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Summit Community Gardens winterizing event will cultivate interest for the whole family

Free activity will feature demonstrations and pumpkin painting

Winterize Your Garden

Summit Community Gardens will host a “Winterize Your Garden” party on Saturday, Oct. 1. The free event will feature pumpkin painting, garlic planting and opportunities for people to get their hands dirty.
Park Record file photo

The work at the Summit Community Gardens doesn’t stop after the harvest. In some cases the work is only beginning.

Adding a spoonful of sugar to the clean-up that needs to be done to prepare the plot boxes for the winter, the community-supported agriculture nonprofit, located at 4056 Shadow Mountain Drive, will throw a free Winterize Your Garden party from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, said garden director Melissa Soltesz.

“We will have a number of activities going on, and people can drop in anytime,” she said.



The first thing on the list is to help plot renters winterize their plots, according to Soltesz.

The whole idea for these things is for us to come together, because we are a community space…” Melissa Soltesz, Summit Community Gardens garden director

“I will be there,” she said. “Sloane Johnson, our executive director, will be there. Erica Snyder, our youth education coordinator, will be there. And we’ll all assist and teach a little bit about what the best process is to ensure the garden beds will be happy in the winter.”



The three will help plot renters clean out their beds and amend the soil.

“We’ll pull out anything that has been growing, but keep the perennials intact,” she said. “We want to make sure when springtime comes the ground will be ready to produce veggies and other things.”

Summit Community Gardens will demonstrate how plot renters can winterize their gardens so the ground will be able to produce healthy flowers and vegetation next season.
Courtesy of Summit Community Gardens

While this activity will be focused on the Summit Community Gardens’ plot renters, Soltesz encourages people to stop by if they are interested in renting a plot for next season.

“This is a good opportunity to see what happens in the gardens and talk with our staff,” she said. “We have 132 plots that measure 4 feet by 16 feet for folks in the community to rent, and we rent them out for $125 on a yearly basis.”

The nonprofit does require renters to give back by volunteering eight hours in the garden, or playing an additional flat fee, Soltesz said.

In addition to providing information about plots, Saturday’s event will include some family-friendly activities as well.

“Erica has a number of pumpkins she’s gathered that are ready for painting, which should be really fun, and we will have other volunteer opportunities that day if anyone wants to get their hands dirty. If they don’t, they can bring gloves.”

Parents should email Snyder at erica@summitcommunitygardens.org so she can know how many children will be in attendance.

John Webster of Go Biochar, a nonprofit that promotes biochar “for sustainable food security, improved soil fertility, environment, and climate resilience,” according to its mission, will also be on hand.

For information, see biochar-us.org/go-biochar.

Biochar is a soil enhancer made from carbon and ashes, Soltesz said.

“John will talk about biochar and how it helps regenerate soil, grows bigger crops and saves water,” she said. “He will give out free samples, and will sell larger quantities.”

Throughout the day, four demonstration beds in the center of the gardens will also be filled with projects, Soltesz said.

“We’ll be planting garlic,” she said. “Garlic is something that is planted in the autumn, and it gets harvested in the middle of the summer.”

Garlic will also be available for purchase during the event.

“That way people can plant it in their own rental plots or take it to plant in their gardens at home,” she said. 

The demonstration beds also serve another purpose during the growing season, Soltesz said.

“All the food grown in those beds are given back to families in need who live in the community, and the beds also show the community how to grow particular vegetables and sometimes fruit in our high-altitude climate,” she said.

Summit Community Gardens is currently accepting sponsorships for selected plots that will be donated to community members in need, Soltesz said.

“There are many people who live here who can’t afford to rent a plot,” she said. “So these will be available to them. We only ask that they make a commitment to utilize them.”

Hosting events such as Winterize Your Garden is an important part of Summit Community Gardens’ mission of empowering residents to come together and garden at high altitude, Soltesz said. 

“The whole idea for these things is for us to come together, because we are a community space,” she said.


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