Wheaton Wranglers break ground on community garden

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Clay Burns helps till the ground on Wheaton's first community garden. The garden is a community project of the Wheaton Wranglers 4-H Club, lead by Michelle Chappuis. Students Brian and Junior Nunez, Hailey Bennett, Eli Chappuis, and adults Laura Bennett, Angela Burns and Howard and Michelle Chappuis also assisted with creating the garden. Contributed photo

Mayor: 'Anything that 4-H does is good for the community'

The Wheaton Wranglers 4-H Club, lead by Michelle Chappuis, tilled ground recently at Wheaton's first community garden.

"We broke ground and it went well," said Chappuis, who said the group had been talking about starting a garden for a community project for some time, decided it was time and set the date.

The 85-foot-by-85-foot garden was prepared on Chappuis' property, which sits off Highway 86 and Farm Road 2140, south of Bob's Peaches, which she says will allow for easy access for residents once the garden gets going next spring.

"It should be easy for people to get in and out," Chappuis said.

The group performed a soil test with the Barry County Extension office to ensure they had the right nutrient mix for produce to thrive, and they will be planting winter cover crops, such as rye grass or oats, to prepare the soil for spring.

The garden will include a traditional tilled area, plus raised beds and container plantings.

"This is so kids can see all the ways to garden," Chappuis said.

According to Chappuis, the purpose of the garden will not just be to fulfill a club requirement, but to benefit the local community, and hopefully set an example for other communities.

Wheaton Mayor David Shockley said he supports the project.

"It sounds like a good program," he said. "Anything that 4-H does is good for the community and the kids to have something to do like that, because in a small town, there's not a lot for kids to do. I'm glad they have something like that going on.

"Most people don't have a place for a garden, so I think it will be great. We also need to help out the needy. Sometimes, people can't help money-wise but can help food-wise, so it will be a good for the community."

For more information or to volunteer time, labor or materials, Chappuis can be reached at 417-652-3327.

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