Apr 25, 2021 10:25 AM

From the Ellis Co. Master Gardeners: Backyard family demonstration garden

Posted Apr 25, 2021 10:25 AM

The garden, located at the K-State Agricultural Research Center south of Hays, was established in 2016 with funds provided by a grant from the Heartland Community Foundation. 

The garden area measures approximately 12’ x 20’.  The soil was tested, prepared and a fall garden was planted in 2016, with its official debut during Horticulture Night at the Ag Research Center, September 20, 2016.

Work resumed during the spring of 2017 when a fence was built and compost bins were constructed out of pallets on the east end of the garden plot. Spring crops of onions, potatoes and beans were planted, as well as perennial crops of rhubarb and asparagus. Other vegetables that have been grown are radishes, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and eggplant.

The purpose and goal of the Backyard Garden Project is to demonstrate to the general public how to start and maintain a vegetable garden in a smaller space like a backyard area. A composting station is also maintained as part of this project. This garden provides an opportunity for Master Gardeners to show the various crops that can be grown in a small area. It also gives Master Gardeners opportunities to experiment with best practices in fertilization, watering, weeding, mulching and producing and using compost in a garden to optimize crop production.

The Backyard Garden committee decides yearly which crops to plant and determines the layout of the garden plot. It decides on any new ideas or methods to try for the new season. Several Master Gardener volunteers help with the planning, planting and maintenance throughout the year. This garden project would not be possible or successful without the hard work and dedication of this group.

The public is welcome and encouraged to stop by and visit the garden’s progress during the growing season at the Ag Research Center. There is signage on the east end of the garden plot concerning composting and a Kansas Garden Guide booklet in the attached mailbox for reference. Gardening questions can be addressed by the Master Gardeners or the Extension Horticulturist by calling the Cottonwood District Extension Office in Hays at 785-628-9430..