Wildcat Neighborhood Farms opens up garden plots

Max Hughes, Staff Reporter

Students, clubs and now Ellensburg residents can sign up for a community garden plot at the Wildcat Neighborhood farm. The plots had been opened for pre-registration for CWU clubs and students from Feb. 23 to March 8.

“There’s no, like, monetary fee to have a plot at the garden, but we just are asking for six hours a month of volunteer time,” Kate Doughty, manager of Wildcat Farms, said. 

Plenty of plots remain open for those that want to sign up, and more spaces have been made, according to Doughty. 

“We would love to have students there as much as possible. That’s kind of what we’re here for,” Doughty said.

The plots themselves are about four by eight feet, but some larger plots exist for larger groups.

“We want to give, especially now when everyone’s inside all the time … the opportunity to be outside and work with soil,” Doughty said.

Community Garden Assistant Katie Potter takes the lead in signing up those that want to start gardening.

“First of all, it’s just a great opportunity to learn more about gardening if you haven’t had that chance before,” Potter said.

Part of that learning will come from a new pilot program she hopes will start this year. 

“If you’re looking to teach people what you know about gardening it’s a great opportunity,” Potter said.

Volunteer work consists of weeding and watering parts of the garden in places that need it, according to Doughty. 

“You’re just out playing in the dirt,” Potter said. “Working, and playing in the dirt.”

Doughty said the plots give people the opportunity to learn personal resilience and grow food to take home.

“Access to locally grown, fresh produce shouldn’t be hard for anyone, and so we’re trying to improve that as much as we can,” Doughty said.

Doughty said most vegetables grow well in the area, but flowers can also be planted in the garden plots. There is a selection of seeds available that people can grow in their plots. People can bring their own seeds, but the farm has soil for gardeners to use. Doughty said they would like to avoid products like miracle grow.

While Wildcat Farms focuses on growing what Dining Services needs, the garden plots are to focus on what the person or group using the plot wants, according to Doughty.

“The thing that I love about growing food is the community that’s around it, and having the garden at the farm, I think, gives it more of the feeling of what it is … a community space,” Doughty said.

The garden plots being in the same place as the farm gives new gardeners the opportunity to ask questions, which Doughty said people should do.

“I think it’s really exciting actually … just seeing all these people who want to grow their own food,” Potter said.

The current garden spaces have been made up of empty, unused space on the farm, according to Potter.

“Ask questions if you have any, otherwise come out and visit us with a mask on,” Potter said.