By Alyssa Chamberlin, Special to the Live Wire

Photo by James Lancy

After the seemingly endless winter that has been endured, many people are excited for spring. What says spring better than a garden? Take advantage of the warmer weather to get involved in the Manchester Community College Community Garden, located on campus, across from the AST building.

The garden includes 39 plots, gardens for teaching, and even a relaxing place for people in the community to grow their own food. It all started in 2009 when a few students requested a “teaching” garden on campus, said Bettylou Sandy, who teaches about gardening in the MCC Continuing Education program and one of the first users of the garden.

Sandy said that when she inquired about starting a teaching garden, it was approved under the condition that she also start a community garden. Sandy said she jumped at the chance, and the garden has been thriving since then. It is used by students taking credit-free classes in identifying and removing invasive plants and vines and foraging edible plants.

Photo By James Lancy

Photo By James Lancy

Andrew Paterna, a retired Health & Exercise Science professor at MCC, is also one of the people credited with the garden’s success. Paterna said he was thrilled at the opportunity to bring healthier food options to the campus. He became very involved in the gardens and, even though he retired in 2011, still remains a part of it.

“The importance of the garden cannot be measured,” Paterna said.

A plot costs $50 for the season and anyone can purchase one, whether or not you enroll in an MCC class. While there are currently a few available, but they are going fast. Renters must agree to be fully organic. The garden does not allow the use of chemicals of any kind.

For more information about the classes or renting a plot, pick up a copy of the Credit-Free Catalog or call 860-512-2800.

After yet another harsh New England winter don’t pass up on the chance to be a part of the “oasis of growth.”