several plot sizes, from 10-feet by 10-feet to 20-feet by 20-feet ground plots, 3-feet by 6-feet raised beds and a greenhouse. There is a water source near each plot.

    Depending on the size of the plot you want, you’ll pay between $10 and $40 plus a $15 deposit that you’ll get back at season’s end (as long as you properly maintain your plot).

    Sign-ups for plots for the 2017 growing season happen on March 1 and you can do so at the Billings Parks and Recreation office (390 N 23rd St.). Amend Community Garden is located just off of S. Billings Blvd. at Amend Park. Keep up with what’s happening at Amend by visiting its Facebook page.

    Songbird Community Garden

    The Songbird Community Garden is a more recent addition to the Billings community garden plan, and it’s scheduled to open this season. Located at Josephine crossing, it’s smaller than Amend, at a half acre. It does offer an additional plot size, however, at 10-feet by 20-feet. Rental rates are the same as for Amend Community Garden

    Download the application, here and visit them on Facebook for up-to-date information.

    The gardens are also looking for volunteers to help with garden maintenance, mentor a beginning gardener or teach a class. Download the volunteer application here.

    What to grow?

    Whether you’ll rent a plot at the community gardens or you have space at home to garden, deciding what to plant can be challenging. Montana State University Extension’s Master Gardener program comes to the rescue! On their website they offer a vast variety of downloadable booklets and information sheets with guidance on what grows the best here in Billings, when and how to plant and how to care for whatever it is you decide to grow.

    Visit the website to learn more.

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