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With view toward spring planting, Bell Hospital to host community garden

September 23, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE ( , Journal Ishpeming Bureau

ISHPEMING - With the cooler temperatures and nighttime frost in Ishpeming, most gardeners might be thinking about their harvests and putting their gardens to rest for the winter.

Officials at Bell Hospital are already thinking about the spring.

As part of the hospital's green initiative, Bell will host a community garden on the hospital's campus, giving both employees and area community members another place to get connected to their food.

Article Photos

Several garden beds have already been constructed at Bell Hospital and in the spring will be available for rent for a season to members of the community. The hospital is working to improve the garden soil by layering it with compost, grass clippings and newspaper. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

"We're always looking for ways to get the community involved," said Katie Brady, marketing associate with Bell Hospital.

Community members were invited to check out the new garden plans at a special farmers market hosted by the hospital last week.

In addition to seeing what local growers and artisans had to offer, the market was also a chance to learn more about the garden itself.

"Employees said we want a place to do things like this," Brady said of the garden. "It fits with our mission to improve the lives of everyone we touch."

The garden will be located at the west side of the hospital's property, adjacent to the emergency wing. When finished, the garden will include 30 raised 6-foot by 12- foot plots. In addition, there will also be a composting area and a tool shed.

In keeping with the idea of the green initiative, the garden will be watered with rainwater collected from the roof of one of the hospital's buildings.

The soil, which is sandy on the hospital grounds, is also being improved using what is called the lasagna method.

Layers of newspaper, grass clippings, compost and other organic matter is layered on top of the soil and allowed to break down, creating more nutrient-rich soil.

Once it opens, the garden will be maintained as organic and pesticide-free. Gardeners will pay a seasonal fee of $30 with a $10 rebate at the end of the season if they have been good citizens of the community garden (following rules, etc.).

Gardeners will also be expected to help at several work days throughout the season to help with the upkeep of the entire garden.

"It's not just about recycling. It's about helping the earth," Brady said. "So many people are actually interested now."

Beds will be available for rental starting in the spring months, with beds needing to be planted by June 15.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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