RIVER FALLS — Despite a stretch of subzero temperatures this week, some community members have their minds on summer gardening season.

The non-profit Grow to Share organization, which facilitates a collaborative garden space in Hoffman Park, will open registration for plots starting Monday, Feb. 15.

  • The 10 foot by 15 foot garden plots cost $25 for the season;
  • an additional plot can be requested for $10 if there is space available.

Returning gardeners will be allocated plots first, with the remaining going to new gardeners on a first come, first served basis.

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Water, compost, straw and basic tools are available on site.

For more information or to register, visit www.growtoshare.org.

Dig in to help out

Anyone interested in gardening without taking on a season-long commitment also can help out with Grow to Share’s volunteer gardens with cultivated produce going to support the local food pantry and other nonprofits.

“No gardening experience is needed,” garden manager John Ramstad said, “just a willingness to learn.”

There will be regular drop-in volunteer opportunities 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the growing season. Special sessions can be arranged for companies, churches, civic organizations and scout groups.

More than 50 volunteers helped raise over 1,250 pounds of organic produce in 2020, valued at more than $5,000, according to Grow to Share.

Pandemic impact

The number of volunteers was higher than usual in 2020, and that meant more produce shared with the community, Ramstad said.

“For some people, it was a COVID-safe way to be active in the community,” he said. “For others, it became part of their at-home school activities.”

Grow to Share has implemented a number of COVID-19 protocols to help keep volunteers safe amid the ongoing pandemic:

  • Masks and gloves are required when harvesting and delivering food; and
  • hand sanitizer is available on site.

Questions can be directed to growtosharevolunteer@gmail.com.