There's lots of interest in the 40 plots, which are awarded on a priority basis.
Gardeners will have a chance to stake a claim in Blaine's 2013 community garden before the snow melts. Sign-up for returning participants starts Monday.
City organizers anticipate high demand for the 40 available plots. In previous years, there have been more applicants than space.
This is the fifth year the city has hosted a community vegetable and flower garden. It's located next to City Hall's south parking lot on Town Square Drive NE. The city will prepare the soil for planting, stake each 15-by-20 foot plot and make water accessible. Gardeners can start working their plots on May 11.
Program supervisor Tom Godfrey estimates gardeners harvest thousands of pounds of produce each year, but he said friendships also blossom.
"People really have fun with it. People socialize and talk about growing strategies and tips," Godfrey said. "It turns into a fun social-type thing."
Returning gardeners and Blaine residents are given the first opportunities to claim plots. The city uses a five-tier sign-up system:
•Returning gardeners who are city residents can reclaim their same 2012 plot from Feb. 25 to March 15.
•Returning Blaine gardeners seeking to switch plots can sign up from March 18-20.
•Blaine residents new to the community garden can sign up from March 21-22.
•Returning nonresident gardeners can sign up from March 25-29.
•Nonresidents new to the community garden can claim any remaining plots starting April 1.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department office opens at 8 a.m., and there's usually a line of new gardeners waiting at the door on sign-up days, Godfrey said.
Rental fees are $53.57 per plot for Blaine residents, $42.85 for Blaine residents ages 55 and older, and $74.99 for nonresidents. Only one plot will be assigned per household; fencing is not allowed.
For more information, contact Tom Godfrey, program supervisor in the parks department, at 763-717-2723, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .us.
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804