Pelican community gardeners getting ready, set to grow

43 plots will produce good stuff at city gardens

Julie Tunheim, one of the leaders of the Pelican Rapids Community Garden, photographed by Lake Lida resort owner Jon Solinger for his exhibit “Deep Roots: Sustaining a Living Community” debuted at last year’s Deep Roots Festival.

There’s a whole lot of growing going on in the Pelican Rapids area, including the launch of the Pelican Community Gardens.

Green Thumbs will again have two options this year at the Pelican Rapids Community Garden. Participants can secure a plot for themselves and family; or join others in a “gardening together” option.

Lettuce is the “Veggie of the Year,” and gardeners can pick up seeds at the Pelican Library and Food Shelf. 

A few new garden plots are available for people interested in growing vegetables this summer. 

New areas are planned, making a total of 43 plots, each measuring 26 x 30 feet. Last year’s gardeners have first dibs on their old gardens, and gardeners have access to water, tillers, hoses, and some basic garden tools, explained Julie Tunheim, community garden coordinator.

Each gardener is responsible for planting, weeding, and harvesting his or her crop and for keeping the area tidy. Fall cleanup is expected to be complete two weeks after the first hard frost. Each plot costs $25, and checks can be made to the Pelican Rapids Food Shelf.

“The group gardening option is a fun opportunity to make new friends, share gardening knowledge, and grow terrific fresh food,” said Tunheim. The “group gardening” concept is great because the group approach helps “keep each other on their toes,” said Tunheim.

The group meets about twice a week to plant, weed, water, and harvest vegetables. All levels of experience are welcome, from beginners to those with years of gardening knowledge.

The group garden’s mission is to create a safe space for community members to meet new friends and grow healthy food and relationships. The communal nature of the garden divides up the work and the harvest equally. One of the best things about the group garden is the flexibility; vacationers don’t have to worry about watering or weeding.

Gardeners are encouraged to donate their extra produce to the local food shelf, which accepts donations throughout the season.

 “Gardening offers fresh food, good exercise, and new friends,” said Tunheim. As one of Pelican’s most familiar garden advocates, Tunheim has been involved with the community garden program for more than ten years. 

With the late spring, Tunheim said she is “chomping at the bit” to get to her early season planting, such as potatoes and peas.

The gardens have become a multi-cultural connection, with Hispanic, Ukrainian, Bosnian, and other ethnic families involved, she noted. 

Contact Julie Tunheim at 218-849-1426 or stop by the Pelican Rapids Public Library for more information and to secure a plot.

Read More on Gardening:

‘Garden in a Box’ Kits will be available to Pelican area for beginning gardeners; supply is limited

Lettuce chosen as Pelican Rapids community’s ‘Veggie of the Year’ 2023

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From the pen of the mayor… We thought it would never arrive, but spring gardening season is here!