Fresh-grown food without all the fuss

A gardener works a plot at Monroe City's Community Garden.

A bountiful garden takes a lot of work. Between the tilling, the seeding, the weeding, the harvesting, you're talking quite a commitment. The biggest commitment at all~sacrificing space in the yard to grow your garden. That is if you have any space at all. People in senior housings or apartments are just out of luck.

Monroe City has a solution for people who want to garden but don't have the room. The

Queen of the Prairie Community Garden

offers plots for all variety of plants.


George and Eva Jo Spalding

foundation donated the field a few years ago. Their son, Dennis Spalding, is happy with the results.

â??We thought it would be a good community service project on our part, with a minimum of effort,â?? Spalding said.

The fact is, the Spalding's have taken much of the groundwork out of the gardening process. The land is tilled, fertilized and ready to plant at the first sign of spring. All a gardener needs are some seeds to get started and a hoe.

About nine families are working the community garden this year. There's room for many more. The plots can run as big or as small as you'd like. Some people may put out a few tomato plants, others have rows of sweet corn and fresh produce that can feed a family all year.

The one condition of using the community gardenâ??the Spalding family would like each member to plant a few flowers.

â??Flowers make it look pretty when people drive by and that helps self-perpetuate the garden,â?? Spalding said.

Plus, the flowers are a nice touch to remember the benefactors, George and Eva Jo Spalding. George was a founder of


, the major manufacturing firm in Monroe City for decades. Even though the home-grown company has changed hands several times since the Spaldings' deaths, their foundation funds many projects like the garden to give back to the community that meant so much to them.

Coming up in the next column: Anne Marie's Bees. We'll introduce you to a precocious 9-year-old whose bees are helping the Queen of the Prairie Community Garden grow.

Take care~Sarah D.