TWIN FALLS • The land was just sitting there, sprouting grass. Nothing special.
Parish members from the Episcopal Church of the Ascension knew it could do so much more.
So, they decided to transform the grassy lot into a place people can gather, grow produce and work the soil together.
For the first year, the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, at 371 Eastland Drive N., is lending its land to anyone who wants a little garden to call his or her own.
That might be particularly welcome news in Twin Falls, where the College of Southern Idaho’s community garden has a waiting list for its plots and a city committee hasn’t yet announced a location for its planned garden. City Councilwoman and committee liaison Rebecca Mills-Sojka hopes to get City Council approval on a location this month.
But if you’re interested in the Episcopal garden, there’s no need to wait and wonder.
Twelve 10-by-15-foot free lots on the church’s property are up for grabs. Gardening rookies and green thumbs alike — particularly those without yards of their own — are invited to apply by April 15. For details, call Betsy Wiesmore at 735-1151 or Susan Kelley-Harbke at 734-8969.
The church had already transformed some of its land into soccer fields.
“There’s still a lot of grass areas left over,” said parish member Don Acheson. “We thought, jeez, can’t we do something edible with this?”
Acheson is expecting neighbors, parishioners and refugees to apply.
Speaking of refugees, Acheson hopes the little plots will help them adjust to American life as they try to find their place here.
“They come here with green thumbs, and they might find it frustrating to find a garden to grow the kind of produce they like to eat,” Acheson said. “We’re real selfish: We’re hoping we can learn a lot from them.”
The church will use a 13th plot to grow food for the needy.
“We’re going to toil and sweat and raise a whole bunch of cabbage,” Acheson said. “And then we’re going to find out who needs cabbage and give it to them.”
The church has two requirements: Submit both an application and “an agreement to enter into the spirit of the community garden and maintain the individual space,” Acheson said.
The spirit Acheson is referring to is basically good citizenship.
“We’re all there playing in the dirt together, so we need to get along,” Acheson said.
Water is provided by the city’s pressurized irrigation system, he said. The garden will be blessed on Rogation Sunday, May 13. Planting should begin shortly thereafter. An orientation will be held for gardeners.
Church members who planned the garden see this year’s effort as a baby step. After gaining some experience, they hope to expand. Next year, the community garden could double or triple in size.
As for Acheson, he can’t wait to get his hands dirty even if his own gardening skills are lacking.
“How would you describe someone who plants 10 hills of zucchini and doesn’t get any?” Acheson asked.
Better luck this year, Don.